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Re: Wired story about 508 Compliance

From: Marti <marti47@MEDIAONE.NET>
Date: Fri, 7 May 1999 17:18:18 -0400
Message-ID: <002101be98cf$2603fb80$7feb8018@mcculler2.ne.mediaone.net>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: <ol@razorfish.com>, <roxy@xygo.com>, <drue@drue.com>, <newsfeedback@wired.com>, "Patrick McCuller" <patrick@sticking.com>
RE: http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/19556.html

Just how do we communicate clearly and consistently that, quite simply,
Access is for Everyone--and benefits everyone--not just those who possess
the latest tools & toys?

When the government first began to require ramps and curb cuts to
accommodate wheelchairs, the hue and cry was even louder than it is now
about Web accessibility.  In time, people have discovered that ramps and
curb cuts are good for lots of things: strollers, grocery carts, luggage on
wheels, roller blades and so on.  Whether it is a grocery store, a public
library or a Webstore, well thought out, solid engineering practices benefit
everyone!

The suggestion has been made that the effort might be better spent on
upgrading the current adaptive technology so the disabled can use whatever
is developed.  An interesting idea. Perhaps the money spent on making public
places accessible to wheelchairs might have been better spent on making
'walking' wheelchairs, hmm?

As to the comment attributed to Oz Lubling that "the cost of reverse
engineering existing Web sites could be prohibitive..." we certainly take
exception. Reverse engineering Web sites is not an alternative readily
offered to government agencies or corporations who are addressing how to
make their Web sites completely accessible, or even more accessible, than
they are now. We invite Mr. Lubling and Mr. Friedman and others to briefly
examine the wealth of information readily available on accessibility-focused
Web sites (including our own), to gain a better understanding of the
alternatives available to all Webmasters.

While we can't argue that it might cost something to 'upgrade' existing Web
sites, "doubling the cost" would probably only apply to sites that were very
poorly designed in the first place.  Given the speed at which changes are
made on the Web, simply initiating and following good universal design
practices alone would rapidly lead to a much more accessible World Wide Web.

Marti McCuller
CEO
Agassa Technologies --Access for Everyone
http://www.agassa.com
Received on Friday, 7 May 1999 17:45:52 GMT

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