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accessibility and usability

 
 
Neal
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      11-30-2004
On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 22:39:40 GMT, Liz <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> In message <(E-Mail Removed)>
> "nice.guy.nige" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> From section 2.2 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidlines (1.0);
>>
>> "Content developers should make content understandable and navigable.
>> This
>> includes not only making the language clear and simple."

>
> High aims indeed.
> But 'making content understandable' is irrelevant to many sites, and
> impossible for most.
> If someone has a site about nuclear physics or quantum mechanics or
> loads of
> other topics, do I get hot under the collar if I can't understand it? Is
> it
> reasonable to expect that I should be able to understand it?


To take this a few steps further, for an illiterate and deaf person, all
sites with text are inaccessible and cannot be repaired.

To understand any site requires a prerequisite of education. What makes a
site inacessible in this area is poor grammar, unnecessarily dense
language, or other matters which can be reasonably corrected. This does
not mean we must never have sites on technical matters, or on a finer
point of history or sociology which requires a background of knowledge to
understand.

Just because you, with your scientific background, cannot understand a
page does not in itself make the page not "understandable".

> Answers on a
> pixel, please.


It's a big pixel. Sorry.

> It's clear and simple that the person who thought up that one hadn't
> done much work with people with even moderate learning difficulties: any
> content suitable for that audience would be tedious in the extreme for
> everyone else. Teachers don't write the same materials to suit the whole
> ability range, so why would web designers?


This is an important point. One page on Abraham Lincoln cannot satisfy
both the 10-year-old looking for information for his first research
project and the grad student seeking specifics for a thesis. Clearly one
or the other, or yet another, target must be decided. However, the
language should be clear and understandable for that target.

I'm not sure the intent here is to make one content which is useful to
everyone - in fact it's extremely likely your page will face a healthy
percentage of internet users who will never have use for your site.

> I think I was teaching for about five years before I realised that
> plenty of
> children who seem to be able to read are only reading 'mechanically' -
> they
> haven't a clue what the words or phrases actually mean. When watching
> 'mainline' films (="movies") many absolutely haven't a clue what it's all
> about. In fact, my school had a couple of actors following the 'bottom
> first
> years' (age c12) round for a day: it was certainly an eye opener for
> them!


As a teacher as well, comprehension must be a major component of any
literacy education, of course. We live in a time where people don't have
the time to read to their children, where everything goes so fast we
cannot hope to keep up. This is not the place, however, to go into how we
should teach literacy, except to say that the strategies have been
improving and need to continue to improve.

> It may be theoretically possible to accommodate most (all?) sorts of
> physical differences in one site, but extremely unlikely to accommodate a
> wide range of learning differences and retain interest and stickability
> for
> both extremes.


Agreed - so the correct strategy must be to decide on a target and write
for it. A site selling Hello Kitty stuff and an in-depth discussion of the
character analysis of a Shakespeare play will certainly have little
overlap in their target audience. (And I don't think either target would
expect the other site to be a "comfortable" read.) A page comparing the
concepts of Machiavelli to modern-day governments might be written to
either target, depending on the intent of the authors.

Essentially, what the above accessibility guideline expresses is a
sensitivity to the readability issue, and a directive to do whatever is
practical to make the copy understandable to as wide a target audience as
is possible, while still not compromising the purpose of the page.
 
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Sander Tekelenburg
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-01-2004
In article <cohduf$r90$(E-Mail Removed)>,
Roy Schestowitz <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Barbara de Zoete wrote:
>
> > [F'up set to ciwas-d]
> >
> > I am getting more and more confused as to the meaning of the words
> > 'accessibility' and 'usability' *in the context of the world wide web*.
> > What do these two words mean? How do they differ from one another? Where
> > does the meaning overlap, if it does? Where do they perhaps conflict with
> > one another, if they do?
> >
> > Can anyone please explain to someone who is not native speaking, nor
> > fluent in English?

