[bct] Re: further discussion of Ajax was Google Mail and screen readers

  • From: Jennifer Sutton <jensutton@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2005 19:33:20 -0500

Hello Darrell and all:

I'm going to go out on a limb here, I suppose, but perhaps those on this list will pardon me. I'd like to respond to a comment or two you made, Darrell. I get a little philosophical about my outlook, so if you're not interested, just delete.

Darrell wrote, in part:

At 12:39 PM 12/18/2005 -0700, you wrote:

It seems to me that the tools used by coders need to, as much as possible, generate code that is automatically accessible with little or no additional intervention required.

Yes, sure, if we lived in a dream world. But given what I know about Web and application accessibility i.e. that it takes human judgment, this is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes. I don't believe that computers can think about accessibility, entirely, as humans can and should. Yes they can help, but tools that prompt for accessibility supports (cross disability, of course), when sites are being built, can only prompt so much, just as is the case with Web accessibility testing/checking tools.

This is not to say that I don't believe there will be improvements because I try to be optimistic and believe that there will be. I find that people who are interested in taking new approaches to site and application building are more receptive when I take the attitude that all three of the groups that need to be partners to work for change do want the best and to work together. I try to help form working relationships and connect people, as much as i can. Again, those groups are the user agent (browser developers), the screen reader manufacturers, and the Web application developers. Standards are all we really have to hang our hats on; expecting the screen readers to cater to every little nuance of every innovative app. is unrealistic, as I see it.

But developers need to come to understand ways in which standards can support and foster innovation, rather than stifle it.

Yes, the tools need to improve, as does the education that developers receive. Plenty of things need to improve, and I do my best to offer specific, productive, bite-sized approaches people can take, when they are willing and able.

Darrell continues:
Until this can happen, I fear we're pretty much stuck in most situations today. Isn't reality a huge bummer?

I respond:

As I see it, reality is only a huge bummer if you decide that it will be. That's what I believe, anyway. I also work very very hard not to live in the land of fear. Living in that dark and bleak land has caused me great pain in my life, and being fearful and assuming the worst never have made me a positive forward-thinking advocate.

I apologize to you, Darrell, and to all for sounding as preachy as I am sure I do. However, perhaps this may prove to be helpful and others may learn from the mistakenly misplaced mental energy I've spent at times.

Best to all as we try to focus on the positive in 2006. It is possible to advocate while focusing on the positive. It may be harder, but it is possible. I'm not always successful, but that's my goal.


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