I disagree. My grandmother went deaf when she got into her seventies. I saw how it isolated her. She couldn’t get phone calls from her sons who lived out of state. People would get frustrated with her. Or, she would see how frustrated they were getting and then get frustrated herself because she was doing the best she could.
Proper communication is a fundamental human right essential to everyone’s well-being, in my opinion. But, I’m a loud mouth.
Changing sidewalks for wheel chair access made it easier for the blind, or so I am told. I know it made it easier for the elderly who had to use walkers. Someone who needs a walker because of a balance issue, not a strength issue, is more likely to fall at a curb. So the strength can fade away from unwillingness to walk and fear of being tripped up on curbs. Thus ramps have helped more than the wheel-chair bound.
As for my grandmother, I set her up with a phone that did email. The sons could send her email and she could hear from them, even if she never did figure out how to respond (this was the middle of the 1990s). That meant a lot to her.
These new access standards also address limited cognitive abilities, cultural differences, and alternate languages. As a former teacher, I am aware of cultural bias in testing. Cultural bias exists in web pages too, like when they assume that you know what wild cards are in a search engine and which one does which function. That’s technical bias.
People omit things to make them brief (unlike my letter here) or to make themselves elite (because you have to be in the know to understand). Requiring brevity by omitting things is not the same as including it and allowing people to skip what they want. A sighted person just skips over double wording as standard operating procedure. We see it so often. If you have to go back and decode something, that takes longer.
----- Original Message -----
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of Gene
But I don't believe in altering standard text for screen-readers on a site for the general public. Maybe, on a site intended only or almost exclusively for blind people. I haven't given that any thought. But when we read books, if a chapter title is in all capitals, we either learn how to deal with it if it causes problems, or we don't. This sort of thing goes far beyond the requirements of accessibility. Screen-reader users have a responsibility to know something about the program they are using. If all caps did cause me a problem, I would look at the line and spell what isn't being pronounced correctly. You don't build a street so that people who don't know how to drive can drive on it. You build a street for licensed drivers. You shouldn't alter text under normal conditions because some blind people may not know how to use their screen-readers.