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RE: Washington Post editoral: Claims Against Common Sense

From: Shawn Denny <Shawn_Denny@wpi.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 18:09:58 -0500
Message-ID: <519D0B47A217D2118B4500C04F7942540625CD@GT-Exchg.wpi.org>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I'm not sure you can say that the ammount of effort to make a site is
minimal if the purpose of the site isn't just to provide public information.
I realize that in this particular case, that is true. This was a public
information site.

But, I think that we want to promote accessibility on all sites, and I
believe eventually you will see litigation to that end, if Web designers and
corporate decision makers don't change their perspectives. 

That means that the commercial site that is aimed at trying to attract a
mass audience . . . the largest audience it can get . . . well, in business,
that sometimes is resolved by cutting small numbers from the audience by
demographics. It is basic descrimination (and I use that term in a
definitive not connotative manner). Every advertiser does what is called
"cutting loses" or aims it's message at "target audiences". It's very common
if not required in a capitalist economy. Thus for a large business to
accomodate it's site to what it may determine is a small demographic, COULD
mean the loss of business if it has to use a text based site instead of
Macromedia Flash ( an extreme example ). With a limited budget for Web
development, which site do they choose to spend their money on? If you have
two sites that have equally compelling substance, but one is jazzed up with
visualized information that supports that content or makes it more readily
accessible to the sighted, which is more cost effective or more business
saavy to have?

Without basic training in the techniques of accessibility development, the
site may end up totally inaccessible and require a retrofit or a text
version. The implications of accessibility design can have a great deal of
effect on a site's budget. It isn't as simple as changing one tag to
another. It's changing one whole mindset to another. It takes good planning.
It takes good design. It takes creativity to make a site that is as "flashy"
and effective for a sighted person as it is for someone who is blind. The
mediums are different. Text and graphics are not the same, and you can do
somethings with each that you cannot in others.

Inconvenience is in the eye of the one being inconvenienced. It is important
that we "do unto others as we would have them do unto us" for both

I think that is what WAI is all about, and I believe that there are design
principles that can be used to serve the "visual flash" needs of a site and
the "non-visual effectiveness" together in one site rather than two
segregated sites. In whatever capacity I can (barring organizational
barriers) I hope to implement this design ideal.

Shawn "Webdawg" Denny
Information Architect

p.s. Please don't get me wrong. I am all for accessibility design.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Kynn Bartlett [SMTP:kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com]
> Sent:	Tuesday, November 17, 1998 5:37 PM
> To:	Shawn Denny
> Subject:	RE: Washington Post editoral:  Claims Against Common Sense
> At 01:53 p.m. 11/17/98 -0500, Shawn Denny wrote:
> >IMHO, Mr. Raspberry isn't arguing the case for general Web accessibility,
> he
> >is arguing against convenience of access when there is inconvenience to
> the
> >information provider. 
> The amount of "inconvenience" necessary to create accessible websites
> is MINIMAL, especially when compared to the amount of time, energy,
> and money that is regularly invested in inaccessible, unusable
> "cutting edge" advances.
> In other words, putting a table in HTML costs a FRACTION of the cost of
> making, say, an animated, interactive java map that only a subset of
> your audience can use.
> --
> Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
> http://www.idyllmtn.com/~kynn/
> Chief Technologist & Co-Owner, Idyll Mountain Internet; Fullerton,
> California
> Enroll now for web accessibility with HTML 4.0!
> http://www.hwg.org/classes/
> The voice of the future?
> http://www.hwg.org/opcenter/w3c/voicebrowsers.html
Received on Tuesday, 17 November 1998 18:20:53 UTC

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