Wired mag rant: real Braille == Get Wired!

Jeff Suttor (JSuttor@Library.UCLA.EDU)
Tue, 27 Dec 94 19:05:24 EST

Wired magazine's current issue is totally blank, white, except for a Braille
"Get Wired!" embossed in the upper right hand corner. In the magazine they
challenge users to decode it.

Here's a letter to the editor, rant in Wired speak.

P.S. http://www.wired.com is not valid HTML and cannot be transformed to
Braille :(

Jeff Suttor JSuttor@Library.UCLA.Edu

----------------------------- Note follows -----------------------------
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 94 15:25:56 PDT
From: JSuttor@Library.UCLA.edu
To: rants@wired.com
Subject: real Braille == Get Wired!

Wired magazine, Rants:

Thanks for putting a Braille "Get Wired!" on the cover of your current issue.
For many people, this will be their first exposure to Braille encoded
information, for others, Braille is an essential part of accessing information.

The electronic information explosion that Wired covers represents an excellent
opportunity for true access to information by all, including print impaired
users. Electronic information can be accessed in many ways by print impaired
individuals, but in order for it to be usable, it must retain the structure and
context that is often provided by visual formatting clues. A heap 'o text
(ASCII) may be accessible, but is not as usable as structured text with markup
for headings, authors, title, quotes, links, etc.

The IETF HTML-WG, Internet Engineering Task Force HTML Working Group, has added
SDA, Software Document Access, attributes to HTML 2.0, an SGML application, to
support transformation of valid HTML to the ICADD, International Committee for
Document Design, DTD. ICADD is designed to support Braille, large print and
voice synthesis.

Note that in order to transform from HTML to ICADD the HTML must be valid
according to the HTML 2.0 DTD. In addition, creators of HTML that imbed
proprietary procedural formatting, eg make this font a bit bigger, this font a
bit smaller, etc., in their documents do a real disservice to information
reuse. Not only is it counter productive in comparison to structure and
context in non-visual modes of access, it inhibits programmed reuse, eg build a
navigation map/summary based on document structure.

Information reuse is an example of the economics of doing good by doing good.
Using non-proprietary open standards to markup and add value to information
serves the *entire* user community as well as protects the investment of the
information originator from fickle market forces and the "cool" format du'jour.

For more information on:

HTML to ICADD to Braille: http://www.ucla.edu/ICADD/html2icadd-form.html
HTML 2.0: http://www.hal.com/%7Econnolly/html-spec
HTML for accessability: http://www.gsa.gov/coca/WWWcode.htm

P.S. http://www.wired.com is not valid HTML and cannot be transformed to
Braille :(


Jeff Suttor
<URL http://WWW.Library.UCLA.Edu/~jsuttor/jsuttor.html>