>
> Accessibility is concerned with design that accommodates the need of
> disabled people (usually). For example, if you are near-sighted or blind
> (and hence _listen_ to Web pages), you want the page to have properties
> that make it friendly to you.


To me that's just a subset of 'accessibility". When content is Flash- or
javascript- or CSS-dependant, it is inaccessible to browsing
environments that don't handle Flash or javascript or CSS. Equally, when
content is sight-dependant (like an image without a useful ALT
attribute), it is not accessible to people who can't see (and to
spiders).

W3C's WAI seems to have decided to use "accessibility" to only concern
"people with disabilities" See <http://w3.org/WAI/>. While accessibility
issues to such groups are certainly worth considering when designing for
the Web, to me this is a too narrow view. It seems to me that very
narrowness even leads to design mistakes, like offering 'text-only'
versions of Web sites, instead of making 1 single Website that is
accessible to all.

> Accessibility is a subset of usability, I suppose. It is one aspect that
> makes a page easier to _use_, by all audiences.


I consider usability to come after accessibility. Something that is not
accessible is not useable, but something that is accessible can be
unuseable still.

> This leads to the
> definition of 'usability'. Usability can be explained in terms of ease of
> navigation (How do I get to...), good context (where am I inside the Web
> site?), etc.


Agreed.

--
Sander Tekelenburg, <http://www.euronet.nl/%7Etekelenb/>
 
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Leonard Blaisdell
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      12-01-2004
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Sander Tekelenburg
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> To me that's just a subset of 'accessibility". When content is Flash- or
> javascript- or CSS-dependant, it is inaccessible to browsing
> environments that don't handle Flash or javascript or CSS. Equally, when
> content is sight-dependant (like an image without a useful ALT
> attribute), it is not accessible to people who can't see (and to
> spiders).


Forgive me, but I have no idea how a site can be CSS dependant. I'm sure
I'm out of my league here. I'm missing something as usual.

leo

--
<http://web0.greatbasin.net/~leo/>
 
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Neal
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      12-01-2004
On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 22:30:54 -0800, Leonard Blaisdell <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Sander Tekelenburg
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> To me that's just a subset of 'accessibility". When content is Flash- or
>> javascript- or CSS-dependant, it is inaccessible to browsing
>> environments that don't handle Flash or javascript or CSS. Equally, when
>> content is sight-dependant (like an image without a useful ALT
>> attribute), it is not accessible to people who can't see (and to
>> spiders).

>
> Forgive me, but I have no idea how a site can be CSS dependant. I'm sure
> I'm out of my league here. I'm missing something as usual.


Just one example:

<div>
<h1>Shadows</h1>
<h1 class="shadow">Shadows</h1>
</div>

with CSS

div {position: relative;}
..shadow {position: absolute; top: 2px; left: -2px; color: #ccc;}

 
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Daniel R. Tobias
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      12-01-2004
Neal <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<(E-Mail Removed)>...
> A site selling Hello Kitty stuff and an in-depth discussion of the
> character analysis of a Shakespeare play will certainly have little
> overlap in their target audience. (And I don't think either target would
> expect the other site to be a "comfortable" read.)


On the other hand, some of the fan sites about TV shows (including
kids' shows), created by and for the more obsessive fans, *do* get
very in-depth in their character analyses, to an extent resembling
that of Shakespearean critics. I'm not sure if Hello Kitty has ever
gotten that treatment; the TV Tome section on it is relatively sparse:
http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet...t/showid-7999/

Some other kid and teen shows have much more detailed sections,
especially when you dig down into the episode reviews:
http://www.tvtome.com/LizzieMcGuire/

--
Dan
 
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kchayka
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      12-03-2004
on 2004-12-01, Leonard Blaisdell wrote:
>
> Forgive me, but I have no idea how a site can be CSS dependant.


Use Opera, or a mozilla browser with the Web Developer toolbar installed.
With stylesheets (and images enabled), go to

<URL:http://www.arngren.net/>

Then disable CSS and reload.

wow

 
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