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Re: [Fwd: File: "JH-SPCH TXT"]

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 09:50:34 +1000 (EST)
To: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>
cc: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980326093824.24885T-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
I have just returned from a week in Vietnam - a country with a high level 
of physical disabilities, and very poor computer access to boot. Their 
first ISPs began operation on December 1.

For most of the people who can afford access (it is still very expensive) 
disability is not a problem. But accessibility often is - the high-tech 
websites that are touted as being "the must-see websites", including such 
as Microsoft, and (I am ashamed to say) RMIT University, become no-go 
zones, because they are so slow. On the other hand, simple, fast 
websites are as useful there as anywhere else in the world.

This is a common problem. Many of the accessibility concerns raised by 
disabled people are also relevant to large sections of the "undisabled" 
market. At RMIT last year we did a survey of our front page, and found 
that only 55% of requests for the page were matched by requests for the 
image it contained (this was when we had just changed the image - it 
could not have been cached). Since a number of those requests were from 
proxy servers, it seems the blind community are not the only ones wanting 
alt text. The same goes for other features - the sound file that Love 
sent would have to have appeared EXTREMELY important if I was going to go 
to the effort of finding a computer which was set up to play it.

Seen in this light, there is an impetus to produce simple accessibility 
from an ordinary marketing perspective as well as a Discrmination law 
perspective. This is fortunate, because as an Australian I am not obliged 
to give two hoots about the contents of section 504, 508, or anythng else 
much Congress has passed. (Nor are many people on this list actally 
subject to the various EO and anti-discrmination laws enacted by 
Australian parliaments)

Charles McCathieNevile
RMIT University
Received on Wednesday, 25 March 1998 19:08:51 UTC

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