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RE: Decorators with keyboards

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 10:27:45 -0400
To: "Julia Collins" <julia@we3.co.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

> It's about education. We are learning all the time, and we have to be
> positive and pro-active.

Proverbial nail on the head.  All too often "accessibility" is thought of at
the eleventh hour, as some type of plug-in operation in the development
cycle.  As late as yesterday I was sitting with a senior government official
who had engaged a "designer" on day-one as part of his portal re-make, and
now, 3+ months later is talking about bringing in the accessibility guys.
Sadly, this is very much the norm rather than the exception.

> There has always been a tekkies/luvvies
> divide, but
> really really it's better if we acknowledge each others' skills
> and educate
> and inform one another, seeing the final product as a joint enterprise.

Exactly, but the issue is how to educate those "in charge" to bring the
designer and the developer together on day one.  Very often subtle efforts
have little effect... fear of litigation etc. on the other hand, tends to
get noticed <grin>.  Again, sadly, the client often does not understand the
real needs of their constituents... they have pre-conceived notions (based
on past "established" models such as print and television advertising) of
how their site should look and feel, without bothering to understand this
medium.  (Witness how often people refer to web "publishing"...)

Like any medium, the web has both limitations as well as advantages, but
senior decision makers often do not grasp that (perhaps because they still
use words like "cool"?).  Small ethical shops are pushing the line, and
bringing accessibility into the mix at the front of the process rather than
the end (for example Zeldman and his devotees, or regular members of this
list), but large advertising and marketing firms are often run by managers
who think and act like the senior managers who want "cool", and from a sales
perspective it's easier to give the client what they think they want, rather
than educate the client... they (the ad firms) have large overheads and
profit expectations to deliver, not social engineering education to middle
level managers.

So if mainstream publication "rants" over-simplify the issue for mass market
consumption, then I for one do not take issue with it.  You, being attuned
to the real issues, see through some of the overtly extreme statements and
assertations of the author, but to the uninitiated, they are perhaps only
grasping 50% of the real issue, so exaggeration here does not really hurt.
The article, in it's own way, adds to the education process you advocate in
your thoughts.

>  Does anyone know of anyone who runs seminars on
> accessibility/usability for
> design agencies?  In view of the forthcoming lawsuits, etc, this
> might be a
> good business proposition (as well as endless good karma)?

Sig Lines have a purpose...


John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http://www.wats.ca   1.866.932.4878 (North America)
Received on Friday, 18 July 2003 10:27:53 UTC

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