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

  • From: "Darrell Shandrow" <nu7i@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2005 19:40:43 -0700

Hi Bill, Jennifer and all,

I think a "healthy" amount of fear is good in as far as it serves to remind us of the urgency with which we must ultimately advocate to insure our world is sufficiently accessible to allow us to continue to participate. Inaccessibility = loss of participation. In some areas at least, we don't have accessibility simply because we don't squeak often or loudly enough. I'm not talking about being impolite or rude here. I'm just talking about asking for and, sometimes, insisting upon, reasonable accessibility. Properly placed fear would serve to better mobilize the entire blind community of tech users to action to advocate for the access we need.

Sure, being too hard isn't going to get us anywhere, but neither is being too soft. Most people still find it too easy to simply pat us on the head and set us aside for "bigger and better" things.

Just my $0.02 for what it is apparently worth.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Bill Belew" <bill@xxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2005 7:33 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: further discussion of Ajax was Google Mail and screen readers

Jennifer, very well said. In my experience a friendly, positive approach generates more good will and more results in the long run. There is room for many different approaches and attitudes, but for me staying positive and following the golden rule is the way to go.


-----Original Message----- From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Jennifer Sutton Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2005 4:33 PM To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [bct] Re: further discussion of Ajax was Google Mail and screen readers

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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