[Accessibility] Re: 102 (a), revision to 'Statement of problem'

Bill Haneman bill.haneman at sun.com
Mon Sep 8 12:47:55 PDT 2003

Here's another attempt:  I am trying to respond to some input from
Janina on this while still pointing out the aspects of accessibility
that are separate from "assistive technologies" as such.


(a.) A general description of the current problem.
People with disabilities may be excluded from participating in the
benefits that technology provides because their needs are rarely
included in the software design process, and there is a lack of
appropriate technological accommodation. 

However, it has been proven that adherence to some simple design 
criteria, such as provision of keyboard navigation of all features and
adherence to user-specified system appearance settings can reduce or
eliminate these barriers for many users, including users who may not
identify themselves as 'disabled'.  It is further known that
properly designed assistive technologies (AT) are capable of delivering 
unparalleled benefits to users with more severe disabilities 
who usually have no other viable alternative. 

Assistive technologies can:
>     *
>       provide the means for individuals, who do not have the use of
> their arms and hands, to write and correspond. Often user interfaces
> programmatically prevent these users from performing important tasks by
> not providing mouse and keyboard alternatives.
>     *
>       enable individuals who are blind or visually impaired to read
> online text. Often user interfaces programmatically prevent or severely
> encumber the users ability to read and traverse the screen by supporting
> only iconic and mouse driven user interfaces.
>     *
> Support participation by individuals who can't speak or hear on today's
> telephony interfaces and tomorrow's multimodal computer interfaces.
> Many needless barriers can be eliminated on the entry level by
> programmatically providing the appropriate contextual information to
> both the application and system services via well-defined standards of
> practice and adherence to those standards.  

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