Target.com Loses Accessibility Law Suit

4 Oct 2007 - 2:07pm
6 years ago
53 replies
1435 reads
Daniel Yang
2007

Since today seems to be an introductory day, I'm relatively new to
the list as well.

I noticed there was finally a ruling on this case. Not sure of the
ramifications yet though, but this may be a major shift for any web
business, at least in California. Instead of accessibility being a
best practice issue it may become a legal one even outside of
government work.

http://www.901am.com/2007/court-rules-against-target-on-website-
accessibility-lawsuit.html

-Dan

Comments

4 Oct 2007 - 2:58pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

Dan,

Thank you for posting this. It could have a big impact on all of our work
going forward. We've been involved with making sites 508 compliant and it
makes the project much more challenging.

What would be helpful is if there were fixed guidelines as to where the line
is. Right now the line is rather blurry.

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Daniel
Yang
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2007 12:08 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Target.com Loses Accessibility Law Suit

Since today seems to be an introductory day, I'm relatively new to
the list as well.

I noticed there was finally a ruling on this case. Not sure of the
ramifications yet though, but this may be a major shift for any web
business, at least in California. Instead of accessibility being a
best practice issue it may become a legal one even outside of
government work.

http://www.901am.com/2007/court-rules-against-target-on-website-
accessibility-lawsuit.html

-Dan
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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5 Oct 2007 - 9:13am
AlokJain
2006

ya, the line is fairly blurry specially as this is considered under
ADA as opposed to just Section 508. This also makes AJAXy stuff more
challenging to do an in some respects can potentially slow down
growth of such technology in this industry.

Nevertheless a great step forward.

Cheers
AJ

On Oct 4, 2007, at 3:58 PM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> What would be helpful is if there were fixed guidelines as to where
> the line
> is. Right now the line is rather blurry.

5 Oct 2007 - 11:59am
Dave Malouf
2005

My question is?
Where is the responsibility of the Screen Readers vs. the
responsibility of the code creator/content creators?

Who do you sue? The ramp builder or the wheelchair builder? I think
we have a problem that the ramp technology is not keeping up with the
wheelchairs.

Of course what Kamen did was to disregard the ramps completely and
just build a wheelchair that never needed a ramp. hmmm?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the improved ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=21080

5 Oct 2007 - 12:40pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

I'll make it even more complicated: it isn't just a matter of whether the
screen reader (say Jaws) can read your code. The question will become can
the reader effectively make every feature and function usable by the user.
And what will be the technical definition of usable by the user -- will it
be considered usable even if it takes a half an hour and seven tries? -- or
does it have to be *as* usable as the sighted experience? -- and I don't
even want to go there :).

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David
Malouf
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 10:00 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Target.com Loses Accessibility Law Suit

My question is?
Where is the responsibility of the Screen Readers vs. the
responsibility of the code creator/content creators?

Who do you sue? The ramp builder or the wheelchair builder? I think
we have a problem that the ramp technology is not keeping up with the
wheelchairs.

Of course what Kamen did was to disregard the ramps completely and
just build a wheelchair that never needed a ramp. hmmm?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the improved ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=21080

________________________________________________________________
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To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
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5 Oct 2007 - 1:14pm
AlokJain
2006

I had a talk abotu sam thing a few years back with the director of
W3C WAI initiative, and the approach we talked about was really being
standards driven. There need to be one set of standards that both
content providers and technology creators follow (Browers, assistive
technologies etc..)

Part of the problem is that everyone wants to have their own set of
mini standards , so each browser behaves differently, each government
wants to define it's own version of accessibility laws. W3C has been
making effort to talk to technology companies as well governments to
adopt one set of standards.

If this is done, then content provider's responsibility would
typically stop at complying with standards and the rest would be
technology responsibility.

AJ

On Oct 5, 2007, at 9:59 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> Where is the responsibility of the Screen Readers vs. the
> responsibility of the code creator/content creators?

5 Oct 2007 - 1:54pm
bminihan
2007

Hear hear on the need for content as well as developer standards for accessibility. A few years back I wrote the web development standards for my company, and tried to encapsulate the WAI checklist into a set of objective, measurable, testable standards that anyone could measure without needing to understand the complexities of HTML and accessibility compliance. We could only write about 9 standards out of the 30 or so checklist items. We made the others best practices because we couldn't figure out a way to *objectively* measure (with the naked eye) such things as text contrast and using semantic markup rather than text treatments (<h1></h1> rather than <p><b><font size=20></font></b></p>).

Even still, we have the devil of a time achieving compliance to these, as many folks feel they are still "design constraints" and not necessary for most sites. Our federally regulated sites DO have strict accessibility reviews, but compliance is still not 100%, even for these. Sites like Bobby were great for measuring accessibility, but Watchfire bought them and forces you to buy a much bigger bundle of stuff you don't need just to use them on internal apps.

A little frustrating that global "standards" for accessibility are not yet that accessible to your typical web developer.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- Alok Jain <alok.ajain1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I had a talk abotu sam thing a few years back with the director of
> W3C WAI initiative, and the approach we talked about was really being
> standards driven. There need to be one set of standards that both
> content providers and technology creators follow (Browers, assistive
> technologies etc..)
>
> Part of the problem is that everyone wants to have their own set of
> mini standards , so each browser behaves differently, each government
> wants to define it's own version of accessibility laws. W3C has been
> making effort to talk to technology companies as well governments to
> adopt one set of standards.
>
> If this is done, then content provider's responsibility would
> typically stop at complying with standards and the rest would be
> technology responsibility.
>
>
> AJ
>
> On Oct 5, 2007, at 9:59 AM, David Malouf wrote:
>
> > Where is the responsibility of the Screen Readers vs. the
> > responsibility of the code creator/content creators?
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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--

5 Oct 2007 - 2:19pm
Petteri Hiisilä
2004

Joseph Selbie kirjoitti 5.10.2007 kello 20:40:

> I'll make it even more complicated: it isn't just a matter of
> whether the
> screen reader (say Jaws) can read your code. The question will
> become can
> the reader effectively make every feature and function usable by
> the user.

And even more complicated: let's assume that the code works perfectly
and you have perfect understanding between the screen reader and
yourself. Effectively: you'd have someone who you know and someone
who knows you handling the mouse and the keyboard. You know, like a
considerate human. Now, how would you navigate the site and how
effective would that be? I guess that would set the bar for screen
reader usability.

But that wouldn't be the high mark. The mind's eye can see with
touch. It would be faster to "see" the pixels if there was a perfect
touchscreen that can display edges, maybe even grades of gray as
little bumps - and such screen would respond to taps and gestures.
Blindsight!

Downgrading those to something that can actually be implemented is
hard if not impossible during our careers. I'm all in with making
technology accessible, and I like standards, but suing companies for
not reaching such an arbitrary bar is questionable.

Best,
Petteri

--
Petteri Hiisilä
Senior Interaction Designer
iXDesign / +358505050123 /
petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi

"Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated."
- Tim Peters

5 Oct 2007 - 10:30am
David Mulder
2007

As I understand it, the ruling only granted class-action status.

Regardless, this will certainly become a larger issue.

Here at Michigan State University, we have been promoting Web accessibility
for several years. I think it's great that basic requirements could finally
be shoved down everyone's throats. It will make many of my standards-related
discussions much more brief :-)

On 10/4/07, Daniel Yang <dan at danielyang.com> wrote:
>
> Since today seems to be an introductory day, I'm relatively new to
> the list as well.
>
> I noticed there was finally a ruling on this case. Not sure of the
> ramifications yet though, but this may be a major shift for any web
> business, at least in California. Instead of accessibility being a
> best practice issue it may become a legal one even outside of
> government work.
>
> http://www.901am.com/2007/court-rules-against-target-on-website-
> accessibility-lawsuit.html
>
> -Dan
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

5 Oct 2007 - 1:25pm
David Mulder
2007

If this case is ruled against Target, it is likely to set precedent near the
existing Web accessibility guidelines in Section 508. With that you would
have a clearly defined standard that businesses must reach. Currently
Section 508 applies only to federal government Web sites or
institutions/groups receiving federal funding.

Content providers will only have to meet standards defined by the
government/courts. Assistive technology (like screen readers) has no
apparent liability at the moment.

Also, do not fall into the trap of assuming that accessibility is only for
blind people. There are many other disabilities that affect Web users.
Section 508 does a fair job addressing disability variations in its
guidelines.

5 Oct 2007 - 8:39pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

"Content providers will only have to meet standards defined by the
government/courts. Assistive technology (like screen readers) has no
apparent liability at the moment."

The difficulty we have run into is not about standards, but about
duplicating the user features (such as expanding a table row, and then
expanding again within the expanded information -- done in I-frames) that
are made possible through javascript. The sighted can do this easily by
clicking on the expand icon (usually a triangle). This is a really great
user feature. It allows a user to get to information fast.

