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Re: Judging Web Site Accessibility

From: Tim Roberts <tim@wiseguysonly.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 19:10:28 +0200
Message-ID: <3EFC7A84.6080802@wiseguysonly.com>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
CC: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Once again, good point.

But I guess at the end of a day it cannot be judged by anyone. I think a 
better way is to help with useful comments. I think you and I both try 
do this Kynn, and I know we both do more accessibility work for love 
than the sort which lines our pockets.

I really was interested, because the RNIB site was quite a bit off the 
mark and I think they realise that. They do after-all welcome comments. 
So lets not judge, lets maybe help.

Tim

Kynn Bartlett wrote:

>
> On Friday, June 27, 2003, at 07:57 AM, Tim Roberts wrote:
>
>> Can I rephrase the question to say, do you think that for a site 
>> that  promotes
>> accessible web content the job is good enough?
>
>
> I don't know for sure.
>
> One point I have been making recently, when dealing with students in
> my class, is that it's not my job -- as an apparent "expert" -- to
> tell other people what to do.
>
> Rather, it's my job as an _educator_ to give people the information
> they need in order to decide what to do.
>
> Thus, if someone asks me, "which should I do, (a) or (b)?", I'll
> strive to see that they understand the consequences of each choice
> and the implications and costs associated with those choices.
>
> There are a number of factors which are involved in any decision
> regarding the accessibility of a site, ranging from internal
> politics to technical considerations; from legal requirements to
> business return-on-investment analyses.  Without having those
> factors available to me, I couldn't advise properly.
>
> For example, let's say that someone publishes a Web site which
> doesn't fully meet WCAG 1.0 -- the first question to ask is
> why?  The second question is "how can this be changed?" and
> that involves a deeper understanding of what's going on.
>
> Let's say, hypothetically, that a given organization champions
> Web accessibility, but their Web site isn't so hot by modern
> standards of Web design.  First we have to determine why.
> Since this is hypothetical, let's assume the answer is, "Because
> we have a limited budget and so we did it in-house.  Our Web
> developer is not a professional developer and so her skills
> aren't as good as some people's skills.  She learned HTML
> a few years ago by reading a book, and maintains a Web site
> for her knitting club as a hobby."
>
> Okay, so that's the "why." Now for the "how" -- there are a
> number of possible solutions.  The easiest is to insist that
> the poor designer be replaced -- but that's easy to say, and
> hard to do in practice, as we're talking about someone's job.
>
> Next we might say "hire an outside agency to develop the
> site" -- but the reason this hypothetical organization had
> our poor designer create the site is because of money concerns.
> Maybe they're cash-strapped, and the majority of their money
> goes to other services -- so when prioritizing, it was
> determined that it's okay for their site to be "just okay."
>
> Maybe we could solve the problem by educating the Web
> developer.  The direct cost could be lower ($80 each for a
> few IWA/HWG classes, $40 each for a couple books, etc.) but
> there's also a time cost.  Can our developer spare the time
> from her other duties to take the time out for classes?  Can
> the Web site be delayed for the time -- from a few days to
> several months -- necessary for her to become skilled?
>
> Okay, so maybe you can answer some of those questions -- it's
> easy, sitting back and criticizing, saying "they didn't do it
> right."  It's harder, of course, to write out a hefty check to
> a charity [e.g., 1] so that they could potentially hire a better
> Web developer.
>
> But my point is this:  The state of any given Web site's
> accessibility may be far more complex than simply looking at the
> site and deciding that it "passes" or doesn't.  I am particularly
> concerned with the notion that sites -must- be forced/shamed into
> meeting a specific standard publicly debated by "experts" -- who
> may have no particular knowledge of the design factors around
> the site.
>
> I don't know if the site is "good enough" -- by what standards are
> you suggesting we judge them?  My personal opinion?
>
> --Kynn
>
> [1]  
> http://www.rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/public/documents/publicwebsite/ 
> public_appeal.hcsp
> -- 
> Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
> Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
> Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
> Inland Anti-Empire Blog                      http://blog.kynn.com/iae
> Shock & Awe Blog                           http://blog.kynn.com/shock
>
>
Received on Friday, 27 June 2003 13:08:23 GMT

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