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"Gill, Kathy" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Gill, Kathy
Tue, 9 Feb 1999 15:55:43 -0800
text/plain (41 lines)
> From:         Liz Gee[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> For people like Kathy who are designing for world wide public access, there
> is definitely a different criteria than for people like Derek and myself
> who are designing for a specific target audience.
> As with magazine publications, "Know Thy Target Audience" is key.
Liz makes a good point about "knowing your audience."

Yesterday, I became embroiled in a mini-flack about the FCC web site. Keith suggested I relate my experiences to this list.

Another list (Benton Communications) publishes morning headline news; they featured a new FCC web site, touted as "consumer friendly" and with the avowed goal to be a "simple to use resource that so well promotes our commitment to make the information and consumer protection resources of the Commission readily available to all."

So I went for a visit. And found a framed site that, indeed, had a "text entry" -- but to get to it you first had to load the frames and a GIF. In other words, the author did not use the <Noframes> tag, as we have discussed on this thread.

How did I know? I looked at the source code. I also ran the page through Bobby, which flunked the page.

So I jotted a note to the editor of the daily communique -- he asked if he could forward my note to the full list. I said "sure, but please correct any typos!" I then received phone calls and e-mails from people curious about frames, accessibility issues, and Bobby (the e-mail did not include Bobby's URL, unfortunately). I may even be interviewed on a college radio station <?!>.

Two calls came from the FCC. The operative one was from a self-professed "web troubleshooter," who first exclaimed "we have no frames on our site." He had received the "letter to the editor" note, which had been edited to remove reference to the FCC news release and site URL.

So I walked him through the problem, and he fixed it as we spoke on the phone. This is the most rapid customer service I've ever received from a federal agency.

I guess the moral of the story is this: if we politely explain our concerns about a web site's accessibility, and point out how the problem/s can be fixed, we can have an effect -- making the net more open to all.

> The URL for the new website is
> <>.
> <>
> Kathy E. Gill
> DCAC/MRM Methods Communication -- 425.965.6901
> Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential. ~ Liane Cardes
> Microsoft Exchange: the perfect name for its users' greatest desire!