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Re: How to Complain to a Webmaster

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 10:42:59 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "Jim Ley" <jim@jibbering.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 10:15 AM 10/31/2001 , Jim Ley wrote:
>Certainly it's not malice, but I'm intrigued as to why we should do so
>much to pander to a professional's inability to do their job?  I wouldn't
>expect a Doctor's lack of professional ability to be quietly pointed out
>in an email, and then if it doesn't get an appropriate response ignored
>for a month and it simply resent?  Why should we do that with web

A doctor works for _you_.  A web developer doesn't.  This isn't
pandering, this is realism.  I don't know if you've ever operated a
web site professionally before, but sometimes you'll get complaints,
and your job is not to redesign the web site because someone complains,
but rather to address those complaints, which might just mean "answer
the email, don't change the site."  It might not even be your job
to respond to every complaint, even.  Maybe you're allowed to ignore
them.  Having a web site doesn't mean that you're allowing everyone
out there to give you work orders.

Here's an example.  I went to http://www.jibbering.com/ -- this is
a HOPELESSLY INACCESSIBLE text web site which consists of web pages
without illustration, meaning it represents a major barrier to 
people who can't read so well.

I'd really like to see the maintainer update the FAQ at
http://jibbering.com/faq/ to illustrate each point with images that
could be understood by the cognitively disabled.

There, I'd made one complaint -- and I've even made it in public,
too!  Now I should simply sit back and expect Jim to recode his site,
correct?  That's how we're expecting things to work, right?

Otherwise, it's the exact moral equivalent of medical malpractice...

Well, no, of course not.

>I also believe that policy makers in the website should be included from
>the start, so many of the inaccessible sites come from the fact that
>those commissioning the site, believe there are maybe 2 browsers, and 2
>operating systems, and everyone looks at the web the same, this means
>that in the bidding process, the "designers" who come up with the
>multimedia flash presentation will often win, simply because it "looks
>good", even though they do not have the skills to author websites.

Sounds like we need to educate those designers.  I haven't denied
that educating policy makers is important, mind you -- but as you
say this has to be done up front, and by the time you're complaining
about inaccessibility it works better to start with the webmaster
and not with the policymaker.

>The way to get Accessible sites, is to educate the people who commission
>them, that way, we ensure that the developers make accessible sites, as
>those are the ones that survive - the professional designer, who knows
>their trade will get the job, those that don't will fall by the wayside.

Of course it's important to educate everyone.  No one has denied
this, and if you're thinking I've said that, please read a little
more carefully.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Received on Wednesday, 31 October 2001 13:45:01 UTC

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