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RE: How to convince businesses to be accessible...

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2000 17:42:35 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Dave J Woolley <david.woolley@bts.co.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 07:28 PM 10/5/00 +0100, Dave  J Woolley wrote:
>> A 10 second download does not necessarily mean light graphics, it
>> means a speedy connection. Users who are too impatient to wait for a
>> download are better served by faster connection capabilities, not by
>	[DJW:]  
>	That costs money.  Large amounts of money in some
>	parts of the world.  Applying a financial penalty
>	tends to discriminate against those outside the USA
>	and those unable to get well paid work, often 
>	including the physically disabled (note I see 
>	accessibility as being not just about disablement).

Unfortunately, this is where I differ from many who are working for
Accessibility for DISABLED folks. I think the guidelines should first
accommodate all those with disabilities before we worry about those who
choose not to buy what they need. Again, the answer to slow download is a
faster connection, and if you can't afford a faster connection, that at
least don't get in the way of those who can and who NEED the graphics.

>> taking away the bread and butter from users who depend on the graphics
>> to understand the conteent of a page. 
>	[DJW:]  I am having difficulty thinking of any site 
>	where casual graphics helped me and can think of 
>	many sites where I had to play "hunt the hyperlink".

Using graphics for links is but one use of graphics on a page. If graphics
do not help you, does that tell you they don't help others? It shouldn't.
You shouldn't stop your thinking at the end of your own nose. Broaden your
perspective. Statistically, "retarded" folks are about 3 percent of the
total population. What percentage of the disabled population would that be?
Statistically, "learning disabled" folks, many of whom have significant to
severe problems with text, are some 20-25% of the total population in the
US. Again, what percentage of the US disabled is that? If you have access
to numbers on the total disabled population, you can easily figure out how
many are likely to NEED graphics. 

Shouldn't needs of truly disabled folks be addressed before concerns over
costs to the able-bodied (and way before concerns over the users of
wireless devices)?

>> Continuing to argue against graphics, multi-media, and other
>> advantages of the web over print, is to argue against the likely
>> acceptance of accessibility. It's time to be realistic.
>I'd agree that commercial organisations will see anything
>that forces them to abandon graphics in order to get
>an accessihilitity rating as being a significant 
>imposition on them.  Once one accepts this, and if one
>also accepts that accessibility of commercial web sites
>is a valid public policy aim, one either
>has to find ways of improving accessibility at no cost
>to the authors and without affecting their use of 
>multimedia, or one forces them.  I don't see any realistic
>proposals for the former and I see an increasing amount
>of the latter. 

The best disclaimer that is likely to overturn accessibility is the fact
that accessibility that says to avoid graphics to the distress of those who
need them, isn't accessibility for ALL disabled folks using the web.

 (Tools that allow motivated authors to 
>improve accessibility don't count, as the motivation isn't

Authors aren't going to be motivated to do what is illogical. Until full
accessibility is covered by "accessibility", it just hits the gut as bad
policy - leading to bad law which is likely to be overturned quickly.  


Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Thursday, 5 October 2000 16:55:08 UTC

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