Try making that accessible using Jaws.

And that is just one example. Web 2.0 (as I hate to call it) has layer upon
layer of cool user features made possible through Javascript or other
similar coding solutions. Imagine a reader trying to make sense of a site
built in flex! Or one heavily dependent on widgets!

Here is the core of the challenge: The way the ADA guidelines state it, if
you are compliant, that means any user, even if using assisted technology,
should be able to "accomplish" the same tasks as the non-disabled.

In practical terms, this means building a separate, simpler website, if you
are trying to do complex transactions. Or else the person would have an
experience with Jaws (or any other reader) that would be so frustrating that
it might as well be inaccessible.

I will be very interested to see how the issue plays out in the courts.

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

6 Oct 2007 - 3:52pm
Alex Robinson
2004

>expanding again within the expanded information -- done in I-frames) that
>are made possible through javascript. The sighted can do this easily by
>clicking on the expand icon (usually a triangle). This is a really great
>user feature. It allows a user to get to information fast.
>
>Try making that accessible using Jaws.

Recent version of JAWS do allow for AJAX stylee interaction - so long
as you're careful and know what you're doing - ie. make sure that the
screen reader's buffer gets updated if the page content is changes
(and no be changing so many different elements that the result is
just confusing - but that speaks to more general issues of usability)

http://juicystudio.com/article/making-ajax-work-with-screen-readers.php
http://juicystudio.com/article/improving-ajax-applications-for-jaws-users.php

Also, there's no reason you couldn't offer the user the option of
interacting without AJAX-style interactions. Unless of course what
you've built only works if you've got javascript turned on...

The accessibility issues you actually have (in what you've described)

a) making the reader click on the disclosure triangle - this doesn't
just make it inaccessible for screen readers but also, if not
inaccessible, harder to use for people who use their keyboard for
in-page navigation. If you set the disclosure triangle to do its
business when it receives focus then both sets of people would be
accommodated.

b) using iframes as your method to load external content rather than
a scrollable element within the original page. (Of course, you may be
doing something cross-domainy that requires such a sleight of hand)
Even so, it should still be possible to inform the user that the
page's content has been updated.

At 18:39 -0700 5/10/07, Joseph Selbie wrote:
>Imagine a reader trying to make sense of a site
>built in flex! Or one heavily dependent on widgets!

Yes, imagine that!

http://www.adobe.com/macromedia/accessibility/features/flex/jaws.html

Not ideal (accessibility off by default!), but Macromedia didn't
rebuild Flash with advice from Mad Monk Jakob Nielsen for nothing.

As for widgets, Dojo and other javascript libraries are taking great
care to ensure that they are as accessible as possible

eg.
http://dojotoolkit.org/book/dojo-book-0-9/part-2-dijit/a11y/dojo-accessibility-resources

>Here is the core of the challenge: The way the ADA guidelines state it, if
>you are compliant, that means any user, even if using assisted technology,
>should be able to "accomplish" the same tasks as the non-disabled.

Why the quotation marks? You would not be expected to simulate the
functionality of a photo-stitching app in a screen reader. But if
you're providing means of accessing and updating strings, numbers and
lists, why should assited technology users not be able to accomplish
the same tasks? Technically I mean.

>In practical terms, this means building a separate, simpler website, if you
>are trying to do complex transactions. Or else the person would have an
>experience with Jaws (or any other reader) that would be so frustrating that
>it might as well be inaccessible.

Once upon a time we spoke of graceful degradation. These days we talk
of progressive enhancement and unobtrusive scripting. Any backend
worth its salt should be able to deal with different styles of input
and output. You shouldn't need to recreate an entirely different
website - rather provide a different view.

If you build things in the modern standards-based idiom,
accessibility will be something baked into your product rather than
some half-arsed afterthought. Doesn't mean it won't require a lot of
hard work and testing, but isn't that what we get paid for?

6 Oct 2007 - 4:31pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

Alex,

I appreciate all your points -- you can "bake into" the code, as you put it,
everything a reader needs to navigate a page and accomplish tasks.

But that isn't my point. It can be done, is done and we've done it.

My point is that that means you code to the reader.

What if you want to do things for your users that the reader(s) is not
capable of doing? Currently, all the reader's capabilities lag behind the
leading edge. What if the reader defines the leading edge? There are a lot
of implication there.

If the courts decide in favor of mandatory compliance, the trade off
companies may have to make is that they design middle of the road sites to
cater to the needs of the disabled, rather than be able to really pay
attention to the needs and wants of the majority of their users. Or they
would be faced with building and maintaining two code bases -- a prospect
most companies do not want to face. I suspect most of them will develop one
code base that supports both groups. We just went through a project where
the company had decided to support ADA and 508 guidelines to a limited
extent. Even without them deciding on full compliance, we had to pull back
from many cool features that we would ordinarily have included.

There are a lot of clever people out there and I'm sure if this does become
mandatory for a broad number of companies, then very clever solutions will
be developed. And hey, we'll probably all get some work out of it :)

But I think this challenge isn't met just by establishing standards.

I think a better analogy for the impact of this, should the courts make it
mandatory, is that it would be similar to the courts saying, "OK, every
company's public websites have to be backwardly compatible to IE 4.0, and
the person using 4.0 has to be able to accomplish whatever everyone else is
able to accomplish using newer versions." I'm sure everyone will be able to
trash this analogy in specific ways -- but I think it is a better way of
describing the challenge than simply saying we need to come up with agreed
upon standards.

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Alex
Robinson
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2007 1:52 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Target.com Loses Accessibility Law Suit

>expanding again within the expanded information -- done in I-frames) that
>are made possible through javascript. The sighted can do this easily by
>clicking on the expand icon (usually a triangle). This is a really great
>user feature. It allows a user to get to information fast.
>
>Try making that accessible using Jaws.

Recent version of JAWS do allow for AJAX stylee interaction - so long
as you're careful and know what you're doing - ie. make sure that the
screen reader's buffer gets updated if the page content is changes
(and no be changing so many different elements that the result is
just confusing - but that speaks to more general issues of usability)

http://juicystudio.com/article/making-ajax-work-with-screen-readers.php
http://juicystudio.com/article/improving-ajax-applications-for-jaws-users.ph
p

Also, there's no reason you couldn't offer the user the option of
interacting without AJAX-style interactions. Unless of course what
you've built only works if you've got javascript turned on...

The accessibility issues you actually have (in what you've described)

a) making the reader click on the disclosure triangle - this doesn't
just make it inaccessible for screen readers but also, if not
inaccessible, harder to use for people who use their keyboard for
in-page navigation. If you set the disclosure triangle to do its
business when it receives focus then both sets of people would be
accommodated.

b) using iframes as your method to load external content rather than
a scrollable element within the original page. (Of course, you may be
doing something cross-domainy that requires such a sleight of hand)
Even so, it should still be possible to inform the user that the
page's content has been updated.

At 18:39 -0700 5/10/07, Joseph Selbie wrote:
>Imagine a reader trying to make sense of a site
>built in flex! Or one heavily dependent on widgets!

Yes, imagine that!

http://www.adobe.com/macromedia/accessibility/features/flex/jaws.html

Not ideal (accessibility off by default!), but Macromedia didn't
rebuild Flash with advice from Mad Monk Jakob Nielsen for nothing.

As for widgets, Dojo and other javascript libraries are taking great
care to ensure that they are as accessible as possible

eg.
http://dojotoolkit.org/book/dojo-book-0-9/part-2-dijit/a11y/dojo-accessibili
ty-resources

>Here is the core of the challenge: The way the ADA guidelines state it, if
>you are compliant, that means any user, even if using assisted technology,
>should be able to "accomplish" the same tasks as the non-disabled.

Why the quotation marks? You would not be expected to simulate the
functionality of a photo-stitching app in a screen reader. But if
you're providing means of accessing and updating strings, numbers and
lists, why should assited technology users not be able to accomplish
the same tasks? Technically I mean.

>In practical terms, this means building a separate, simpler website, if you
>are trying to do complex transactions. Or else the person would have an
>experience with Jaws (or any other reader) that would be so frustrating
that
>it might as well be inaccessible.

Once upon a time we spoke of graceful degradation. These days we talk
of progressive enhancement and unobtrusive scripting. Any backend
worth its salt should be able to deal with different styles of input
and output. You shouldn't need to recreate an entirely different
website - rather provide a different view.

If you build things in the modern standards-based idiom,
accessibility will be something baked into your product rather than
some half-arsed afterthought. Doesn't mean it won't require a lot of
hard work and testing, but isn't that what we get paid for?

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
Questions .................. list at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

6 Oct 2007 - 10:20pm
whitneyq
2010

In the interest of accuracy, I should point out that this is "a"
ruling - one of a series of procedural decisions that are clearing the
way for the actual case to be heard - not the final decision.

