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Re: OFF TOPIC - Shame on Google

From: Joachim Andersson <joachim.andersson@etu.se>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 15:50:36 +0200
Message-ID: <a92e08980809040650l319355e5qc592f7d58c82a02@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Harry Loots" <harry.loots@ieee.org>
Cc: "James Craig" <jcraig@apple.com>, "John Foliot" <foliot@wats.ca>, "wai-ig list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "wai-xtech@w3.org WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, webaim-forum@list.webaim.org
I find this interesting, due to earlier discussions with Google staff on web
accessibility. Looking at Google development there are many applications
that do not follow W3C recommendations on web accessibility. For example,
Gmail, Google Earth, Google Docs and so on.
But one needs to look at why. Google is one of the largest companies in the
world. Making a small web application accessible to all is one thing. Making
all Google applications accessible to all, now that is a whole different
deal. I am sure Google do their best to make it possible for people to use
their applications/services. It would be rather strange if they weren't,
wouldn't you say?

On the other hand, Google seems to be in the line of fire here, and none of
the other giants are even mentioned. Are we to interpret this as a sign of
Microsoft, Adobe and other giants to be better at this job? I'd say that it
would be a mistake. Many companies are developing applications that are not
at all accessible for all users. Both Microsoft and Adobe are quite good
examples. But I do not see the point in picking on these companies. Wouldn't
it be a better idea to contact them suggesting a solution?

Best regards,

Joachim Andersson
Web Accessibility Specialist



2008/9/3 Harry Loots <harry.loots@ieee.org>

>
> > 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.
>
> whether nitpicking, off-topic whatever...
>
> When was Google elevated to status of beyond reproach?
>
> If it was Microsoft being criticised would you have defended them in the
> same
> manner?
>
>
> I work for a large corporate, and i can assure you that errors like this
> does
> not reside with one person only. It was careless, and that's the end of it.
>
> Regards
> Harry
>
> ~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~
>  We do not inherit the Earth from our Parents-
>  We are simply Borrowing it from our Children!
> ~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~
>
>
> ---------- Original Message -----------
> From: James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
> To: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
> Sent: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 11:46:33 -0700
> Subject: Re: OFF TOPIC - Shame on Google
>
> > 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.
> ------- End of Original Message -------
>
>
>
Received on Thursday, 4 September 2008 13:51:16 GMT

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