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Re: Disability statistics

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 11:57:01 -0800
Message-Id: <a05101000b842ab7c4b0b@[]>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>, David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 7:04 AM -0500 12/16/01, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>More particularly, it is that the benefit of accessibility to
>the bottom line is often simple to get and very good return on investment -
>accountants might not know that, but will be interested in it if it can be
>backed up.

If this were the case then accessibility would be the standard, not
the exception.  The return on investment -- by which we typically
mean "how much more money you make from selling to disabled people
over the cost of retrofitting a site" -- is not "very good".  It
can't be "backed up" because it's simply not true.  There are much
better ways to spend your money to improve your bottom line than
making a web site accessible to a tiny fraction of users.

Plus, the big danger here is that even if you could POSSIBLY prove
that there are some audiences which there is a benefit -- even if
the numbers were "well, okay, if we spend $12,000 this year we
can get $20,000 extra in business from blind folks" -- then you
are subjecting the whole process to the same kind of scrutiny.

What if it doesn't make good business sense to enable access by
the cognitively disabled?  What if their market value is far less
than the market value of highly educated, computer-using, white
blind people?  Do you only target the latter audience and ignore
the cognitively disabled one?  What if your market research shows
you that the cost of valid HTML isn't worth it, but the cost of
ALT text is?

Do we really want to reduce accessibility compliance to a simple
business transaction?  I hope not -- but that's what the business
model rationale does.  It makes an unsupportable claim -- "you
will make more money if you take accessibility into consideration!"
-- and it certifies the notion that accessibility should be based
on whether or not it's financially lucrative to pursue certain

I think the better argument is the "it's right" one.  People who
are blind, people who are cognitively disabled, people who are
deaf, people who are unable to use a keyboard or a mouse -- those
people deserve access to my content for the same reason anyone
else does, not just because I am hoping they have a wad of
cash and I can get to that untapped market.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire          http://kynn.com/resume
January Web Accessibility eCourse           http://kynn.com/+d201
Received on Sunday, 16 December 2001 15:14:01 UTC

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