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RE: Media - Suit Over Airlines' Web Sites Tests Bounds of ADA

From: Michael R. Burks <mburks952@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 13:09:38 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "Cynthia Waddell" <cynthia.waddell@icdri.org>
Message-ID: <NEBBJFEIALPLCLHAPJAIKEBEJAAA.mburks952@worldnet.att.net>

And the short version of this is best put in the Words of Cynthia Waddell,

"Technology Changes, Civil Rights do not."  I think that is pretty close.
you can find her works at: http://www.icdri.org/CynthiaW/cynthia_waddell.htm

Regardless of how this turns out is anyone naive enough to think people with
disabilities are going away?

Does anyone thing for one moment that just because technology changes it
should not have to be accessible?

Folks, this is the excuse that is being used to take away your rights every
day of the year, I suggest those of you who think this is going to disappear
look at the more general issues if people's rights and technology.

Soon a goodly number of people in the US and world will be older citizens,
things don t work too well when you get older...The smart companies are
addressing this now, not later.  The older citizens in the U. S. control
most of the money...annoy them at your risk.  Soon there will not be enough
younger citizens in the U S and the world to fill the positions, guess what?
We are back to the older citizens who have a very good chance of being
disabled.  These are facts, not fantasies and the companies who do not
address these issues will be long gone.

So here it to the courts and the companies that do not want to to address
these issues and who want to perpuate the discrimination...soon you will be
in the minority, then what do you do?

LOL  There is an ancient curse that says "May you live in Interesting
times!"  That is where those who do not address these issues are headed in
my opinion.

A good place to start is the book 1984 by George Orwell.


Mike Burks

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Andrew McFarland
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 12:35 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Media - Suit Over Airlines' Web Sites Tests Bounds of ADA

At 00:48 08/10/02 +0900, Shashank Tripathi wrote:
>Ditto for the web, because you would need some additional effort
>(however significant, or not, that may be) to maintain a website that
>caters to different groups.

This is, in general, not true.

A website that is standards complaint and follows the WAI guidelines will,
in general, be easier to develop and easier to maintain than a
non-standards inaccessible one. Some authoring tools and techniques may
make it easier to develop a non-standard, inaccessible website, but it will
almost always be a maintenance nightmare.

Certainly the costs involved in making a website accessible are slight when
compared to the costs involved with making several `resolutions' of
newspaper. IANAL, but I suspect only reasonable extra cost is required.
Most cinemas in Belfast have spent a small amount of money to allow
quadriplegic visitors to watch films. I don't know of any that have spent
the huge amount of money required to mean quadriplegic visitors can easily
use any seat in the building. I suspect most people, quadriplegic visitors
included, would agree that is fair.

>The number of groups of people based on
>certain characteristics, handicaps for instance, is limitless.

There will always be people to whom a particular website is inaccessible.
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't have to think about making it as
accessible as possible.

If I have a building, I can easily make that accessible to most people in
wheelchairs by adding a ramp to the front door, and if I have a public
building I have a responsibility to do that. By adding a ramp people in
wheelchairs can get in and out of the building themselves. There is no way
I can make the building accessible to, for example, my Aunt, who is almost
completely paralyzed from the neck down. Even with a ramp she would need
assistance getting in and out.

The fact that the building cannot be made accessible to my Aunt does not
mean I don't have to make it accessible to ordinary wheelchair users.

A well written HTML document is an abstract representation of some
information. I can never make that information accessible to someone who is
unable to understand that information. However, a well written HTML
document will be accessible to anyone who can understand that information,
because it can be transformed into a format that suits their needs. A badly
written HTML document cannot be transformed - at worst it may even be tied
to one specific display system. If it can't be transformed then it cannot
be accessed by some.

The fact that some people will never be able to understand the information
in a document does not mean I don't have to make it accessible to everyone
- particularly as making it accessible is (usually) cheap and easy.

>Failure to cater to a certain group does not and should not be construed
>as discrimination.

What is discrimination?

>There would be different copies of the paper, just like versions of a
>website. The arthritis folk would buy and read the version that suited
>them best. So this argument does not hold water.

The beauty of the web - and generalized markup - is that you don't have to
produce two versions of the paper. You just produce one, and then it
automatically adapts to the needs of the user. An accessible website
doesn't represent an increase in cost or inconvenience for anyone, except,
possibly, some additional development time.

When dealing with printed paper, the end user has no control, and so the
printer has to produce several versions, considerably increasing the cost
and inconvenience. The additional cost never goes away.

Received on Monday, 7 October 2002 13:12:26 UTC

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