Accessibility is not a matter of cyborgs… anymore.

(Just had to repost)… DO WAIT until the full page completes loading prior to hit Publish! GRRR.

Earlier today, while looking for some reading that related web 2.0 with accessibility in a serious way, I found this website (http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/) from the WCAG. Even when we’ve been struggling for the last week or so to make our blogs compliant with the different recommendations for accessibility, the WCAG WG has prepared a draft on the new version of their standard.

Following the reading in that link I found that the predecessor (recommendation until this becomes a standard) is version 1.0, which dates back from 1999. Well, in 1999, nobody really thought about accessibility, because the priorities were Y2K (remember those days) and building tools that made the required work (build a web page) and some others to build an e-commerce site. These tools were basically of two kinds: programming languages (and their interfaces) such as Java, PERL, or VB and “intelligent” web servers which allowed to generate sites starting from CSS templates.

Today, eight years later, a lot of interest (and pressure) has been put in the game as governments and industries are requiring some levels of compliance on the web developments they do.

By taking a closer look at the participants (http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/participants.html) of the WCAG WG (working group) that is defining this standard (which was open for reviewing and commenting until June, 2007), companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Google, Adobe and others are making their participation count in the forum, so I would expect that in some very near future, all the new versions of the tools and software that we use to build web pages are WCAG 2.0 compliant.

An example of this is Microsoft recently launched Expression software (an update to the popular FrontPage, http://www.microsoft.com/expression/expression-web/FPUpgradeFAQ.aspx) which says that it is compliant with WCAG 2.0 and includes validation tools for it. Maybe with this kind of tools the web accessibility development stops being a cyborg thing.

My lost post explained also how a cyborg, a term used today, involves somebody using technologically advanced devices so close to his activities that they appear to be part of him or her. After our group’s post “I, Cyborg”, somebody argued that the tools we’re using today parallelly resemble human use of other inventions, and they are right… the TV, the wheel are inventions that humans did not have as part of their lives, but maybe when they started people used other terms different to Cyborg to refer to them.

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3 Responses to Accessibility is not a matter of cyborgs… anymore.

  1. Paul says:

    I notice that there has been made a small confusion between people using tools and people being ‘cyborgs’. It is true that humans, as intelligent beings they have always tried to invent tools that would make their lives easier. Although, the term ‘cyborg’ appeared for the first time in the ’60s and in short it refers to having a mechanical or electronical device as part of the human body. It is quite obvious that we don not have microchips implated yet or any actuators linked to our body, but still, there is a huge difference between using a chainsaw to cut some wood and using daily multiple ‘inteligent’ devices such as mobile phones, computers, web cameras and web services. Metaforically speaking we are cyborgs, since a day hardly passes by without any of us using at least one of the technologies just mentioned to talk to our friends, load new information in our brain or execute some tasks from remote distance.

  2. Jose Jesus says:

    Yes, Paul, you are absolutely right: we don’t have the technology phisically inside our bodies (not much technology, at least 😉 But I wonder if digital technology is actually “inside”… our brains.

    Hey guys, you should take a look on the concept of “cyberbaby”. The brain of the new generations is being shaped by technology!!

  3. mtamayoo says:

    Is there any specific link about cyberbabies? Found several on the Internet, but they refer to commercial sites to buy things for babies via the web.

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