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Ethics and money Re: UK Businesses Reject Accessible Web Sites

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 19:33:50 -0600 (CST)
Message-ID: <55414.203.51.172.252.1103938430.squirrel@203.51.172.252>
To: "Andy Heath" <a.k.heath@shu.ac.uk>
Cc: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@sidar.org>, "John Colby" <john.colby@uce.ac.uk>, "David Woolley" <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

<quote who="Andy Heath">

> It seems to me that peace is always cheaper than war!
>
> Unless of course you are a general or an arms
> maker.
...

Yes. This is an important point - some people are.

> What happened to ethical reasons for doing stuff ?
> What happened to being decent to people and
> not trying to screw them ?
...
> Having a world where everyone can join in is
> something worth having.  Arguing about cost
> is deception ;-).

Actually my interest in Accessibility has quite a lot ot do with the fact
that it is frustrating to me to have a communications technology that
doesn't communicate.

Other people are interested because it seems like the right thing to do,
and others still are interested because there is money in it. (The
development cost for producing WCAG 2 will be in the millions by the time
you calculate the paid time people have put in, to say nothing of unpaid
volunteer time spent on it).

For many use cases, not to talk honestly about costs is deception, since
they have to decide where to put the money they have. I think that people
often don't talk honestly about it (you should read the opinions of the
Australian Human Rights Tribunal about their professional judgement on the
"honesty" of the developers of Sydney's Olympics website... :-) on both
sides of the debate - most often through ignorance.

A fully costed analysis of accessibility (cost to implement, savings made,
new revenue generated) is an extremely rare beast, and I have never seen
one that is public. The closest we get are some statements about some
costs or benefits of some project or other.

So long as this is the case, those who argue (based on no real strong
evidence) that accessibility costs a great deal can keep doing so in the
face of general statements that it doesn't cost much, which are not
themselves supported by the sort of evidence that scientists (even social
scientists) would be keen to accept - let alone the kind of evidence that
accountants tend to demand.

Cheers

Chaals
Received on Saturday, 25 December 2004 01:35:00 GMT

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