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

From: John Foliot - bytown internet <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 16:24:11 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, <sub@shanx.com>
Message-ID: <GKEFJJEKDDIMBHJOGLENGEGFCMAA.foliot@bytowninternet.com>

discrimination - "the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating
categorically rather than individually" (Mirriam Webster Collegiate
Dictonary)

Currently, the New York Times is available in both Large Print and Braille -
not all of it but large portions thereof
(http://www.dlapr.lib.az.us/braille/periodicals.htm).  The point is, they at
least attempt to service a minority market, maybe not equally, but at least
the effort is there.  But when a web site, either through choice or lack of
knowledge (ignorance is not an excuse in law) fails to make their content
accessible then they are actively discriminating against a segment of the
population.  The news article indicated that user fares were less when
booked on-line (I do not know if that is true); if that is the case, and the
site is inaccessible to a segment of the population with no other way of
achieving that savings, then there is (to me anyway) discrimination taking
place.

The W3C and certain portions of the internet community have been talking
about accessibility and the importance of the topic for years now (The WCAG
was made a W3C Recommendation May 5,1999).  Various governments (including
the USA and Canada) have passed laws mandating accessible web sites and yet
where are we today?  Three and a half years later, if 80% of the content on
the web was even half-way accessible I'd say wait a minute, but that is
hardly the case.  Most web content today is even less accessible than it was
5 years ago.  Other voices on this list have already addressed the fact that
creating accessible content is actually valuable from a business
perspective, and that standards compliant code is not that hard to maintain,
so I won't re-hash those threads.  But dispite good business sense, a wealth
of information on how to acheive the goal, and an emerging group of tools to
aid developers in the task, we appear to be spinning our wheels.  If
litigation is going to move the topic forward and actually make industry sit
up and take notice then I say let's go! Money talks, Bovine Effluent
walks....

Shanx, accessible web sites go far beyond making them available to "every
Joe with a handicap and his dog" (a poor choice of words by the way - it's a
*TAD* insensitive).  Accessibility means available to all users, regardless
of the technology they may be using.  Bloated Flash intensive sites with
locked down fonts, grey text on black backgrounds, "mission critical"
functions which rely on JavaScript, and all the other hooey we see every day
is inaccessible to large portions of the population, not just those with
visible handicaps. It's seniors, children, users who's first language is not
the mother tongue of the web site, it's people in rural areas with poor
dial-up connections or under funded schools and libraries with pre-1995
technolgies (Wow! a 486 with a 14" monitor and a 14.4 baud modem!)  These
people deserve to have access to the internet and it's content as well.  Yet
too often *designers* "publish" visually based material with absolutely no
concept of what they are doing, and with little care to the barriers they
CREATE through inaction or ignorance.  The suits in the front office think
of the web as just some fancy advertising medium, half way between magazines
and television, and expect things to "look" a certain way with little
understanding of what this medium really is (and what it is all about).
They need a wake up call, and a court challenge may be just the ticket.

I for one salute the challenge, and hope they win big time!

JF



> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
> Behalf Of Shashank Tripathi
> Sent: October 7, 2002 11:38 AM
> To: 'Harry Woodrow'; 'Graham Oliver'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Media - Suit Over Airlines' Web Sites Tests Bounds of ADA
>
>
>
> Hi Harry,
>
> I would be the first one to empathize with a handicapped group, but what
> exactly is discrimination in this case? I don't see anyone hassling NYT
> (to follow my earlier example) to print two different copies of the
> paper.
>
> Shanx
>
>
>     | -----Original Message-----
>     | From: Harry Woodrow [mailto:harrry@email.com]
>     | Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 11:34 PM
>     | To: 'Shashank Tripathi'; 'Graham Oliver'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>     | Subject: RE: Media - Suit Over Airlines' Web Sites Tests
>     | Bounds of ADA
>     |
>     |
>     | Yes but Discrimination is even more ridiculous.
>     |
>     | Harry Woodrow
>     |
>
Received on Monday, 7 October 2002 16:24:33 GMT

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