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Re: FWD>Outreach to Contract Web Authors

From: Geoff Freed <Geoff_Freed@wgbh.org>
Date: 17 Mar 1998 15:26:54 -0500
Message-ID: <n1321973415.99180@wgbh.org>
To: "Chris Hasser" <chasser@immerse.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
        Reply to:   RE>FWD>Outreach to Contract Web Authors

Hi, Chris:

This sounds like a great idea, and something the Education and Outreach group will, I'm sure, be dealing with.  

The CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) currently offers Web-site consultation services, and has worked in the past with designers for Nynex as well as Boston-area firms.  I know that Chuck Letourneau in Canada also offers similar services.  I'm sure there are others on this list who can chime in as well.

While we're on the subject, NCAM is currently seeking funding for a Web Access Resource Center.  We've submitted a proposal to the federal government which, if approved, will allow us to start operations this fall.  While aimed primarily at helping Public Broadcasting-related Web sites become accessible, the Resource Center would be available to the public sector, too.  

Geoff Freed
Project Manager, Web Access Project
CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media

Date: 3/17/98 1:59 PM
From: Chris Hasser

1. I began by lamenting the fact that my company's Web site is still 
unaccessible since we don't have the staff to modify it.  I wondered 
whether there might be a contract web authoring organization that might 
specialize in accessibility retrofits (so we can throw money at the problem 
to get it solved.)

2. This lead to the idea of fostering the growth of a few accessibility 
retrofit contract authoring companies.  It would create jobs and allow 
corporations to fix the problem by throwing money at it, rather than 
developing internal expertise.

3. I then realized that companies probably wouldn't want to hire a niche 
author - they want one authoring contractor to get the whole job done.  A 
contractor that has expertise and respect in all aspects of web authoring. 
 Hmm... sounds a lot like Universal Design.

So here's the question - are we making any special efforts to reach out to 
contract web authors?  All of the discussions I've noticed to date all seem 
to treat web authors generically, but it seems like some authors would be 
more valuable targets than others.

Is there a contract web authoring association?  A first step might be to 
target a large franchising organization like USWeb.  WAI could develop 
inservice training materials (video, web page, in-person lectures at 
training sites).  Delivering such training to an organization like USWeb 
would be a clearly defined goal.  It should also be easy to measure 
impacts, since the company knows how many sites it designs, and surveys for 
accessibility could be conducted before and after the fact.  I'd suggest 
that WAI approach USWeb or some similar company at a high level to start 
talks.  At a low level, academics involved in WAI might want to 
"infiltrate" students as summer interns into large contract web authoring 

Chris Hasser
Received on Tuesday, 17 March 1998 15:38:32 UTC

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