It's also interesting to note that some disability rights laws are
more wide-reaching than Section 508, applying for example, to all
public sector organisations in the UK. The EU is focusing on access to
the web for all as a right. It will be a great step forward, however,
if this suit establishes that the ADA applies to the Web. Many of the
earlier suits (like the ones in NYC) have been brought on grounds of
the web site being used as a place of public accommodation, or
situations such as the "best price" being offered only on the web.

Accessibility, of course, goes well beyond screen readers. But the
most important first step is to ensure that the product does not
contain absolute barriers to use.

One way to look at it is as an extension of the design, requirements
and usability to a broad range of human abilities, and designing to be
flexible enough to allow people to interact with technology in ways
that meet their needs.

On 10/4/07, Daniel Yang <dan at danielyang.com> wrote:
> I noticed there was finally a ruling on this case. <snip>
>
> http://www.901am.com/2007/court-rules-against-target-on-website-
> accessibility-lawsuit.html

> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

--
Whitney Quesenbery
www.wqusability.com

6 Oct 2007 - 10:24pm
Todd Warfel
2003

This is very disconcerting. If the goal is to enable disabled people
to access the content, then shouldn't they be making the screen
reader companies keep up with modern technology and the rest of the
world instead of making companies stay back behind at the lagging
capabilities of the screen readers?

On Oct 6, 2007, at 5:31 PM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> If the courts decide in favor of mandatory compliance, the trade
> off companies may have to make is that they design middle of the
> road sites to cater to the needs of the disabled, rather than be
> able to really pay
> attention to the needs and wants of the majority of their users.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

7 Oct 2007 - 12:13am
Joseph Selbie
2007

In a ideal world yes. But the screen readers are businesses just like any
other. They have limited resources, budgets and markets. Of course, if
mandatory compliance does happen, their position and importance will change
and, in fact, the most forward moving reader company will make the most
money, Supply, demand, competition - they may not be the ideal way to bring
about change - but they can be very effective.

Joseph Selbie

Founder, CEO Tristream

Web Application Design

http://www.tristream.com

7 Oct 2007 - 11:44am
Todd Warfel
2003

Yes, but that is no excuse. When MS releases a new version of
Windows, or Apple releases a new version of OS X (coming this month),
the software manufacturers allocate resources to update their
products to take advantage of the new operating system. That's part
of staying in business. Some are very good at keeping up. Some do a
very poor job and lag horribly behind (I'm looking at you Adobe
(Photoshop) and Quark).

It's not the job of MS and Apple to hold back in order to allow
companies like Adobe, Quark, and others to stay status quo. Instead,
the OS companies push forward and software companies have to follow
and keep up. This same principle applies to screen reader companies.
The web is the OS. The screen readers are just like Adobe, Quark, and
others. They need to pick up the pace and stay current.

On Oct 7, 2007, at 1:13 AM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> In a ideal world yes. But the screen readers are businesses just
> like any other. They have limited resources, budgets and markets.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

7 Oct 2007 - 12:06pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 9:44 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> It's not the job of MS and Apple to hold back in order to allow
> companies like Adobe, Quark, and others to stay status quo. Instead,
> the OS companies push forward and software companies have to follow
> and keep up. This same principle applies to screen reader companies.
> The web is the OS. The screen readers are just like Adobe, Quark, and
> others. They need to pick up the pace and stay current.

Who is "they?" The software makers? Are you kidding? Have you ever
developed a cross-platform product like Photoshop or XPress? Do you
know all the myriad of issues that go in making such a product?
Obviously I do, so I'm obviously going to have a lot of strong
opinions on the subject.

The part you seem to be leaving out is that the software vendors are
trying to create software for multiple platforms and multiple
languages while trying to add features their customers want which has
little to do with what MS and Apple care about. They also do so while
being given no input into the strategies and approaches of both Apple
and MS, having instead to basically figure out how they are going to
handle dealing with technology changes after the fact. Both MS and
Apple only care about themselves and seemingly do all they can to
make cross platform development about near impossible without extreme
amounts of compromise and effort as t is.

So, if you want to make the browser makers and operating system
makers *force* to comply to make cross-browser and cross-platform
application development more of a reality without that major
compromise, and in doing so *force* MS, Apple, Netscape and the
Firefox team to make accessibility an integral part of their
technology rather than a tacked on afterthought, then something might
actually get done with regard to all this kubuki as it pertains to
giving the disabled a real means to interact with technology.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

7 Oct 2007 - 1:04pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

Even if there were more cooperation among OS and browser developers (not
that I'm expecting any) there would probably still be a lag effect with the
reader developers for two reasons:

1.) The reader developers are in the position of having to catch up with new
OS and browser releases all the time. For example I recently started using
Vista. But still, 9 months since the OS was released, many of my favorite
utility programs have not made versions that will work on Vista.

2.) The reader developers are in the position of having to catch up with
innovative uses of the OS and browsers. New ways of exploiting the DOM are
being created all the time. Thousands of developers are expanding the number
of ways you can do things using the basic tools available -- and sometimes
those new ways blow right past what a reader is likely to be able to do.

I think readers will always lag, just as standards determinations always
lag. The reader developers are not in a position to anticipate what new
capabilities will be needed. They can only respond once new conventions
become established.

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

7 Oct 2007 - 12:06pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 9:44 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> It's not the job of MS and Apple to hold back in order to allow
> companies like Adobe, Quark, and others to stay status quo. Instead,
> the OS companies push forward and software companies have to follow
> and keep up. This same principle applies to screen reader companies.
> The web is the OS. The screen readers are just like Adobe, Quark, and
> others. They need to pick up the pace and stay current.

Who is "they?" The software makers? Are you kidding? Have you ever
developed a cross-platform product like Photoshop or XPress? Do you
know all the myriad of issues that go in making such a product?
Obviously I do, so I'm obviously going to have a lot of strong
opinions on the subject.

The part you seem to be leaving out is that the software vendors are
trying to create software for multiple platforms and multiple
languages while trying to add features their customers want which has
little to do with what MS and Apple care about. They also do so while
being given no input into the strategies and approaches of both Apple
and MS, having instead to basically figure out how they are going to
handle dealing with technology changes after the fact. Both MS and
Apple only care about themselves and seemingly do all they can to
make cross platform development about near impossible without extreme
amounts of compromise and effort as t is.

So, if you want to make the browser makers and operating system
makers *force* to comply to make cross-browser and cross-platform
application development more of a reality without that major
compromise, and in doing so *force* MS, Apple, Netscape and the
Firefox team to make accessibility an integral part of their
technology rather than a tacked on afterthought, then something might
actually get done with regard to all this kubuki as it pertains to
giving the disabled a real means to interact with technology.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

7 Oct 2007 - 1:50pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 11:04 AM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> 1.) The reader developers are in the position of having to catch up
> with new
> OS and browser releases all the time. For example I recently
> started using
> Vista. But still, 9 months since the OS was released, many of my
> favorite
> utility programs have not made versions that will work on Vista.

What the reader developers create does not rely on utilities. That's
an unrelated problem and has little to do with you larger point, I
think.

> 2.) The reader developers are in the position of having to catch up
> with
> innovative uses of the OS and browsers. New ways of exploiting the
> DOM are
> being created all the time. Thousands of developers are expanding
> the number
> of ways you can do things using the basic tools available -- and
> sometimes
> those new ways blow right past what a reader is likely to be able
> to do.

This is true. But the reader developers also don't implement
standards and rendering in the same way, which is a separate problem
but one that further exacerbates how accessibility is implemented
into web products and services.

So yes, the main issue is the OS itself and how accessible it is and
how technology is implemented. This is squarely on Apple and
Microsoft. After that however is the very legitimate issue of how
browser implement standards and their versions of web technologies to
make them accessible. And with this issue, one has to understand that
without 100% consistency and compliance on the part of the browser
makers, designers and developers of web based technologies have
little to no chance of ever really addressing the accessibility
properly.

So a business like Target.com is three levels deep and two level
removed from the technology itself needed to make compliance a true
reality, and has basically *no* control or input into the base
technologies themselves. Why again are they the target of this
lawsuit? (No pun intended.)

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

7 Oct 2007 - 2:24pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

"So yes, the main issue is the OS itself and how accessible it is and
how technology is implemented. This is squarely on Apple and
Microsoft. After that however is the very legitimate issue of how
browser implement standards and their versions of web technologies to
make them accessible. And with this issue, one has to understand that
without 100% consistency and compliance on the part of the browser
makers, designers and developers of web based technologies have
little to no chance of ever really addressing the accessibility
properly."

