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

From: Nissen, Dan E <Dan.Nissen@UNISYS.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 17:50:12 -0500
Message-ID: <FC86023944FB1F48943B3B1CED11E0FC8217B0@USRV-EXCH2.na.uis.unisys.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

I am trying to see the differences that make it a requirement to make a
"accessible" website for an airline and does not require the New York Times
to provide a newspaper for those same people.

The reason that you see so little attention to the disabled by business is
that the market is miniscule and most of the disabled do not have the income
to buy most of the goods and services of the society.  A startlingly large
percentage of blind people do not have jobs.  This fact is why many
retailers focus on other groups.  And, the lack of accommodation may be a
cause of the unemployment.  This makes it harsh to say you don't have to

Another point not addressed in this message stream seems to be the
accommodation part of the ADA.  You aren't required to provide exactly the
same solution for the disabled as for the non-disabled.  For instance, the
company can provide someone to type in the data for the disabled where they
allow their non-disabled to write in a form.  Only one stall in a bathroom
needs to be accessible, not all.  Perhaps only the telephone service from
the airlines is required.

In any case, and more pertinent to this forum, I am very concerned with the
tone that implies it is trivial to provide a fully accessible web site.  I
do not believe this to be the case, after watching this forum for a number
of months and seeing many discussions terminate without a clear answer as to
how to assure that your website does what all people answering here ask you
to do.  Do I use a LABEL or a TITLE?  Must I test with 25 or 150 different
versions of browsers?  How many client operating systems must I support and
test browsers on?  Which screen readers, etc. must I try my site on?  It is
clear that if you don't test it, it probably doesn't work.  And, bugs in all
the software are appearing regularly, requiring workarounds, because this
forum does not seem to believe that users should have to upgrade their
browsers. I think this is a difficult area to get right.  I think we need to
define a standard and allow people to require usage of browsers that follow
some standard when talking about accessibility.  I'm not sure the standard
is yet done, but it appears a lot closer than the browsers that follow it.
And, many people want to use the free OS and the free browser that is not
compatible with the standard, it seems.

When I deal with the decision makers in my company and say we need to follow
Section 508, they ask for the details.  Exactly when do we have to follow
it, and what do we do to assure ourselves that we have followed it?  It
appears we don't have definitive answers, really.  What is the economic
impact of not following it?  What will it cost to follow it?  I am
definitely having problems answering those questions, and I am sure others
are also.  In my case, it has resulted in a lower priority for
accessibility, because it is such a vague requirement.

Comments solicited.


-----Original Message-----
From: RUST Randal [mailto:RRust@COVANSYS.com]
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 9:47 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Media - Suit Over Airlines' Web Sites Tests Bounds of ADA

> Shanx:
> Wonder why no one has ever sued NYT or IHT for the small 
> print in their newspapers. Suddenly, the Internet and all the 
> Bobby and accessibility jazz that is bandied about so 
> liberally has encouraged every Joe with a handicap and his 
> dog to scrounge for some sympathy. But suing is ridiculous. 
> Perhaps an education in customized CSS or VIEW --> TEXT SIDE 
> is in order. 

> Harry Woodrow:
> Yes but Discrimination is even more ridiculous.

> Andrew McFarland:
> There is an important difference between print and the web.

Harry and Andrew are both on the mark.  Web and print are different, though
similar mediums.  And accessibility isn't /bandied about/ in the U.S. as
much as some of us would like.  In fact, if you go beyond Web design circles
and outside of the public sector, no one really seems to care if their Web
site is accessible.  I wish that this were not the case, but it seems just

Received on Monday, 7 October 2002 18:50:18 UTC

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