[Irl-dean] ICT-Expo

Eamon Mag Uidhir eamon at maguidhir.com
Thu Feb 23 09:58:24 GMT 2006

How about a demo showing what can go wrong with a site along with one 
showing how things can be arranged to go right?

Supposing stand visitors were shown a site, maybe a fictitious site 
which looks good visually, made with dozens of nested tables and 
carrying key images with no alt text, followed by a demo of the JAWS 
experience of the same site (black screen, nonsensical linearized text, 
no mention of important graphic information, impossible navigation, 
impossible orientation), then a demo of the same site remade with 
universal design in mind, visually identical but with the code rebuilt 
with CSS so that JAWS runs through it with ease.

The point being to give non-disabled visitors a practical awarenes of 
how awful inaccessibility feels to a person with disability, coupled 
with a practical demonstration that the same site can be built with full 
accessibility but without compromise on the visual aesthetics.

Most business people haven't grasped that inaccessability is a hurtful 
insult when you're the one that can't get access as they only encounter 
the customers who make it past the barriers - their sense of fair play 
hasn't come into action because they don't realise anybody is being 
treated unfairly. They also don't know ther are always alternative 
methods that don't cost more to eliminate the issue -- and this is 
unfortunately true of many of the art school trained Dreamweaver crowd 
in the web industry. One problem may be that Vis. Comm.  may still be 
being taught by people who originally trained back in the Letraset and 
spraymount days and haven't made the mental transition to online beyond 
the superficial assumption that a screen is a kind of page that you lay 
out in pixels instead of points.

The key message for any outreach to business may be best kept simple - 
"Inaccessibility is awful, so why are you still doing it when 
accessibility is so straightforward".

Should we be producing a pamphlet/web tutorial on "How to buy an 
accessible web design" to go with the stand? There are two audiences 
here, people who build sites and people who buy sites. Two different 
messages can be needed as their information gaps are different.

Having a screen reader user on the stand to talk with people and dispel 
myths about visual impairment might be very fruitful in terms of 
consciousness raising.

How about a black list of "expert" web design advice sites that promote 
bad methods that undermine accessibility?

Regarding the business case for accessiblity, I think that usually flops 
because consumers with disabilities haven't sufficiently flexed their 
muscles either by positively endorsing and promoting good accessibility 
products and sites or by loudly boycotting companies that make no 
effort. Companies per se don't see a bottom line benefit (except where 
there is a regulatory fine in question), but company executives as 
individuals may be reached emotionally with talk of fair play and 
similar motivations, even suggestions that accessibility can be 
shamelessly exploited for PR advantage.


drice at nda.ie wrote:

>how about a couple of practical demonstrations, for example someone using a
>screen reader, or someone reviewing a webpages using something like the Web
>Accessibility Toolbar.  I could offer my services and the loan of some kit
>for at least part of the day.  I'm fairly adept with WAT but absolutely
>useless with JAWS, but I'm willing to give it a go.
>Dónal Rice
>             Hugh O'Neill                                                  
>             <honeill at crc.ie>                                              
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>             22/02/2006 14:58                                      Subject 
>                                       [Irl-dean] ICT-Expo                 
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>                 g.dcu.ie                                                  
>Hi everyone,
>We are looking into taking a stand out in this years ICT Expo in May.
>Overall we want to promote the use of the principles of design for all.
>Last year we had some assistive technology at the stand to demonstrate
>with, and a design for all presentation running.
>I am looking for suggestions for this year:
>- Is there a theme or an aspect of design for all that would be useful to
>- Ideas for the display & presentation
>If we take the same size stand, we will have 3meters by 2 meters space,
>with a small table.
>All suggestions are welcome.
>All the best,
>Hugh O'Neill
>Project Co-ordinator,
>Central Remedial Clinic.
>ph: +353 1 8057587
>email:honeill at crc.ie
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