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Re: Policy on Web accessibility

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2001 12:21:20 -0500
Message-Id: <200111061718.MAA1791682@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: "Craig Hadley" <craig@4thandgoal.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 11:00 AM 2001-11-06 , Craig Hadley wrote:
>Hello All,
>I am pitching for some new business this week. The project is a web site
>re-design for a firm that falls under U.S. 508 as a contractor. The problem
>is that the managers of the firm gave me several examples of what they liked
>including their favorite site discovery.com.
>So I took a look at discovery.com. And (please correct me if I am wrong) but
>discovery.com doesn't even seem to try in regards to accessibility
>So what do I say when I go back to pitch meeting and the prospective client
>says "If an international media conglomerate like Discovery does their web
>site that way, why can't we?".

There are two chief points, here.

First, to reduce your own blood pressure, review the before/after examples at
WebAIM or a similar site.  What your customers likes about the Dicovery site
and what makes it inaccessible are not strongly linked.  There may have to
be a
few concessions in what they like, but not much.  And if it is a question of
being over-busy, then you need to get the Nielsen/Norman document out and show
them that what they like is not reaching the audience they are paid to reach,
and they need to think again.

Second, as to why your customer's customer has to respond to a higher
it's simple.  The government has a conspicuous monopoly.  Consumers dealing
with discovery.com at least seem to have a choice to deal with competitors. 
Because the perception of monopoly is very strong when it comes to your
government, the social decisions about political vs. commercial institutions
recognize a distinction in non-discrimination burdens.  The government is
more pressure to serve all citizens fairly than is Discovery to serve all
comers.  Discovery should put up an accessible site; sure.  But your customer
MUST put up an accessible site and whining about 'why can Jonny...' doesn't
even enter into the question.  [ADA aside, there is a prevailing difference in

This is entirely why they need _you_.  If they just copy Discovery in
of what it takes to comply, their customer will reject the work and they will
have cost to spend and egg on their faces.  If they hire you they can have a
friendly look and feel and a compliant site to boot.  Where do we send the

Your customers would just as instantly tell you "of course we will meet our
contract obligations" as tell you they like Discovery.com.  You hold the
key to
meeting both criteria.  There is much more orthogonality than opposition in


>Thanks for starting to publish documents like "Sample Implementation Plans
>for Web Accessibility "
ase/ip . Those
>types of resources make explaining the discussion possibilities to non-tech
>savvy managers much easier.
>Craig Hadley
>Madison, WI
Received on Tuesday, 6 November 2001 12:18:44 UTC

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