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Re: Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility

From: Michael S Elledge <elledge@msu.edu>
Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2006 17:27:04 -0400
Message-ID: <4501E028.5090609@msu.edu>
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
CC: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org



David Woolley wrote:
>> I am sure that there will be apeal after apeal trying to fight this.  But
>> for now it seems like a great victory.  I just don't understand how so many
>>     
>
> It seems to me to be a major defeat, as it means that no US e-business
> need have an accessible web site, as long as they refrain from operating
> physical retail outlets.  Yet another perceived cost in physical retail
> that is avoided by going online only.
>   
Actually, I don't think that was an issue that was addressed by the 
case. That will likely come in another lawsuit challenging a purely 
online retailer and the need for accessibility.
>   
>> people can have a problem with coding their webpages the correct way.  I
>> mentioned this at work today and got nothing but resistance from everyone
>>     
>
> I think that is because "web designers" see themselves as artists (or
> just possibly marketeers), not as communicators.
>   
It's also because they are under lots of pressure to get things done and 
think of accessibility as extra work that won't benefit very many 
people. Not true, of course, but perceptions rule the day.
>   
>> around, people need to get over the fact that they don't actually do their
>> job correctly, learn the correct way and quit being so defensive about it.
>>     
>
> One of the things that is drilled into creative people in a business is
> that you must never provide value that is not required, as the company
> can always charge extra for it if a customer requires it.  It's part of
> what is called "commercial awareness".
>   
Especially if you're talking about a design firm that provides outside 
services. The same is true for the businesses that hire them; without 
either a legal or financial reason to spend money, the priority is not 
to spend it. In contrast, there is a great deal of interest and support 
for making websites accessible in the university environment, where 
there are designers on staff (sunk cost) and legal, ethical and 
financial reasons to do it.

Mike Elledge
Assistant Director
Usability & Accessibility Center
Michigan State University
>
>   
Received on Friday, 8 September 2006 21:27:07 GMT

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