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Re: Re[2]: Include default text?


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Oct 23, 2004 1:44AM

On Thu, 21 Oct 2004, glenda wrote:

> I can see your point about the accessibility icons. But isn't it somewhat
> similar to establishments putting the wheelchair sticker on the front door?

No. If you put a wheelchair sticker on the front door without being
wheelchair-accessible, you get sued. And the stickers have actual
information value to users.

Moreover, a wheelchair symbol is simple and widely understood.
If people wanted to say something similar, they would use statements
like "This is an accessible site", not cryptic icons. But such a statement
would say very little,

> As a wheelchair user, it indicates to me that place MAY be more
> wheelchair-friendly than the place next door.

Wheelchair-accessibility is a relatively simple concept. Web accessibility
is a collection of dozens of issues, some of which are covered, in some
way, in the WAI guidelines document. It would be of little practical value
to claim accessibility, since it is impossible to be accessible in all
ways (and the goals are partly contradictory, though we have usually
refrained from saying this).

What _might_ be useful is some kind of metainformation that claims some
specific kind(s) of accessibility. Such as accessibility to the blind,
verified by some objective criteria _and_ testing in real life by e.g.
organizations for the blind (since objective criteria cannot ever capture
all aspects that matter). Or accessibility that results from using
simplified language, as verified by experts in the field and preferably
by actual tests by people who need such language.

But that would best be achieved via meta data in tags or HTTP
headers, so that it gets presented to the user only if the user has
specifically asked for it (e.g. by using a browser that does so by
default), since for most users, such claims are irrelevant. But I don't
think that even this idea is practically feasible. There would be far too
few sites to surf if you restricted your surfing to sites that can
_honestly_ claim specific kinds of accessibility.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/