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Scott's Hypothetical Intranet

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 15:09:36 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Cc: W3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 02:11 PM 10/26/1999 -0700, Scott Luebking wrote:
>Suppose that a company buys JAWS for one blind employee who works
>well on the intranet with it.  The company hires a second blind employee
>who only uses lynx and refuses to use JAWS.  Is the intranet
>accessible or not?

First let's look at removing the disability from the picture and
see if there's anything we can learn from that exercise:

   Suppose that a company provides Internet Explorer to their
   employees.  The company hires a new employee who only uses
   Lynx and refuses to use Internet Explorer.  What should the
   company do?

In this case, it's very clear to me that if the employee _can_ use
(is capable of using) Internet Explorer, and just chooses to use
Lynx, it's reasonable for the company to require her to use the
software they have provided to her for this purpose.  She is an
employee, and just as an office may choose to use only MS Word
for a word-processor, so can they also require that she use only
the software provided to her for accessing the Intranet.

Applying the same idea to the above situation with a second blind
employee, I would say the same thing -- the employee should be
required to learn JAWS.  The company should pay for all training
costs associated with this, of course, as they would if it was
just a case of training her to use IE; but it's perfectly reasonable
for the company to require that one specific accessibility solution
be chosen, as long as that enables the employee to do her job.

This isn't Burger King -- in most jobs, you don't necessarily get
it done "your way."  Someone who prefers Macintoshes may not be able
to demand a Mac in a Windows-based office.

This is not an accessibility issue.

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@hwg.org>
President, Governing Board Member
HTML Writers Guild <URL:http://www.hwg.org>
Director, Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education Center
Received on Tuesday, 26 October 1999 18:30:37 UTC

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