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Re: apology on "alt" tags

From: Philip Ramsey <jamaican@colis.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000 00:05:49 -0500
Message-ID: <3A3703AB.BE0AF946@colis.com>
To: Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>
CC: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi Kelly and the WAI-IG,

I discovered this intertest group back in May. Since then I have
experimented in making an accessible web page. I think I had fairly
good success with my first attempt. This group has certainly opened
my eyes to the difficulties that people such as yourself encounter on
the web.

Although education will go a long way, accessibility will only become
commonplace when big business sees that it stand to make a buck.
Based on information I have found in this group, there are about 30
million Americans who are blind. These Americans have disposible
income totaling about US $750 million. I also understand that very
few on the online merchant sites are accessible.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I also understand that most of the next
generation commerce sites will be voice enabled and the enabling
technologies are based on the coding that makes a site accessible to
the blind. The point is that sooner or later online merchants as well
as online business will be forced to make their sites accessible to
you as a matter of good business or by default.

Prior to October I was coding my sites by hand. Since October I have
been using HomeSite 4.01. The reason I chose HomeSite is because it
was evaluated by W3C for accessibility. I must confess that I found
the software very confusing at first. It took me over a week to
master the simple features. I am now starting to use HomeSite to
create accessible web sites but I realize I have a long way to go.

Here in Jamaica no one considers the needs of the disabled. Not the
government, not business, not even organizations setup to assist the
disabled. So if I tell a client that I am able to create web sites
that are accessible to the blind I will get a blank response. The
fact is I do not even mention it, I just do it to the best of my
ability. Have a look at the proposed web site for Knolford Polo &
Tennis Ranch hotel in Jamaica
http://tourjamaica.freeservers.com/test/knolford/index.htm. N.B. This
hotel is a sports theme hotel that will not practical for people with
disabilities as the sports are polo and tennis. Anyway, I ran Bobby v
3.11 on the site and found that four out of fourteen pages failed (I
was not even trying to make the site accessible).

Another site I am working on is for a non-profit organization, called
Farquharson Institute of Public Affairs located at
http://tourjamaica.freeservers.com/test/fipa/index.htm, that is
working to foster social change. This site will be made accessible as
it will contain information that will affect everyone. According to
Bobby v. 3.11 this site passes the automatic testing. Not bad
considering that I am still wet behind the ears.

I will appreciate any feedback to the above proposed web sites.


Kelly Ford wrote:
> Hello,
> At 02:01 PM 9/26/00 -0700, you wrote:
> >The "you" is me, so I'll respond:
> >
> >KB:
> > >>Hold on, a sec, I don't think the Olympic site was being _malicious_.
> > >>Let's not attribute to malice what is clearly ignorance or
> > >>laziness.
> >
> >KF:
> > >I hardly think you can call the accessibility problems with the Olympics
> > site the result of laziness or ignorance.
> >
> >KB:
> >
> >So you're saying it was a result of _malice_?  That's such a
> >bizarre claim that I can't even fathom why you'd want to promote
> >such a view.
> >
> >KF:
> Why is the claim so "bizarre?"  At every turn when the Sydney Organizing
> Committee was made aware of accessibility issues with the Olympics they did
> all they could to fight the issues.
> Most recently they argued that it would take two million and a year to
> correct the problems with the site.  I find that claim a bit hard to believe.
> Given the track record of poor accessibility, don't you think it would have
> been prudent to investigate accessibility as a main component of the
> Olympic web site as I'm sure other criteria were investigated and demanded
> to be working?  Failure to do this and running from the issue at every
> opportunity demonstrates malice to me.
> >KF:
> > >The people behind the site clearly know about web accessibility as parts
> > of the site are very accessible.
> >
> >KB:
> >
> >I'm wondering if you have ever worked on a major web project or
> >a major software project.  It is _very typical_ to have varying
> >degrees of quality from section to section, as different work
> >groups will work on different sections.  It is naive to assume
> >that the entire web site was assembled by the same group of
> >people working on the whole thing!
> >
> >Clearly some were aware of accessibility issues, and some not.
> >Those who were not are the ignorant and/or lazy ones, and they
> >generated the accessibility errors.  Which is what I said.
> >
> >KF:
> Someone signed off on this web site as a complete project.  I don't care if
> one or one thousand people did the actual coding.  The point is that
> someone was responsible from the top and that person should have ensured
> accessibility was met.
> KF:
> I don't know what you define as major but I have been involved in software
> and web development projects.  My experience has been that when the people
> at the top say that accessibility matters and must be satisfied, the
> technical folks find excellent and creative ways to get it done.  When
> accessibility isn't viewed as a priority from the top down, accessibility
> doesn't get addressed.
> I also have 33 years, roughly 23 of them that I'd call being aware of the
> full world around me, living as someone who's blind.  I have numerous
> examples of how attitude about disability directly impacts inclusion or
> exclusion.  You may choose to label me as naive and that's certainly your
> right.  It isn't a belief I hold about myself though.
> KF:
> Personally I respect your skills and efforts toward web accessibility.  I
> believe you've done many things to assist in making the web world more
> accessible for people such as myself.
> KF:
> But I think that there's this belief out there that if you just educate
> people web accessibility will happen.  It is going to take more than just
> education.  You can't tell me that the people responsible for this web site
> at some levels didn't know about accessibility.  I'm not willing to dismiss
> the problems associated with the site to mere laziness or
> ignorance.  Accessibility was not a new topic to the Sydney folks or IBM.
> >KB:
> >I think that such accusations are unfair to the web designers and
> >are amazingly misguided as they assume a malice -- "willfully
> >excluding people" -- which has not been proven.
> >
> >It's one thing to criticize people for doing it wrong.  It's
> >another thing to fabricate stories in which they are beings
> >of pure evil vileness out to destroy all that is good about
> >the world just because they screwed up on a web site.
> KF:
> Please don't do what you accuse me of doing.  I never said they were out to
> ruin all that's good in the world.
> KF:
> I'm not willing to dismiss the accessibility problems as just a harmless
> screw up though.  We'll likely have to agree to disagree on this.
> Kelly

Philip Ramsey 	
http://tourjamaica.freeservers.com/ (business)
http://members.colis.com/~jamaican (personal)
Enroll in degree courses at University of Phoenix
Received on Wednesday, 13 December 2000 00:33:46 UTC

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