I have to disagree. Even if there had been complete and well implemented
standards for all the elements that go into AJAX (which their weren't)
reader developers would still not have been able to anticipate how
innovative developers put AJAX to use. And who knows what the next AJAX will
be...

(Andrei, I think you misunderstood my point #1 below. I was saying that
readers lag behind for the same *reasons* that utilities lag behind -- not
in any way *because* utilities lag behind.)

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Andrei
Herasimchuk
Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2007 11:51 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Target.com Loses Accessibility Law Suit

On Oct 7, 2007, at 11:04 AM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> 1.) The reader developers are in the position of having to catch up
> with new
> OS and browser releases all the time. For example I recently
> started using
> Vista. But still, 9 months since the OS was released, many of my
> favorite
> utility programs have not made versions that will work on Vista.

What the reader developers create does not rely on utilities. That's
an unrelated problem and has little to do with you larger point, I
think.

> 2.) The reader developers are in the position of having to catch up
> with
> innovative uses of the OS and browsers. New ways of exploiting the
> DOM are
> being created all the time. Thousands of developers are expanding
> the number
> of ways you can do things using the basic tools available -- and
> sometimes
> those new ways blow right past what a reader is likely to be able
> to do.

This is true. But the reader developers also don't implement
standards and rendering in the same way, which is a separate problem
but one that further exacerbates how accessibility is implemented
into web products and services.

So yes, the main issue is the OS itself and how accessible it is and
how technology is implemented. This is squarely on Apple and
Microsoft. After that however is the very legitimate issue of how
browser implement standards and their versions of web technologies to
make them accessible. And with this issue, one has to understand that
without 100% consistency and compliance on the part of the browser
makers, designers and developers of web based technologies have
little to no chance of ever really addressing the accessibility
properly.

So a business like Target.com is three levels deep and two level
removed from the technology itself needed to make compliance a true
reality, and has basically *no* control or input into the base
technologies themselves. Why again are they the target of this
lawsuit? (No pun intended.)

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

________________________________________________________________
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7 Oct 2007 - 3:52pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 12:24 PM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> I have to disagree. Even if there had been complete and well
> implemented
> standards for all the elements that go into AJAX (which their weren't)
> reader developers would still not have been able to anticipate how
> innovative developers put AJAX to use. And who knows what the next
> AJAX will
> be...

That's true enough. Which points to the larger problem: Real
accessibility will only come from Apple and Microsoft, as they have
to solve the interaction problem at the OS and hardware level. It's
not a problem either the browsers makers, third party software
deveopers nor people who make web based product will be able to solve
elegantly without base level OS and hardware support. Computers were
made and are entirely based on vision and the use of a keyboard
+mouse. While that condition stays true, all matters of accessibility
on the computer will be a kludge.

Once Apple and MS solve the problem for real, everything that is
created on top of it becomes accessible from this.

> (Andrei, I think you misunderstood my point #1 below. I was saying
> that
> readers lag behind for the same *reasons* that utilities lag behind
> -- not
> in any way *because* utilities lag behind.)

Got it. That makes sense. I did misunderstand your point

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

7 Oct 2007 - 4:40pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

> I have to disagree. Even if there had been complete and well
> implemented standards for all the elements that go into AJAX (which
> their weren't) reader developers would still not have been able to
> anticipate how innovative developers put AJAX to use. And who knows
> what the next AJAX will be...

"That's true enough. Which points to the larger problem: Real accessibility
will only come from Apple and Microsoft... "

Why? Why does it point to OS?

Let me give you an example that may make my case that the challenge of
accessibility on the web has very little to do with standards, or lack
thereof, or the OS. It is almost entirely a matter of the standards of the
reader.

The Jaws reader, currently the most popular, "reads" the web page's code
starting at the top and works its way down the code stack. One of the most
annoying results of this (for the user) is that once a user (using the
reader) has made their way through the navigation choices (assuming for a
moment that navigation is near the top of the stack), and then made a
selection, the new web page is opened -- and once again the reader starts
its slow and laborious way through the entire navigation again starting from
the top before the user can get to the content on the page they just chose.

Because this was such a recurring complaint, Jaws (and other readers)
configured the reader so that if the comment "skip navigation" (unseen to
the sighted user on the rendered screen) is inserted in the code, then the
reader user can opt to skip the navigation and proceed to the content.

"Skip navigation" is not an html standard, nor a standard browser control,
nor anything to do with the underlining OS. It is a reader control.

The readers capabilities are really in control of the experience.

I am admittedly focused on how readers are used on web pages. You probably
have other experience of assistive technologies for desk top software which
I don't have -- and which may well rest on OS issues. But since this thread
started with the Target suit, I have been staying with that kind of problem
of accessibility, and from my experience the reader is the key.

One way to look at a reader is that it is a very specialized browser. If you
want a user to have a good experience using any particular browser you have
to code to the browser. There are many standards that work across the usual
mix of browsers, but all of them have "pull your hair out" differences. The
Jaws reader and its ilk have even greater differences. They are all over the
map right now as to how or whether they respond to javascript.

You have to learn them and live with them. They keep improving and going
through version upgrades just like the rest of the browsers, but they never
quite do what you want them to, and so far at least, they lag well behind
the rest of the regular browsers as far as what level of complexity of user
experience is possible.

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

7 Oct 2007 - 6:52pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 2:40 PM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> "That's true enough. Which points to the larger problem: Real
> accessibility
> will only come from Apple and Microsoft... "
>
> Why? Why does it point to OS?

Because if you want true accessibility, you don't slap software
readers on what is basically a core hardware and operating system
problem. You can, but you'll get what you have today, which is
basically a kludge.

And I said it points to the hardware and operating system. They go
hand in hand. It's not one or the other, but both.

> I am admittedly focused on how readers are used on web pages. You
> probably
> have other experience of assistive technologies for desk top
> software which
> I don't have -- and which may well rest on OS issues. But since
> this thread
> started with the Target suit, I have been staying with that kind of
> problem
> of accessibility, and from my experience the reader is the key.

Reader's are not the key. They are just a kludge to solve a larger
problem, and one that won't go away and will get more and more
complicated.

Why? Because web browsers and the whole internet experience was
*always* going to cycle back to the kind of richer interaction that
existed long before the web browser existed. (Basically the entire
80s and early 90s of the software world.) The whole "web" thing was
nothing but a pit stop on the evolution of the computer and digital
technology. Things are going back to drag and drop, multi-windowing
systems, etc. Given this, the problem is not a reader problem of
reading "web" pages. It's a computer problem and how its core
interactions pertain to people who are disabled.

It's basically hardware and operating system, where the core
technologies must find a way to give disabled people a means to
reproduce what it is that people who are not disabled can do with a
mouse+keyboard, plus the ability to see the screen. Asking software
developers that have no control over the core technology to be forced
to solve the problem, or worse, getting sued if they don't, is about
as bass ackwards as it gets.

> You have to learn them and live with them. They keep improving and
> going
> through version upgrades just like the rest of the browsers, but
> they never
> quite do what you want them to, and so far at least, they lag well
> behind
> the rest of the regular browsers as far as what level of complexity
> of user
> experience is possible.

And they will lag even further as long as people keep treating this
as a software problem that sits over the OS instead of as a core
computer hardware and operating system problem.

Fix the computer. Make the people who make the computer itself be
forced to solve the problem. The folks behind this lawsuit are
attacking the wrong people. Further, if they happen to win, all that
will happen is that everyone will lose.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

7 Oct 2007 - 7:37pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Oct 7, 2007, at 1:06 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> Who is "they?" The software makers? Are you kidding? Have you ever
> developed a cross-platform product like Photoshop or XPress? Do you
> know all the myriad of issues that go in making such a product?
> Obviously I do, so I'm obviously going to have a lot of strong
> opinions on the subject.

Those specifically, no, but I have been involved in developing office
software products that are cross platform, as well as other image
editing products and HTML editors that are cross platform (very well
known ones). So, I am familiar with the level of effort it takes.

When Adobe took a year after the most recent release of OS X to ship
a native version of Photoshop, that was an indicator that they
weren't doing as well as they could have, or should have. Other more
complex video editing products were ready, but not Photoshop. The
story from Adobe was that there was so much code in the code base to
PS that it couldn't be done in XCode. That should indicate an issue
with the development model - too many features!

> So, if you want to make the browser makers and operating system
> makers *force* to comply to make cross-browser and cross-platform
> application development more of a reality without that major
> compromise, and in doing so *force* MS, Apple, Netscape and the
> Firefox team to make accessibility an integral part of their
> technology rather than a tacked on afterthought, then something
> might actually get done with regard to all this kubuki as it
> pertains to giving the disabled a real means to interact with
> technology.

Apple has built accessibility into their OS. While it might not be
Jaws, OS X has native accessibility features built into the OS and
has for years. Just look under the system preferences panel.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

7 Oct 2007 - 7:49pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

"Reader's are not the key. They are just a kludge to solve a larger
problem, and one that won't go away and will get more and more
complicated.

