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RE: Disability statistics

From: Jim Tobias <tobias@inclusive.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 06:10:35 -0500
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <NEBBJIAFILGDABFKCNLHKEJIDMAA.tobias@inclusive.com>
Sorry to weigh in so late, but...

The point of disability statistics is to be able to have
something to say to people who care about market size.  If
we have nothing, then it looks to them as if we don't care 
about the same things they do.  Frankly, aren't you more impressed
if someone not in the accessibility area is able to make a
useful remark about accessibility?  Same thing.  Making organizations
move on accessibility takes multiple messages to multiple internal
constituencies.  Without an internal consensus, large organizations
don't allow us access to their resources and decision processes.

Also, how about honesty as a motivation to talk about numbers?  For
some access changes there is true market justification and for some
there isn't.  When we cover up this fact we look like religious
missionaries at the door, not the plumber.  We want to be the plumber.
Actually, now that I think of that analogy, it's quite apt.  Let's say
that the numbers show that only 1% of users would benefit from a
particular accessibility fix.  Fine.  Wouldn't you fix a leak that
accounts for 1% of your water usage -- about 2 gallons a week (source:
American Water Works Association)?


Jim Tobias, President
Inclusive Technologies
732.441.0831 v/tty

> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
> Behalf Of Kynn Bartlett
> Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2001 11:30 AM
> To: Joe Clark
> Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Disability statistics
> At 04:34 AM 11/3/2001 , Joe Clark wrote:
> >I was reading the remarks about making a business case for 
> accessibility, which I believe flatly cannot be done. It's purely 
> an issue of ethics or legal compliance.
> I think you're right; business cases tend to be very weak and actually
> avoid the issues of people with disabilities ("cell phones!" "search
> engines!") because when you're a minority group, especially one with
> limited means AND obstacles to use, statistics are generally speaking
> not your friend.
> I've heard statistics used as "oh, huh! I never knew that" supporting
> evidence, but I've never seen a web developer or policymaker make a
> change just because the numbers are there.  At best, disability 
> stats are numeric trivia.
> Frankly, I think the argument, "we may end up disabled ourselves and
> be unable to use the Internet we're building" has proven more
> compelling than any sort numbers we can report.
> --Kynn
> --
> Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
> Technical Developer Liaison
> Reef North America
> Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
> ________________________________________
> ________________________________________
> http://www.reef.com
Received on Wednesday, 7 November 2001 05:56:18 UTC

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