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Re: Advocate, crusader, or martyr?

From: Paul Adelson <paul.adelson@citicorp.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 11:28:42 -0500
Message-Id: <199809221629.MAA14469@egate2.citicorp.com>
To: Chris Kreussling <CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Check out the WAI Education & Outreach Working Group (EOWG) Home Page
http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/

From my personal experience, it takes persistent action from all directions to make headway in this area. The more people hear about different aspects of accessibility, the more open they become to it. The topic is scary to people for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fear of anything that sounds obscure, legalistic (and therefore high risk), and complicated.

If you can access the net during the meetings, you might take ten minutes to show people sites that are good looking, robust, and accessible. Even better, if you can show them audio-browsing in action, and the simple changes that make a difference between a site that works or fails, that is what has had the biggest impact that I've seen: it does a tremendous amount to turn the unknown into the known, and I've seen more than one naysayer turn into a powerful advocate after such demonstrations.

Do people have recommendations for best accessible sites for demo purposes?

 -- Paul

Chris Kreussling wrote:

> 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 12:28:48 GMT

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