Why? Because web browsers and the whole internet experience was
*always* going to cycle back to the kind of richer interaction that
existed long before the web browser existed. (Basically the entire
80s and early 90s of the software world.) The whole "web" thing was
nothing but a pit stop on the evolution of the computer and digital
technology. Things are going back to drag and drop, multi-windowing
systems, etc. Given this, the problem is not a reader problem of
reading "web" pages. It's a computer problem and how its core
interactions pertain to people who are disabled."

OK. I'll bite :). How was the evolution of computer software going to have
served the disabled if it hadn't been distracted by this "whole "web"
thing"?

Sophisticated or simple, web or desk top, the challenge remains the same.
How do you take a primarily visual experience and provide it verbally, or
sonically, or otherwise?

In the simplest sense the reader is an interpreter. It translates visual
into audio.

I haven't heard of any core, structural, intrinsic way in which any software
or hardware system can be designed that allows for visual complexity to be
more easily translated into audio or other input using an assistive
technology.

If you are talking about direct implants or something of that nature, where
you enable a person to see who can't ordinarily see, then I think you are
going beyond the issue of software and hardware design and into the realm of
abling the disabled. I'm all for it and I hope that it can happen.

Meanwhile you need a translator from visual to audio.

Perhaps all you are really advocating is that MS and Apple should take the
responsibility to provide good translators with their OS's. Or put another
way, they should be in the reader business whether they like it or not. I
doubt they would agree. But even if they did, and they develop built in
software support for the disabled, the people designing and coding the
software will still have to understand how that built in capacity works and
make sure that they have coded to its standards.

I don't see any way you don't loop back to the same challenge. And I circle
back to my original issue. Even if good readers evolve, or OS's incorporate
the task of providing assistance, it will do so by evolving standard user
conventions.

What happens when the next wave of new capabilities hits? The assistive
technology will lag behind...

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

7 Oct 2007 - 8:35pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 5:37 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> When Adobe took a year after the most recent release of OS X to
> ship a native version of Photoshop, that was an indicator that they
> weren't doing as well as they could have, or should have. Other
> more complex video editing products were ready, but not Photoshop.
> The story from Adobe was that there was so much code in the code
> base to PS that it couldn't be done in XCode. That should indicate
> an issue with the development model - too many features!

Doing as well by whose standards? Yours? Are you over there managing
and building the product that earns as much money as Photoshop does
and is used by tens of millions of people across the globe, many as
the basis of their entire livelihood? And the measure of success here
is a year? A whole year to wait for a native build! Heaven forbid
that Adobe have a lot of other things all happening at the same time
than to drop everything already into the pipeline to make sure that a
native OS X version of Photoshop could ship immediately after OS X
ships.

> Apple has built accessibility into their OS. While it might not be
> Jaws, OS X has native accessibility features built into the OS and
> has for years. Just look under the system preferences panel.

If you are implying that OS X has adequate accessibility
functionality, then I presume you also believe the lawsuit on
Target.com is baseless since OS X obviously does what's needed to
help anyone using the Mac deal with the web on the computer itself.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

7 Oct 2007 - 8:42pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 5:49 PM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> Sophisticated or simple, web or desk top, the challenge remains the
> same.
> How do you take a primarily visual experience and provide it
> verbally, or
> sonically, or otherwise?

Exactly.

And if Apple or Microsoft can't solve it at the hardware and OS
level, how on earth do you expect readers and those who develop
software for the computer to be able to solve the problem on their
own? Maybe someone can, but I don't see how without intimate access
to the guts of the system.

> Meanwhile you need a translator from visual to audio.

Agreed. But why should that be a software overlay on the system
instead of built into the system itself? That's my point.

> Perhaps all you are really advocating is that MS and Apple should
> take the
> responsibility to provide good translators with their OS's. Or put
> another
> way, they should be in the reader business whether they like it or
> not.

That's exactly what I'm advocating. And if it's required by
government regulations, obviously it doesn't matter what they want or
not.

> I doubt they would agree. But even if they did, and they develop
> built in
> software support for the disabled, the people designing and coding the
> software will still have to understand how that built in capacity
> works and
> make sure that they have coded to its standards.

Coding to standards is not the problem. It's coding to incomplete
compounded by different standards that is the problem. If the proper
hooks are in the APIs supplied by Apple and MS, and further, those
API hooks across the platforms are *EXACTLY* the same, 100% as forced
by government regulations, then it's not hard at all for everyone
else to follow and stay in compliance.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

7 Oct 2007 - 9:29pm
Ian Fenn
2007

On Oct 7, 2007, at 5:37 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:
> When Adobe took a year after the most recent release of OS X to
> ship a native version of Photoshop, that was an indicator that they
> weren't doing as well as they could have, or should have.

Personally, I wish they'd taken even longer. I've just waited a day trying to install Adobe Acrobat on an Apple Mac. Easy, one might think. No - Adobe's setup program kept telling me that Acrobat was already installed and wouldn't let me install or reinstall. And I couldn't uninstall the ghostly presence of Acrobat either. In the end I had to go to the command line and manually delete every single reference I could find to Adobe or Acrobat... Fun, fun, fun.

Curiously, Adobe don't use Apple's installer. I've no idea why, but I wish they did as I've never had a problem like this with it.

All the best,

--
Ian Fenn
Chopstix Media Limited
http://www.chopstixmedia.com/

7 Oct 2007 - 10:36pm
Joseph Selbie
2007

"If the proper
hooks are in the APIs supplied by Apple and MS, and further, those
API hooks across the platforms are *EXACTLY* the same, 100% as forced
by government regulations, then it's not hard at all for everyone
else to follow and stay in compliance."

You left me here Andrei.

Aside from being highly unlikely to happen, aren't you in effect advocating
that the OS developers become the arbiters of progress? Or worse yet that
"forced government regulations" become the arbiters of progress?

I would much rather count on market forces and free-wheeling innovation to
move software evolution forward -- even in the chaotic and messy way it
tends to happen.

What I think is much more likely to happen is that -- should the courts in
fact decree that equal access must be granted to certain types of publically
accessible websites, such as Target -- competition will increase among the
readers for market share and they will begin to innovate and improve rapidly
in response to the opportunity to increase their revenue. And, just as
happened with browsers, big players may enter the competition, such as MS.
We'll undoubtedly end up with the same messy, blurry, frustrating mix of
standards and approaches that we have had with the browsers -- but we'll end
up with some really great solutions that no standards body or government
agency would ever have come up with.

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
Http://www.tristream.com

7 Oct 2007 - 10:57pm
.pauric
2006

Joseph said: "I haven't heard of any core, structural, intrinsic way
in which any software or hardware system can be designed that allows
for visual complexity to be more easily translated into audio or
other input using an assistive technology."

The technology is here, just not evenly distributed, read all about
it: http://www.nfb.org/Images/nfb/Video/K-NFB Reader_Custom.wmv

Andrei: "But why should that be a software overlay on the system
instead of built into the system itself?"

In a word, its an interface. A presentation layer. You dont
re-interpret the visual spectrum to audio, back down in an OS (why
not: e.g. JScript). It must be an open, standards based, solution to
be truly universal and robust.

Note the K-NFB is nothing more than a digital camera and OCR module.
A simple solution that adapts to most any environment, subject text
and user.

It cant be rocketscience to build a dynamic OCR reader for today's
powerful desktops.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21080

7 Oct 2007 - 10:59pm
.pauric
2006

That URL again, http://tinyurl.com/2vtcqt

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21080

8 Oct 2007 - 12:28am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 8:57 PM, pauric wrote:

> In a word, its an interface. A presentation layer. You dont
> re-interpret the visual spectrum to audio, back down in an OS (why
> not: e.g. JScript). It must be an open, standards based, solution to
> be truly universal and robust.

Visual spectrum? What are you talking about?

Text doesn't appear on your screen unless it was coded and rendered
to do so. Windows don't move when you click and drag unless it was
coded and made into an object that was clickable. Nothing on the
computer screen appears unless it was *coded* to do so, and in doing
so, the underlying OS knows what kind of thing it is in order to
render it.

> Note the K-NFB is nothing more than a digital camera and OCR module.
> A simple solution that adapts to most any environment, subject text
> and user.

Who needs OCR? How do you think you are reading this message on your
computer screen right now unless there was code to render out the
specific letters in this specific order? How do you think you can
grab and drag a window out of the way unless there was underlying
code to do exactly that? The underlying objects are there.

> It cant be rocketscience to build a dynamic OCR reader for today's
> powerful desktops.

