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Re: OFF TOPIC - Shame on Google

From: James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 11:46:33 -0700
To: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Message-Id: <0C5A1E6F-4D00-4CE9-9727-F5E953AF8828@apple.com>
Cc: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "wai-xtech@w3.org WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, webaim-forum@list.webaim.org

John Foliot wrote:

> the fact remains that sometime prior to
> today *somebody* should have said "...what about text equivalents  
> for these
> images?"

Agreed.

> This time is was not meant to be either - it was a pure play "shame  
> on you"
> statement, which is one of the reasons why I also labeled the  
> posting as OFF
> TOPIC.  I was mad, sad and frustrated, and said so to a community that
> shares in a common goal of improved web accessibility - it was not a
> technical question or statement, and was not meant to be - it was  
> very much
> off topic.

I don't think it was off topic, I just think it was nitpicking on a  
detail. While I do admit that I reacted more strongly because I  
initially thought you were referring to the product rather than the  
marketing piece, I stand by my defense that this is likely one  
person's mistake, instead of something that should bring shame on  
Google as a whole. There is other documentation after all, and  
yesterday I didn't even find the comic book with a search. The results  
for "Google Chrome" came up with the download info and text  
documentation pages.

> No, Google dropped the ball in a very big way here, and if my  
> commentary
> comes across as too strident or "nit-picky" then I am sorry, but  
> Google (the
> corporate entity) deserves to be shamed here. You mention that I  
> know a
> number of people at Google who know and care about accessibility,  
> but this
> gaff transcends individuals and speaks to a corporate culture, not  
> only at
> Google, but at many large organizations - it's lip-service to  
> accessibility
> and disabled rights - how else could something this important be so  
> ignored
> when push comes to shove?

Corporate culture is still determined by individuals. I struggle with  
the same kind of apathy, and in my experience, shaming tactics make  
people recoil into a defensive stance rather than open up to the  
possibility of needed and worthwhile change. When companies are on the  
defensive from external attacks, it undermines the efforts of  
individuals attempting to persuade from the inside.

It's easy to forget how inaccessible (as a whole) Google was just four  
or five years ago. The reason it has come so far is not because of  
external shaming, but because of the hard work of people on the inside.

> Given that Google probably has the original script supplied to Scott
> McCloud, we can only surmise that it would have taken a Google web  
> developer
> even less time to do what Simon did.  They didn't, and for that I  
> cry "For
> shame!"

I'll concede that point, and perhaps this time the shame worked.  
Jonathan Chetwynd just mentioned, "Google's already looking into  
improving the accessibility of the web version of the comic." I would,  
however, encourage you to use shame as a last resort; used too often,  
it will its effectiveness.

Cheers,
James

PS. Removed the GAWDS list from the CC because I'm no longer a member  
and it was bouncing.
Received on Wednesday, 3 September 2008 18:47:16 GMT

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