[Athen] Interesting New story

skeegan at htctu.net skeegan at htctu.net
Wed Mar 28 00:50:23 PDT 2007

Anytime I see articles like the following, I have to remind myself
that this is just part of how some business environments work with
respect to public relations and marketing. I am not saying it is bad,
just that there is usually much more going on behind the scenes. I
know several of those working on the CSU initiative and the goals that
have been set. The work ahead will not be easy and I am sure many of
these individuals will be putting in some serious sweat and blood to
bring the Accessible Tech. Initiative to fruition.

That being said, I think that such publications do require very
serious attention to what *is* said as well as what *is not* said.
For instance, the comment, "...HiSoftware's solutions are part of our
multi-prong strategy for checking the accessibility of Web sites in a
scalable manner," certainly raises questions in my mind as to what are
the other prongs? Additionally, the above quotation identifies just
the *checking* of the accessibility of Web sites with the HiSoftware

For those familiar with how such technologies work, we can make
assumptions and educated guesses as to what may be the other prongs in
the above mentioned "multi-prong strategy". I think the challenge is
that for those who are *not* familiar with the accessibility
evaluation process of Web content, articles such as these may fuel
misunderstandings as to the real capabilities and limitations of
automated testing.

John F. mentioned in his response that these automated tools (and I am
paraphrasing a bit here) can "...walk content authors through various
accessibility checkpoints..." and "[allow]...web accessibility
specialists to identify areas of concern, and perhaps even seek out
the "offending" author and educate them on why they have a problem and
teach them how to fix it." These are some good examples as to how to
use such an automated tool in conjunction with trained individuals to
address Web site accessibility (e.g., part of a multi-prong
strategy..?) and I suggest such options when training and working with
community colleges.

I feel the challenge with such an article is all the information it
does *not* convey and a lack of information can be misleading to those
unaware of the scope of accessibility to Web-based information. Make
no mistake - I find the HiSoftware tools a viable option when used in
conjunction with properly trained individuals familiar with Web access
concepts. At the same time, I interact with many Webmasters, deans,
and CIO/CTO representatives who initially view such technologies as
the *fix it* tool that will automatically transform materials into
accessible Web content. Bridging the gap between those who understand
the intricacies of such tools and those who make decisions is, and
will be, an on-going discussion with (ideally) positive results. What
I personally find most interesting is the system wide approach the CSU
system is adopting to addressing access to electronic and information
technology as well as the benchmarks over the course of this initiative.

okay...if you made it this far, you get a gold star.


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