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Business Benefits of Accessible Web Design:

From: Lisa Seeman <seeman@netvision.net.il>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 17:27:00 -0800
To: "_W3C-WAI Web Content Access. Guidelines List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-id: <001e01c16274$4eaf8a60$2492003e@dev1>
I had a look at EO's Business Benefits of Accessible Web Design:
   http://www.w3.org/WAI/bcase/benefits.html

First comment is that this would not help me all that much when putting forward a business case. People are always asking me for hard data, not generalities. Clearly I will not increase my target market by twenty or even  a full ten percent by going accessible, So what percent of the market am I truly losing? Bare in mind that less people with severe disabilities are on line as compared with the total population.

Unfortunately people will make the business decisions based on a cost analysis against potential gain. Being able to help people justified the cost in a true  business case would be very welcome, but I do not see the right kind of information hear.

Other incentives, such as search engine placement, is unproven when compared against other techniques (keyword intensive first paragraphs for example, loading keywords in the alt tags...). The aid to device independent is also questionable. If a company decides to be WAP compatible, they are better of making a WML rendering then an accessible one. The whole mess of mobile standard, means that xml basic is not necessarily the language of your directors mobile device, which is after all, all that seems to matter. Adding illustrations for cognitive disabilities will add to bandwidth not reduce it. 

Although CSS and good markup, does improve efficiency, I do not think that that is generally true. In my experience making a site accessible, filling in table summaries, messing around with CSS for the look that you want ect ect is time consuming.

Many of the arguments render me cynical, for example:
" glare on a screen may make seeing video, or even text-based content, difficult so having content that can be rendered with a voice synthesizer can be beneficial. "
I can not imagine anyone getting a voice synthesizer and headphones because of screen glare. I put my hand up to block out the light.
 
Sometimes when a thing is right, it can be right in all types of ways, and accessibility is one of these things. The business case is there, but needs a more business style critique. I am happy to provide some info and stats that I have for this.


All the best,

Lisa Seeman

1866 654 8680
www.GlobalFormats.com
Widen the World Web
Received on Wednesday, 31 October 2001 10:28:01 GMT

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