It has nothing to do with OCR.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

8 Oct 2007 - 12:45am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 7, 2007, at 8:36 PM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> Aside from being highly unlikely to happen, aren't you in effect
> advocating
> that the OS developers become the arbiters of progress? Or worse
> yet that
> "forced government regulations" become the arbiters of progress?

I'm not advocating anything, other that saying that Target.com is
getting sued over something they really shouldn't be getting sued
over. And if they lose the lawsuit, having anyone who is not Apple or
MS be the arbiters of progress will actually be worse since we can't
even control the underlying technology in order to be the arbiters of
anything.

> I would much rather count on market forces and free-wheeling
> innovation to
> move software evolution forward -- even in the chaotic and messy
> way it
> tends to happen.

And in that world, you've got Target.com getting sued.

> What I think is much more likely to happen is that -- should the
> courts in
> fact decree that equal access must be granted to certain types of
> publically
> accessible websites, such as Target -- competition will increase
> among the
> readers for market share and they will begin to innovate and
> improve rapidly
> in response to the opportunity to increase their revenue.

Unless that market is bigger than $100M USD, I seriously doubt that.
I'd be surprised if that market was bigger than $10M USD.

> We'll undoubtedly end up with the same messy, blurry, frustrating
> mix of
> standards and approaches that we have had with the browsers -- but
> we'll end
> up with some really great solutions that no standards body or
> government
> agency would ever have come up with.

I highly doubt that. The accessibility problem is at least a thousand
times more problematic than simply trying to render a proper box
model with W3C standards inside a passive browser interaction model.
Given how bad the browsers worked out in getting such simple
standards up and running and still not being at 100% compliance...
I'm not sure how anyone can be optimistic about the situation if left
to evolve as everything else has.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

8 Oct 2007 - 8:16am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Oct 7, 2007, at 9:35 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> Doing as well by whose standards? Yours? Are you over there
> managing and building the product that earns as much money as
> Photoshop does and is used by tens of millions of people across the
> globe, many as the basis of their entire livelihood? And the
> measure of success here is a year? A whole year to wait for a
> native build! Heaven forbid that Adobe have a lot of other things
> all happening at the same time than to drop everything already into
> the pipeline to make sure that a native OS X version of Photoshop
> could ship immediately after OS X ships.

The measurement I'm using is the ability of thousands of other
applications that are ready for release by the time the new OS comes
out, or shortly thereafter (within a month to a few months, not over
a year). Yes, most are less involved, some just as involved (e.g.
Final Cut Pro, Quark XPress).

Are you saying that Adobe doesn't have dedicated resources for each
of their applications? That the same team who develops Illustrator,
Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Flash, are the same team that develops
Photoshop? That an application as important as Photoshop with 10s of
millions of users worldwide, some of whom make their entire living
off of Photoshop doesn't have its own dedicated development team? If
the application is that important, shouldn't they have dedicated
resources? Shouldn't it be a high priority to make it one of the
first releases?

I know first hand how corporate decisions go and how that can make a
shift in development priorities - I've been there dozens of times. If
you make a decision to delay your product for whatever reason,
resources, strategy, etc. then that's your decision to make. The
primary consequence is that you don't sell as many as early - income
from that product is delayed.

The point is that it's not Apple's fault that Adobe took over a year
after the OS release to release a native version of Photoshop. Should
Apple have delayed the newest release of OS X until Photoshop was
ready? Of course not. Should Adobe have released a buggy, not ready
for prime time version of Photoshop a month after the OS release to
make a the market? Of course not. But sue Apple because it took Adobe
over a year to release a native version of Photoshop, for whatever
reason, or combination of reasons. That's Adobe's responsibility, not
Apple's.

Just the same, don't blame Target for the screen reader companies
lagging behind a year or more in technology. That's the screen reader
companies' decision and issue, not Target.com.

>
>> Apple has built accessibility into their OS. While it might not be
>> Jaws, OS X has native accessibility features built into the OS and
>> has for years. Just look under the system preferences panel.
>
> If you are implying that OS X has adequate accessibility
> functionality, then I presume you also believe the lawsuit on
> Target.com is baseless since OS X obviously does what's needed to
> help anyone using the Mac deal with the web on the computer itself.

Adequate? Not really in my book, but they are at least including
accessibility functionality, which is a step in the right direction.
Personally, I don't think Apple's accessibility functionality is
totally adequate, nor do I think the screen readers are adequate. But
then again, I rarely think any current solution is adequate, since I
believe we can just about always do better than we actually do.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

8 Oct 2007 - 8:18am
Todd Warfel
2003

Yeah, that drives me nuts. Installing an update to Illustrator and
Photoshop the other day forced me to quite Safari before I could
continue. Why I should need to quite Safari to update these
applications I have no idea.

On Oct 7, 2007, at 10:29 PM, Ian Fenn wrote:

> Curiously, Adobe don't use Apple's installer. I've no idea why, but
> I wish they did as I've never had a problem like this with it.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

8 Oct 2007 - 8:19am
Todd Warfel
2003

Now that's a brilliant idea. When has the government every been
efficient at creating progress and innovation compared to the private
sector?

On Oct 7, 2007, at 11:36 PM, Joseph Selbie wrote:

> Or worse yet that
> "forced government regulations" become the arbiters of progress?

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

8 Oct 2007 - 8:38am
.pauric
2006

Andrei, lets try to understand the problem before we focus on the
specifics of the engineered solution. We should first put a bit more
resolution on what it takes to be "Disabled".

Let me start with a few observations I've made. I've never seen
someone with limited motor control use an Apple. It primarily tablet
PCs or dedicated hardware. Of the group that falls under "Blind",
I'd like to first better define the problem as Visual Acuity which
can be broken down in to two major groups; Hyperopia or
'farsightedness' and Myopia 'shortsightedness'. -Very- generally
speaking the first affects the elderly and the second is an eye
defect. And, Hyperopia is going to be a significantly larger
percentage of computer users as we all age and our eyesight fails us
- I feel thats the business case for an eventual application based
solution

I others chime in with their observations...

That said... if I may "bite" I'm surprised to see a talented
designer such as yourself delve straight in to a proposed solution.
If I may summarize your argument for fixing the OS with one comment
you made "Text doesn't appear on your screen unless it was coded
and rendered to do so."

I, as a reader of what is on the screen in front of me, do not care
about the code needed to compile/interpret/render the information in
front of me. I just read, humans are system agnostic. I can read
applications or web pages, games or graphics - what I describe as the
'visual spectrum' of information I take in.

My approach to compensate for a lack of ability to interpret the
visual spectrum would be to look for a solution not based in a
specific OS or W3C standard. I'm suggesting a new layer that
interfaces and translates between the user and the presentation
layer. Build an engineering-out reader that interprets wpf,
javascript, vista or OS X's core animation and you shoot yourself in
the foot when that specific technology becomes redundant.

I'm suggesting a system, based on my experience in working with
people with disabilities, that tracks the user's eye (if possible)
and reads that section back to them. Regardless, it monitors all
activity on the screen, from OS dialogs to js interactions, read
those and translate them in to audio or touch (the other two major
'spectrums', or senses, the we receive information). In short, an
Optical Character Recognition based Intelligent Agent. Forget about
interpreting what it takes to get those electrons to the monitor,
lets just dynamically snapshot the screen and OCR it.

I feel its going to be more fruitful to address the point of failure
not the system. The underlying system will change, the issue of
deficient vision does not. That point of failure lies between the
user and the system presentation layer. I think I'll call this
approach User Centered Design (o;

cheers :-pauric

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21080

8 Oct 2007 - 8:43am
.pauric
2006

Todd: "When has the government every been efficient at creating
progress and innovation compared to the private sector?"

Darpa, Apollo, Arpanet. If anything, governments do a rather fine
job of leading innovation. There's no reason to wait until egn X is
half blind and there's a market. The technology is available today
but it will only take a non-profit to capitalize on it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21080

8 Oct 2007 - 9:30am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 8 Oct 2007, at 14:19, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> Now that's a brilliant idea. When has the government every been
> efficient at creating progress and innovation compared to the private
> sector?
[snip]

Well, speaking for myself, I found it a heck of a lot easier to
convince UK clients about the necessity for accessible web design
after the UK government guidelines started talking about WCAG et al...

Adrian

8 Oct 2007 - 9:40am
Joseph Selbie
2007

> What I think is much more likely to happen is that -- should the
> courts in
> fact decree that equal access must be granted to certain types of
> publically
> accessible websites, such as Target -- competition will increase
> among the
> readers for market share and they will begin to innovate and
> improve rapidly
> in response to the opportunity to increase their revenue.

"Unless that market is bigger than $100M USD, I seriously doubt that.
I'd be surprised if that market was bigger than $10M USD."

So you think that even if Target, Walmart, K-Mart, JC Penny, Amazon, Ebay,
Google, Yahoo, Cisco, MS, Apple, Adobe, Bank of America and thousands of
other publically accessed websites were required to improve their
accessibility, that the money available to the reader companies wouldn't
increase?

