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Financial factors- Investment Considerations

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 09:40:50 -0500
Message-ID: <006401c39c98$51cbd220$9801a8c0@deque.local>
To: <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
All,
You might like to read the attached htm file instead.

Ref: Investment Considerations

1.  Replace "investment" with  "cost" in this section. Also avoid the term "capital".
We are talking of  costs that might be  of a "capital  nature"  that need to be incurred less often whose usefulness lasts for more than one accounting period, as well as costs that might be more repetitive. So it is inappropriate to use the term "investment".   Besides it is not for us to decide what is capital and what is  not- some orgs may treat an expense as of capital nature  and  some orgs might treat the same expenditure differently. This is an accounting term and an accounting decision for an org. So let us keep it simple and just use "costs".   
2. Consider following introduction for this section of the doc:
"It is important for an organization to recognize that    making Web content accessible is not a one time effort and expense but needs long term commitment as    Web content and Web applications  undergo changes and revisions over time. Besides  monetary costs, an organization needs to   be prepared to  invest the extra time needed for the effort  especially during the initial stages, and also overcome  any  resistance to  changing content development and deployment processes. "

3. "The cost of including accessibility is usually a small percentage of the overall Web site development cost."
Need to be careful here. (Natasha too sounded a warning on Oct 24 meeting)
This might be true when  a new website is being built with accessibility in mind. Retrofitting  can be expensive, might need workflow / process changes / training etc and often fails to be prioritized  as it may involve re-doing content   and may be resisted.
Also, what is "small"... can we indicate a range more objectively?   Consider words like insignificant or negligible too. Argument can be stronger by  relating incremental cost of accessibility not only to total Web content dev costs but to  total  expenses of running the org.

4. Strongly feel that repeating "leads to cost savings later on" is not necessary in this section. The argument about someone going straight to this section can be made about any other section, so do they warrant similar inclusion of content  from other sections?
5. Consider replacing "costs are early investments at an
organization level..." by saying :
"Very little or nothing needs to be done to make an individual project accessible   once the process of authoring(or building) accessible  content  has been internalized at the organizational level."
6.  Consider listing  costs (non exhaustive):
The costs most  likely to be incurred  for making Web content accessible might be attributable to the following:  
- Audit or evaluation of  the state of  accessibility  of website and Web applications
- Tools that   allow authoring accessible content
- Content management software that integrate accessibility  design and development practices
(The above two can be substituted with:
Adopting processes  / CMS that allow authoring accessible content; some might even integrate evaluation and repair  capabilities)
- Training  staff to design and develop accessible Web content
- Obtaining transcriptions, translations and captioning for  multi media content  
- Automated tools for Web accessibility evaluation and repair  
-Quality assurance  / testing processes to ensure Web accessibility 
- Assistive technologies normally used for computer access by people with disabilities.  Web content can be tested with assistive technologies. ( I put this one here because Shawn has it in the doc.  But I cannot vouch for its effectiveness unless  content is tested by knowledgeable and experienced PWD actually using the AT. WCAG 1.0 also recommendsthat PWDs using AT should test). 
- Obtaining certification   that Web content is accessible
7. The following  content also needs to be  introduced into this section - preferably after listing the  above cost elements.

"Some of these costs  might be incurred more frequently  than others. An organization might choose to outsource some  or all of the processes which will then  require retaining consultants well versed in accessibility design and testing or firms that provide such services. Another organization might choose to  build the capability inhouse by equipping itself with the necessary tools,  software and staff. The costs also depend on the approach   adopted for implementing  Web accessibility. some organizations prefer to assign priorities to various types of Web content. One possible classification of Web content is:
- Content  that is important  from the organization's perspective. For example, a business might like to make its products and service offering pages  accessible before  working on  pages that contains  content of interest to investors or job seekers. Another organization might reverse the order. An organization running a passenger   bus / rail network might consider making its schedules accessible first.
- Web applications- secure and non-secure
- multi-media Web content that  might need  extra effort for providing text alternative content / transcriptions / captions. 
- static versus dynamic Web content
The level of accessibility  sought to be attained  may also influence the process and therefore the costs. It is possible for instance, that the efforts and time required for an organization to attain a mandated  accessibility level (if any), that is lower than the   one recommended  as the most desirable by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, might be lower.
Just like itt is more economical and easier to     plan and incorporate  accessibility  into a physical structure like a new building than an existing one, it is  more easier on all counts to      make a new Website  accessible  than retrofitting  an existing website for accessibility features. In other words, it costs less to designed and develop a website with   accessibility in mind.   "

8. We need to  briefly state why websites are inaccessible... in Financial Factors page or Overview page. It will help put things in perspective.

Reasons for inaccessible content
Most managements and Web content designers / developers    are unaware of  alternative Web browsing practices using special access technologies and unintentionally exclude this segment of users by developing content that is accessible only to  most non-disabled users
- Assistive technologies   capable of being used for Web access have matured only in the last decade
- Guidelines for making Web content,  user agents and authoring tools accessible have   been defined  only since the late nineties
-Absence of legislation requiring Web content to be accessible in most parts of the world
- The right of people with disabilities to access Web content has been recognized only in recent years and that too in advanced countries  
Thanks for your time,
Sailesh Panchang
Senior Accessibility Engineer 
Deque Systems,11180  Sunrise Valley Drive, 
4th Floor, Reston VA 20191
Tel: 703-225-0380 Extension 105 
E-mail: sailesh.panchang@deque.com
Fax: 703-225-0387
* Look up <http://www.deque.com> *


 



Received on Monday, 27 October 2003 09:33:43 GMT

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