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Advocate, crusader, or martyr?

From: Chris Kreussling <CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 11:55:49 -0400
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <s60790c0.034@ny.frb.org>
Redirection appreciated if there's a more appropriate forum for this discussion ...

I'm a professional and volunteer web developer - internet (public), intranet and extranet. I communicate with my colleagues within my organization on tools, techniques, standards, and so on. I'm aware of the W3C WAI efforts and other guidelines and references. I consider myself to be reasonably conscious and informed on accessibility issues and solutions.

At our last monthly meeting I asked if our organization or any of those present had any standards or guidelines for accessibility of documents or publications, especially those on our Web sites. The two dozen present simply looked at me silently. A few shook their heads. None of them looked like they had ever heard of such a thing, let alone considered its impact on their own work. So from that informal poll, among those whom I would hope would know better, I learn that I'm probably going to be alone in trying to apply accessible design to the projects I work on.

Working alone, or silently and behind the scenes, I can design this into my own work (at least until something breaks and I have to explain what I was trying to do.). I'm interested in educating and encouraging my colleagues to do the same; this, of course, would attract more attention, and my management might question why I was spending time on that effort. This would require that I educate management as well, perhaps encouraging an organization-wide effort to examine accessibility, resulting in a golden age of raised consciousness, enlightenment and job fulfillment for all employees in the organization. On the other hand, it might result in dissent, opposition, antagonism, or worse. I would expect some blend of these extremes.

So, The Question: How have you folks gone about advocating/arguing for the importance of accessibility? Legal (e.g.: ADA) arguments are one approach. How have folks come to their present roles re: accessibility? As messenger, how do I persuade others of the importance of the message, without getting "killed" if the message is refused? What wisdom would the sages of accessibility impart to their apprentices just starting out on this road?

Thanks to all who respond, and all who contribute to this mailing list and to the cause of accessibility.

Chris Kreussling
The views expressed are those of the author 
and do not necessarily reflect the position 
of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York 
or the Federal Reserve System.
Received on Tuesday, 22 September 1998 11:58:53 UTC

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