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Testing costs Re: accessible banking

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 01:25:25 +0100
To: Kurt_Mattes@bankone.com, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <opslurgnofw5l938@saturne>

Kurt is right that testing this stuff costs money. Training development  
staff so they can do it themselves, while a money saver in the long term  
(because they develop stuff with far fewer and less serious errors), also  
costs money.

My one experience with a multinational, multi-faceted financial  
institution suggested that this cost might be as much as several tens of  
thousands for a handful of western european languages, if you can get the  
relevant developers into one place cheaply - things like having  
multilingual staff can make a huge difference to the price.

I think the suggestion that 100 pages should be tested is probably about  
right - some of that is tool testing, and looking at how real staff  
actually put content on the web, which is crucial in dealing with  
accessibility in any large organisation.

For the case I was dealing with (dozens of languages) if it had been  
followed through worldwide I would have expected something like a hundred  
thousand Euros needed to be spent for a reasonable result - mostly on the  
costs of having existing staff learning things.

On the other hand, we are talking about a massive piece of infrastructure  
costing millions. In the scope of such a project, this is not a lot of  
money (compare it, for example, with the costs of retrofitting a few  
hundred offices worldwide, providing each with ramps and wheelchair access  
throughout, a braille printer and occasional use of a sign language  
interpreter). In can also be largely offset - the company in question has  
a legal obligation to provide some kind of training or other to a lot of  
its staff, and this expenditure would qualify in meeting that target.

It is also the case that attitude is important. The actual results  
achieved in the pilot project were the result of spending a very small  
amount of money (several thousand) and a few key people taking an  
interest. I expect this to be of more long term value than a large  
investment (although the results at this stage are not nearly as good as  
one would expect from a serious commitment across the company).

I agree that the cost tends to stop many from taking it on, but I think in  
large part this is based on ignorance or "FUD" as much as on a real  
analysis of costs and benefits. On the other hand, there is still a dearth  
of information available to the public that provides real-world analyses  
of cost and benefit as examples, so decision makers still don't have a lot  
to go on. So currently, decisions to undertake the work also tend to be  
leaps of faith, or the result of real commitment to accessibility (for  
whatever reason).

If anyone has real figures that they can publish, providing detailed  
examples of cost, benefit, and what contributed to each of these, I would  
love to know about them.



On Mon, 7 Feb 2005 14:49:12 -0500, <Kurt_Mattes@bankone.com> wrote:

> Misstating the cost involved in testing for accessibility does little to
> promote the cause.  It is a real cost, a significant cost, a cost I
> have found tends to stop many before they even begin to attempt making  
> their
> site accessible.  Leading readers of this list to believe otherwise  
> undermines
> credibility.

Charles McCathieNevile - Vice Presidente - Fundacion Sidar
charles@sidar.org                      http://www.sidar.org
     (chaals is available for consulting at the moment)
Received on Tuesday, 8 February 2005 00:32:49 UTC

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