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Re: WCAG and "undue hardship"

From: Greg Gay <g.gay@utoronto.ca>
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 17:02:17 -0400
Message-ID: <3932DAD8.EDAC4C23@utoronto.ca>
To: love26@gorge.net
CC: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, Wendy Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>

William Loughborough wrote:

> GG:: "We are currently involved in the evaluation..."
> WL: Who's "We"?

In my signature.

> I just don't think that characterizing lynx as "legacy technology" is
> any more useful than thinking of UNIX as "old hat".


What is Lynx's market share? For those with a disability? For those without
one? Those using older technology?. I have to argue for progress. Economics
is an issue we can't overlook.

> The problems of
> JavaScript have to do with standards conformance, proprietary vs. open
> standards, interoperability, and lots of other issues relating to simply
> paying attention instead of heading up some primrose path of "latest,
> coolest, etc." stuff.

Javascript was introduced into this product before the release of WCAG.
Before web accessiblity was in the public consciouness. You can not deny
that Javascript is widely used. I would hazard a guess that Javascript web
developers are approaching a majority. Javascript is used  enough that it
should be drawn into open standards. W3C should be providing guidance for
Javascript developers, developing standards to get Javascript back on track
after being derailed when Microsoft introduced it's own version. Javascript
is too useful and too widely used to deny it's use.

The fact that the developers I speak of have created this product to work
equally well in IE and Netscape versions of Javascript shows they have been
paying attention.  Perhaps they are the ones to assist in developing
standards for JS.

> In most cases the choices were made to use non-standard constructs by
> people who should have known better and the fact that retrofitting is a
> bitch while possibly a defense in this matter is still at best specious.
> If they are truly talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars cost in
> this thing then they should seek better programmers and re-examine their
> pricing structure.

This is a very large complex piece of software, that retrofitting will
involve a huge untaking. Rebuilding from scratch may be a more economical
approach, but given the investment in  developing the product, would be

> Incompetence is not a valid excuse and undue burden doesn't allow for
> self-imposed burdens. If this comes off as a flame, so be it. They got
> caught polluting the stream and now want to avoid sharing the cost of
> the cleanup (full stop.)

Incompetence is not an issue. These developers are innovators that are doing
their best to meet the accessibility guidelines. They are leading their
field in adopting accessible design practices in course authoring software.
They came to us with the honorable intention of making Web based education
accessible to people with disabilities. Yes they are retrofitting. Not out
of incompetence, but out of the untimely introduction of the WCAG after they
had made all those unfortunate design decisions.

Your words are harsh, and uncalled for. These people are trying, and want
guidance, not critisism. What can they do to rectify to situation without
giving their right arm?

> --
> Love.
> http://dicomp.pair.com

Greg Gay
Centre for Academic and Adaptive Technology
University of Toronto
416 978-4043
ICQ 9020587
Received on Monday, 29 May 2000 17:02:31 UTC

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