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RE: Disability statistics

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 20:23:20 -0500 (EST)
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
cc: <mburks952@worldnet.att.net>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0112162019380.26451-100000@tux.w3.org>
I don't believe that we can rely on a business case. (Although I don't know.
We all have a lot of ideas about what the figures would be, but I don't see
much in the way of actual research - maybe it IS a compelling argument in
more than a few isolated cases).

I do think it is useful to be able to demonstrate that there is a return on
accessibility investment, and I think it is important to know if there isn't.

(Regulation is just the other side of government subsidiy, in the same way
that fines for driving too fast are a bit like voluntary taxation. The
government creates financial sticks and carrots, in a democratic country to
express the will of the people in a business case, and in a real country to
express the will of the government).



On Sun, 16 Dec 2001, Kynn Bartlett wrote:

  At 1:56 PM -0500 12/16/01, Michael R. Burks wrote:
  >This sounds like - "We don't need any ramps or accessible rest
  >rooms, no people in wheel chairs come here!"  or "We don't need any
  >TTY's no deaf people ever call us!"

  No, it sounds like legitimate market research, which is what people on
  this list are inexplicably championing as a "good thing" for accessibility.

  It's _not_.  Relying on a business case is bad because except for very
  isolated cases, it's almost never a good idea to support a disabled
  group of consumers, from a purely financial standpoint.  Without, say,
  government subsidies, it's way too expensive to spend the money to make
  your services (building, web site, whatever) accessible in return for
  the amount of investment you get back.

  Which is why we need to look at the arguments of justice and ethics
  and morality as being more compelling -- if "we" (the W3C WAI) are
  going to look at them at all.  (Frankly, I think we need a separate
  organization for activism, as I believe the W3C is ill-suited for the
  advocacy role in addition to the technical role.)


Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Sunday, 16 December 2001 20:23:23 UTC

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