W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 1998

"It's the law" revisited.

From: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 07:21:40 -0800
Message-ID: <35055A84.A2CFE24D@gorge.net>
To: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Harvey writes: " Is there a tactful way to make such reports to sites
other than your own?...most had problems, and a trend for more getting
worse than getting better, as their web pages evolved into more
layout-intensive graphics, frames, imagemaps, and layout tables...No one
at Microsoft acknowledged that combined report."

Whenever it is suggested that we take an aggressive attitude towards
offenders in accessibility matters it is politely claimed that such
measures are counter-productive and might even lead to (omigosh!)
*backlash* and will "get you exactly nowhere."

We are fundamentally dealing here with civil rights matters, not merely
cases of convenience.  For our clients this is a matter of exclusion of
a kind that will exacerbate their chronic problems of
un/under-employment and further "pejorative" references of the hidden

The efforts to soften the blow of law compliance by putting a cashmere
lined velvet glove over the mailed fist have been somewhat less than
effective. The ingrained reluctance of many of our targeted audiences is
made evident by the frequent observations of web watchers that things
are actually getting worse despite our open communication about the

The gains made by other areas of the disability rights movements were
achieved by the kind of non-violent but militant approach made visible
through sit-ins and stopping the buses from running until chair lift
agreements were reached as well as law suits to, e.g. mark the edges of
subway platforms.

It is vital to any effort of this kind to include the implicit threat of
action to counterbalance the inertia of years of making decisions that
profoundly affect the disabled community without heeding their concerns. 
At least one "working group" in this undertaking should be actively
exploring the important area of legal actions that *compel* compliance,
even though that idea seems unpopular within our ranks.  "Suggestions"
and "recommendations" are not showing signs of working well and as we
continue to "feed at the blindness trough" we'd best keep our compact
with the community we purport to serve and at the very least show a
little muscle because there are many signs that this an avenue which if
pursued will lead to a more accessible web.
Received on Tuesday, 10 March 1998 10:24:09 UTC

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