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RE: Coding for Standards--comments please


From: julian.rickards@ndm.gov.on.ca
Date: Mar 17, 2004 9:23AM

Bryce wrote:

> It just seems to me that the focus in the battle to build
> accessible sites
> is on the wrong group. We have the tools at our disposal to
> build it right.
> I'm really curious as to legally and morally, shouldn't that
> be enough to
> absolve me of burden? Why doesn't the LEGAL and moral burden
> then fall on
> the assistive technology manufacturers if their product fails
> to produce the
> results specified by the standards?

While I agree with your frustrations, I don't entirely agree with your above
statement. The tools (ie code) to build accessible web sites have been with
us for a while (HTML4 or even earlier) and many of us (and those who are not
part of this group) have not always used all of the techniques and code
properly - but now we are. Yes, there is a focus at the W3C.org site
regarding coding techniques but I don't think any of us belong to a company
that manufactures accessibility user-agents and I know that I haven't looked
at the WAI pages that deal with the development of user agents. Yes, there
should be (and maybe there are) standards for screen-readers and
screen-readers should be asked to follow them.

However, some of the problems we deal with may in fact be version-related:
in a few years JAWS 12.2 may be fully compliant but JAWS 4 isn't. I think
that if WebStandards.org was at least partially responsible for bringing
standards more to the forefront, perhaps ScreenReaderStandards.org should be
created to do the same sort of thing.

Julian Rickards
Digital Publications Distribution Coordinator
Publications Services Section
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Phone: (705) 670-5608
Fax: (705) 670-5690

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