Walmart alone might put $100M a year into developing a reader if the
alternative is a class action suit.

We are talking about companies whose combined revenue is in the *trillions*
of dollars. You can bet some money is going to be thrown at the problem to
solve it!

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

8 Oct 2007 - 9:45am
Anonymous

>> Now that's a brilliant idea. When has the government every been
>> efficient at creating progress and innovation compared to the private
>> sector?
> [snip]
>
> Well, speaking for myself, I found it a heck of a lot easier to
> convince UK clients about the necessity for accessible web design
> after the UK government guidelines started talking about WCAG et al.

In the US at least, that might be driven more by the demand that
federal contractors comply with certain rules or lose funding as well
as the now-possible legal liability. So by using both carrots and
sticks, they can force private enterprise to care about the subject,
but only to the extent that the government regulations are written.
This is wonderful news if you believe that the government (whether in
Brussels, London, or Washington, DC) always gets technical issues
correct while legislating.

Daniel

Sent from my iPhone

8 Oct 2007 - 9:49am
Anonymous

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 8, 2007, at 7:40 AM, Joseph Selbie <jselbie at tristream.com> wrote:

>
>> What I think is much more likely to happen is that -- should the
>> courts in
>> fact decree that equal access must be granted to certain types of
>> publically
>> accessible websites, such as Target -- competition will increase
>> among the
>> readers for market share and they will begin to innovate and
>> improve rapidly
>> in response to the opportunity to increase their revenue.
>
> "Unless that market is bigger than $100M USD, I seriously doubt that.
> I'd be surprised if that market was bigger than $10M USD."
>
> So you think that even if Target, Walmart, K-Mart, JC Penny, Amazon,
> Ebay,
> Google, Yahoo, Cisco, MS, Apple, Adobe, Bank of America and
> thousands of
> other publically accessed websites were required to improve their
> accessibility, that the money available to the reader companies
> wouldn't
> increase?
>
> Walmart alone might put $100M a year into developing a reader if the
> alternative is a class action suit.
>

"might"?

> We are talking about companies whose combined revenue is in the
> *trillions*
> of dollars. You can bet some money is going to be thrown at the
> problem to
> solve it!
>

Only if solving it is cheaper than avoiding the issue.

> Joseph Selbie
> Founder, CEO Tristream
> Web Application Design
> http://www.tristream.com
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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8 Oct 2007 - 10:21am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 8 Oct 2007, at 15:45, Daniel C. Montiel wrote:

>>> Now that's a brilliant idea. When has the government every been
>>> efficient at creating progress and innovation compared to the
>>> private
>>> sector?
>> [snip]
>>
>> Well, speaking for myself, I found it a heck of a lot easier to
>> convince UK clients about the necessity for accessible web design
>> after the UK government guidelines started talking about WCAG et al.
>
> In the US at least, that might be driven more by the demand that
> federal contractors comply with certain rules or lose funding as
> well as the now-possible legal liability.
[snip]

That's certainly true - but it also raised awareness for everybody.

> So by using both carrots and sticks, they can force private
> enterprise to care about the subject, but only to the extent that
> the government regulations are written.
> This is wonderful news if you believe that the government (whether
> in Brussels, London, or Washington, DC) always gets technical
> issues correct while legislating.

I find it easier to argue somebody into the right solution once
they're half-way convinced that they actually have a problem to
solve :-)

Adrian

8 Oct 2007 - 10:51am
Todd Warfel
2003

We've had the same thing with sites built off of federal funds–
they're required. However, I don't know that I'd really be rooting
for the government to lead innovation. In my experience, the private
sector is better at producing innovation than the government, at
least in the US. The US government typically hires private sector
companies to innovate for/with them.

On Oct 8, 2007, at 10:30 AM, Adrian Howard wrote:

> Well, speaking for myself, I found it a heck of a lot easier to
> convince UK clients about the necessity for accessible web design
> after the UK government guidelines started talking about WCAG et al...

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

8 Oct 2007 - 11:36am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 8, 2007, at 6:16 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> The measurement I'm using is the ability of thousands of other
> applications that are ready for release by the time the new OS
> comes out, or shortly thereafter (within a month to a few months,
> not over a year). Yes, most are less involved, some just as
> involved (e.g. Final Cut Pro, Quark XPress).

You're "just as involved" examples either only focus on one platform
or only one product. Photoshop is far more reliant on the general
type libraries, color management systems, pdf components and other
shared technology to enable people to use Photoshop more elegantly
with other Adobe creative products. In other words, Photoshop just
isn't Photoshop on its own anymore.

> Are you saying that Adobe doesn't have dedicated resources for each
> of their applications? That the same team who develops Illustrator,
> Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Flash, are the same team that develops
> Photoshop? That an application as important as Photoshop with 10s
> of millions of users worldwide, some of whom make their entire
> living off of Photoshop doesn't have its own dedicated development
> team? If the application is that important, shouldn't they have
> dedicated resources? Shouldn't it be a high priority to make it one
> of the first releases?

Dedicate resources for 1/4 to 1/3 of their market to stop everything
in their tracks to get a release out in faster time rather than keep
all your resources moving along as planned to address their *entire*
market at the same time? Todd, you're a smart guy. Stop saying silly
things.

> I know first hand how corporate decisions go and how that can make
> a shift in development priorities - I've been there dozens of times.

On software products like Photoshop? Which kinds of products like
Photoshop have you worked on personally? One as complex, used by as
many people, one tat shares technology with other core creative
products in a suite, and one that ships on multiple platforms in 10+
languages nearly simultaneously?

> If you make a decision to delay your product for whatever reason,
> resources, strategy, etc. then that's your decision to make. The
> primary consequence is that you don't sell as many as early -
> income from that product is delayed.

More silliness. Photoshop has never been hurt by making a decision to
stick to its own ship schedule versus drop everything they are doing
because Jobs has new crack candy to sell for his customer base.

> The point is that it's not Apple's fault that Adobe took over a
> year after the OS release to release a native version of Photoshop.
> Should Apple have delayed the newest release of OS X until
> Photoshop was ready? Of course not. Should Adobe have released a
> buggy, not ready for prime time version of Photoshop a month after
> the OS release to make a the market? Of course not. But sue Apple
> because it took Adobe over a year to release a native version of
> Photoshop, for whatever reason, or combination of reasons. That's
> Adobe's responsibility, not Apple's.

Sue Apple? What on earth are you talking about? You were making snide
comments about how long it took Adobe to release a native version, a
side thread at best here, and I called you to task for it. Now you've
got some axe to grind because you perceive that Adobe taking an full
year to release to a native version of your pet platform somehow
signals Adobe is lost in the woods. And you do so from a point of
ignorance on the myriad of issues Adobe has to deal with while
assuming that you do indeed know.

The larger point I've been trying to make is that the folks in the
disability community are going after the wrong company in their
lawsuit. Target is not the ones they should be suing. They should be
going after MS and Apple to make them solve the problem for real on
the computer itself. Nothing more.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

8 Oct 2007 - 12:10pm
.pauric
2006

Andrei: "They should be going after MS and Apple to make them solve
the problem for real on the computer itself."

But the 'problem' is not on the computer, Operating Systems do what
they were designed to do, as well as a few things they werent. Suing
an OS manufacture is a pointless waste of advocates limited
resources.

Let me put it to you in a crude analogy, you dont sue the NY Times to
get them to increase the font size. You -solve- the 'problem' by
buying glasses. That is, dont try to redefine fundamental OS
requirements based on a small percentage of the user base. Build an
application that solves a user need.

An an aside, try to avoid name calling, it diminishes the credibility
of your arguments.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21080

8 Oct 2007 - 12:42pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Oct 8, 2007, at 12:36 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> You're "just as involved" examples either only focus on one
> platform or only one product. Photoshop is far more reliant on the
> general type libraries, color management systems, pdf components
> and other shared technology to enable people to use Photoshop more
> elegantly with other Adobe creative products. In other words,
> Photoshop just isn't Photoshop on its own anymore.

You're kind of missing the point. FCP and QuarkXPress are very
powerful, capable products. They don't require near the installation
size that PS does. Before Adobe took over MM products, they were
significantly smaller in size. Now that they're over 250-350M each.
They grew substantially overnight with the Adobe code base. You can
argue all day and night that that extra code base is essential to the
extra features... but the point is that more code equals more
development time, maintenance time, and effort.

Those shared libraries do come with the added benefit of easier
maintenance and the ability to share elegantly between products. And
they come with the added cost of additional application size, slower
load times, more ram requirements, and as with PS, the inability to
ship some products faster when they are reliant to get this common
base done before they can launch. It's a trade off.

