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Re: Accessibility, discrimination, and WCAG 2.0

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 23:45:05 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200010232245.XAA10950@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Viewed in Web terms, if I design a real estate site in a manner that makes
> it inaccessible to the blind, I've discriminated unfairly. Vision or lack of

It's nothing like as clear cut as this.  For instance, businesses
discriminate against certain classes of people by not advertising in
their neigbourhoods, or not providing outlets in those neighbourhoods.
Discrimination by not investing is quite normal practice.  There is a
system in the UK, probably from the states, called ACORN (a classification
of residential neighbourhoods), and some free to recipient advertising
magazines make a point that they are only distributed in certain
classification; there are many other examples.

> same is not relevant to the sale of real estate. On the other hand, if I'm

It may affect the cost of selling.  Most businesses would probably
argue that discrimination that tends to maximise their profits is fair.
They only move from this when their other customers learn of this and
get a conscience, or their cost structures are distorted by governments.
(For many years, DIY stores in the UK traded illegally on Sundays, because
the state imposed fines were less than the extra profit; Sunday trading is
now legal.)

> only slightly outrageous length, consider 3.7: Supplement text with graphic
> or auditory presentations where they will facilitate comprehension of the
> content.

Only lawyers will profit from this sort of clause.  Contractors do not
like contracts with open ended conditions like this.

> What if a person with a cognitive disability wants to put up a web site?

At least in the UK, there is a tradition of allowing individuals to 
do things which are not allowed to businesses.  There is also the point
that non-business pages act as self training, and are more likely to 
carry real information.  There are public policy advantages in only
enforcing rules against businesses.

Once you do that, the people whose goal is supplying information may
well improve, as they tend to learn their bad habits from the commercial
pages.  Vanity pages are generally harmless.  Governments probably don't
care if dodgy sites remain of low accessibility!
Received on Tuesday, 24 October 2000 02:49:00 UTC

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