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RE: OT (slightly): Salt Lake '02 Webmaster: Inaccessible site

From: Denise Wood <Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 03:19:43 +1030
Message-ID: <E1962E8F1DF0D411878300A0C9ACB0F9024637FB@exstaff4.magill.unisa.edu.au>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To be fair to IBM it was not IBM that were taken to the Human Rights
Commission it was SOCOG.  When SOCOG tried to join IBM (in the end stages of
the case) the Federal Court refused as SOCOG was the owner of the site,  it
controlled the site and design of it and the chief designer was from SOCOG.
It is my understanding, although I am not sure of this, that IBM had offered
an accessible site and were told not to do so. In this case IBM was a
contractor performing work to another's specification.

I leave the judgment on whether they should have continued to build a site
which was inaccessible and thus illegal to others to decide.

This introduces another really important issue into the debate. The
responsibility of the contractor. This is a matter for legal interpretation and
I for one have no desire to attempt to comment on such matters. However, this
does raise issues for those of us who either do contract work for companies or
work for an employer who provides specifications that designers are "obliged to

It also puts a new slant on the responsibility of the designer for the SLC
site. Was he just following the project brief supplied to him by the client? In
which case - the focus should not be on this designer should it?

I do share others views that this is a forum for discussion about accessibility
issues and that review of major public sites is a reasonable means for engaging
in such discussion. However I also understand Kynn's point of view that there
is a danger that such activities could lead to a "lynching mentality". I have
not seen any evidence of that in the postings to this forum but it is as well
for us to be mindful that our focus should be on discussion of concerns and
sharing solutions about ways to address accessibility problems for web users.
There is also a need for advocacy on behalf of people denied access to major
public sites - but as Kynn has suggested and others have agreed - this is not
the forum. What we can do here is share information about organisations or
groups who may assist in this cause.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Kynn's interpretation of the
designer's response - his approach is one that we should not dismiss. As
unreadable as the designer's response was - it is nevertheless important to try
to analyse what is being said rather than just dismiss out of hand. I must
admit I was guilty of that myself and to be honest, made comment without first
visiting the SPRU site. Like Mike, I find it hard to see a relationship between
this site and the issues under discussion in relation to the accessibility of
the SLC site. However there is a lesson to be learned.


Dr Denise L Wood
Lecturer: Professional Development (online teaching and learning)
University of South Australia
CE Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Ph:    (61 8) 8302 2172 / (61 8) 8302 4472 (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
Fax:  (61 8) 8302 2363 / (61 8) 8302 4390
Mob: (0413 648 260)

Email:	Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au
WWW:	http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?Name=Denise.Wood
Received on Tuesday, 30 October 2001 11:49:53 UTC

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