> Dedicate resources for 1/4 to 1/3 of their market to stop
> everything in their tracks to get a release out in faster time
> rather than keep all your resources moving along as planned to
> address their *entire* market at the same time? Todd, you're a
> smart guy. Stop saying silly things.

That really didn't answer my question, or your answer isn't quite
clear. Not sure if you mean they dedicate 1/4-1/3 to specific
markets, languages, or what? What do you mean by 1/4-1/3 of market
compared to their "entire" market here?

> On software products like Photoshop? Which kinds of products like
> Photoshop have you worked on personally? One as complex, used by as
> many people, one tat shares technology with other core creative
> products in a suite, and one that ships on multiple platforms in 10
> + languages nearly simultaneously?

First, I've been involved in MM Flash, Fireworks, and DW before they
came to Adobe. Not as much as you were involved in the products at
Adobe, I'm sure. But I was involved on a level that gave me enough
understanding to what it's like to build such a product/product
suite. Additionally, I've worked on a number of large scale financial
applications that used common libraries shared across multiple
products. I've worked on products that range in size from customer
bases of 50, to larger bases over 24M. Yes, I'm sure you can argue
that PS probably has more than 24M users worldwide. But then you'd be
ignoring the law of diminishing returns...

> More silliness. Photoshop has never been hurt by making a decision
> to stick to its own ship schedule versus drop everything they are
> doing because Jobs has new crack candy to sell for his customer base.

So, the release of a native OS X version of PS had absolutely no
impact on the sales of PS? Now who's making silly statements?

> Sue Apple? What on earth are you talking about? You were making
> snide comments about how long it took Adobe to release a native
> version, a side thread at best here, and I called you to task for
> it. Now you've got some axe to grind because you perceive that
> Adobe taking an full year to release to a native version of your
> pet platform somehow signals Adobe is lost in the woods. And you do
> so from a point of
> ignorance on the myriad of issues Adobe has to deal with while
> assuming that you do indeed know.

Looks like you got lost in the woods there at some point. I don't
personally use PS that often, but our designers do (although
Fireworks has been a great alternative). I do however have a number
of professional photographer friends who were steamed about how long
it took for a native version of PS to come out. There's no axe to
grind from me–it really didn't effect my personal work at all. And w/
o PS, we'd do just fine with Fireworks.

OS X is my preferred platform, far from my pet platform.

I never claimed to know all the decisions and "issues" Adobe had to
deal with specifically with PS. In fact, quite the opposite. I
mentioned a few common issues and even left it open to a host of
additional issues that nobody outside the core PS team, and more
likely the management team, knows.

> The larger point I've been trying to make is that the folks in the
> disability community are going after the wrong company in their
> lawsuit. Target is not the ones they should be suing. They should
> be going after MS and Apple to make them solve the problem for real
> on the computer itself. Nothing more.

Well, we're not on the same page, but at least in the same book. I
wouldn't point the finger at Apple and MS, but at the team developing
the actual screen reader software themselves. Either way, I think we
are in agreement that they shouldn't be going after Target, but the
software makers.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

9 Oct 2007 - 11:48am
whitneyq
2010

I'm chiming in late, so rather than try to answer direct points, here
are a few of my own.

First, the Accessiblity Technology industry is made of up very small
companies, usually focusing on specific types of disability, including
some very specialized mobility/dexterity solutions. You can learn more
about these businesses here: http://www.atia.org/

One of the challenges of being such small companies is that it has
historically been difficult to both keep up with multiple platforms
AND pay the fees required to be a preferred developer. To their
credit, companies like Microsoft have finally moved to be more
inclusive, and are often allowing AT developers to join in their
pre-release programs for free. Other large software vendors often fund
the updating of tools to work with their new releases.

But the biggest challenge I see is that the AT connectivitity has to
be hand crafted for each platform AND application. An API or consensus
standard would go a long way to making it easier for apps, platforms
and AT to stay in sync. This is, frankly, a place where government
could play an important role, nurturing and encouraging the effort.
The barriers seem to be many: it's expense (in time, and sometimes
membership fees) to participate in standards (that locks out many AT
vendors). Companies may not want a standard on that old "discourages
innovation" chesnut, or simply because they don't see it as a
competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, this leaves users out in the cold. And one problem for
users is that AT is often expensive. JAWS, one of the popular screen
readers costs ~$1500. (When you think about that, consider how much
you paid for your browser). And, that's just one tools needed for
independent living, for a population that struggles with employment.
There's also a steeper learning curve, so the barriers to updating are
also higher.

We might also ask why our Web development tools don't do a better job
of helping us design and build accessible sites and other apps. They
do have a mass market, and could do a lot to make accessibility a
matter of course, instead of an extra burden. There is a large
marketplace there, and those are tools built by large companies with
the resources to do more (acknowledging there the amount they have
done).

The irony is that designing to web standards, and thinking about
designing for multiple "user agents" (as the WAI calls the collection
of browser platforms) also solves many accessibility issues.

One approach, from both the WAI and the 508 Refresh Committee, is to
set standards for what a content format must include to support/make
possible accessible design, as well as some requirements for the
capabilities authoring tools should have. These draft guidelines have
focused on "capabilities" not implementation, leaving companies free
to find innovative ways to author accessibly.

Finally, consider how you would feel if the next version of your
favorite tool was suddenly changed in a way that made it impossible
for you to use. I'm not talking about preference, ease of use or
usability, but outright barriers.

I was part of a discusssion of accessibility of virtual worlds like
Second Life, for people who "browse with their ears". It turned out
that the first problem wasn't even in Second Life itself. It was that
the login page was designed inaccessibly. People using a screen reader
couldn't even get into the worlds to find out if they could use them
or not. Nothing special, new or difficult. Just a login screen. But
just as much a barrier as any locked door.

Whitney

--
Whitney Quesenbery
www.wqusability.com

9 Oct 2007 - 4:52pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

pauric wrote:

> Forget about interpreting what it takes to get those electrons to the
> monitor,
> lets just dynamically snapshot the screen and OCR it.
>
> I feel its going to be more fruitful to address the point of failure
> not the system. The underlying system will change, the issue of
> deficient vision does not. That point of failure lies between the
> user and the system presentation layer. I think I'll call this
> approach User Centered Design (o;
>

Two thumbs and one toe up. For the approach, the style and for the proposed
solution.

Cheers, Oleh.

On Mon, 8 Oct 2007 06:38:49, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Andrei, lets try to understand the problem before we focus on the
> specifics of the engineered solution. We should first put a bit more
> resolution on what it takes to be "Disabled".
>
> Let me start with a few observations I've made. I've never seen
> someone with limited motor control use an Apple. It primarily tablet
> PCs or dedicated hardware. Of the group that falls under "Blind",
> I'd like to first better define the problem as Visual Acuity which
> can be broken down in to two major groups; Hyperopia or
> 'farsightedness' and Myopia 'shortsightedness'. -Very- generally
> speaking the first affects the elderly and the second is an eye
> defect. And, Hyperopia is going to be a significantly larger
> percentage of computer users as we all age and our eyesight fails us
> - I feel thats the business case for an eventual application based
> solution
>
> I others chime in with their observations...
>
> That said... if I may "bite" I'm surprised to see a talented
> designer such as yourself delve straight in to a proposed solution.
> If I may summarize your argument for fixing the OS with one comment
> you made "Text doesn't appear on your screen unless it was coded
> and rendered to do so."
>
> I, as a reader of what is on the screen in front of me, do not care
> about the code needed to compile/interpret/render the information in
> front of me. I just read, humans are system agnostic. I can read
> applications or web pages, games or graphics - what I describe as the
> 'visual spectrum' of information I take in.
>
> My approach to compensate for a lack of ability to interpret the
> visual spectrum would be to look for a solution not based in a
> specific OS or W3C standard. I'm suggesting a new layer that
> interfaces and translates between the user and the presentation
> layer. Build an engineering-out reader that interprets wpf,
> javascript, vista or OS X's core animation and you shoot yourself in
> the foot when that specific technology becomes redundant.
>
> I'm suggesting a system, based on my experience in working with
> people with disabilities, that tracks the user's eye (if possible)
> and reads that section back to them. Regardless, it monitors all
> activity on the screen, from OS dialogs to js interactions, read
> those and translate them in to audio or touch (the other two major
> 'spectrums', or senses, the we receive information). In short, an
> Optical Character Recognition based Intelligent Agent. Forget about
> interpreting what it takes to get those electrons to the monitor,
> lets just dynamically snapshot the screen and OCR it.
>
> I feel its going to be more fruitful to address the point of failure
> not the system. The underlying system will change, the issue of
> deficient vision does not. That point of failure lies between the
> user and the system presentation layer. I think I'll call this
> approach User Centered Design (o;
>
> cheers :-pauric
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21080
>
>
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--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is the Design of Time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

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