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Accessibility and safety-critical software

From: Myhill, Carl S (GE Energy) <carl.myhill@ps.ge.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 06:59:57 -0400
Message-ID: <77937C4D1E55444394B9863223A0BA217FFAAF@frborx07psge.geips.ge.com>
To: W3C WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Hi All,

Firstly, please forgive my ignorance on this topic, which I'm not even sure
how to ask about.

Personally, I think accessibility should be a primary consideration in
software design, particularly on the web. So, legislation moving us in that
direction has my vote. I work hard to make my own website accessible (though
it's not actually that hard, just a bit of learning needed).

However, is there a category of software which has some kind of exemption
from accessibility legislation? For example, I would asssume that an air
traffic control system would not need to be made accessible. Is that
correct? Can anyone point me to regulations on such things? Or provide any
other kind of insight?

I once met someone who designed control systems for nuclear power stations
(nothing to do with my current employer!). I was surprised she used red and
green in the UI to indicate state. With 10% of men being colour blind this
is not something I would have expected. But she told me people working there
were not able to be colour blind, staff selection precluded it. The same
things happen in other jobs I think, fighter pilots are selected as those
with great eyesight; snipers are selected on the basis of them BEING colour
blind (apparently).

Anyhow, so what is the deal with software like this which perhaps doesnt
make sense to be made accessible to all?

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide on this.

Carl
Received on Friday, 15 April 2005 10:55:24 GMT

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