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Re: SPAM(6.0) Re: SPAM(6.0) Re: OFF TOPIC - Shame on Google

From: Joachim Andersson <joachim.andersson@etu.se>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 20:17:53 +0200
Message-ID: <a92e08980809041117w44d914c9n3dc86ee8cdf4e9bc@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Accessys@smart.net" <accessys@smart.net>
Cc: "Harry Loots" <harry.loots@ieee.org>, "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
If someone hit me in the face I would think twice about making an effort to
help him, wouldn't you? I'm from Sweden. The country where everyone's
complaining, noone's doing anything about things and the complaints lining
up.
In my line of work I meet many people with disabilities of all kinds, who
are very competent and they're doing a great job working with web
accessibility and solutions to help others. But these people are those that
don't march and such. They have found other, more effective ways of reaching
their goals.

I realize the importance of marching and so on, but 1975 is another time
than 2008. In Sweden, Canada and the United States there are laws on how
accessibility should be a part of development. In Canada and the United
States there is Section 508, demanding that public service web content
should conform to WAI recommendations and in Sweden we have laws pointing at
UN resolutions on human rights, including information on every persons right
to access and understand information. And there is progress, wouldn't you
say?

I ask myself, if it's possible to get Swedish authorities to make these
changes, is it not possible to make companies like those mentioned to do the
same? After all, they all talk about sales and market share. The largest
customer to Microsoft in Sweden is without a doubt public sector (including
schools, hospitals, authorities and many more). The Swedish law is about to
change. There will be higher standards, more demands on authorities
buying IT solutions in the future. They will not be allowed to chose a
solution that does not provide any and all citizens to work in that
environment, and to understand the outcome of it. So, in a way one could say
that Microsoft will not be selling anything to Swedish authorities if they
do not take action in both Windows, Office, IE8 and many other applications.
So what are the alternatives, you might ask. Well, Linux Ubuntu is climbing
so to speak. In this operating system there are built-in screen readers,
magnifying software and much more. Well, there are such programs in Windows
too, but they do not give the users what they really need. It's more of
"showing that they care" than good functionality. Ubuntu also has Mozilla
Firefox built in, which is one of the web browsers trying to conform to W3C
standards. There is still much to ask from an alternative like this, but
with these leagal changes in Sweden this will surely be an alternative.

Again, I think providing these giant companies with information on how to
solve a problem is the right way to do it. If we do that often enough, they
will eventually have to answer, or am I wrong?

In fact, the first time I contacted Google I emediately got an answer from
Ian Hickson, telling me that they were going to look in to it. They haven't
reached that goal yet, but I am sure they're working on it. Ian Hickson is
also part of W3C HTML 5 Working Group, so conformance to web standards is
most certainly something he has in mind.

Never the less, I understand the need for people to march and sue, to make a
difference. It truely  works wonders in the United States. Globally I think
we have to find other ways though.

Joachim Andersson

2008/9/4 Accessys@smart.net <accessys@smart.net>

>
> many disability groups follow the carrot and stick approach, people
> ofcolor asked to ride nicely for many years, and got nowhere so they
> bocotted and marched and sued and many other things before they got
> anywhere.
>
> people with disabilities including wheelchair users were required to
> be served by public  transit as early as 1975, but there was little if
> any service, so folks in wheelchairs sued and sat in front of buses
> and chained themselves to buses etc. finally in 1990 the ADA  was
> passed that included among other things the requirement to make buses
> accessible, and people said "you could have asked nicely" they did for
> 15 years and kept getting told next year,  now there is transit. how
> long has there been an ADA, how long has there been a WWW, this should
> be a non issue except for the attitude of "they don't matter" and
> we'll get a "roundtuit"  unless there is presure and laws nothing
> seemms to ever happen in the USA.
>  Was in Japan a few years ago and most things were accessible or
> getting there, I asked to see a copy of  their law and they looked at
> me funny. they had standards on how to do it, but at the time no law
> requiring it (I believe there is now an actual law) However while the
> entire country was becoming accessible it was still rare to see a
> person with a disability out using the stuff. again culture not law.
>
> Bob
>
>
>
>
> On Thu, 4 Sep 2008, Joachim Andersson wrote:
>
> > I couldn't agree with you more Bob! Doing what I do, I always end up
> > promoting web standards as something that we must conform to, not
> something
> > we can chose to follow to be kind to a small amount of people with
> special
> > needs.
> > As you point out, the other companies I mention are under preasure. But
> the
> > fact remains. There is no point in building up anger over something in a
> > forum like this, if in this case Google are not part of the discussion. I
> > totally agree that Google, Microsoft, Adobe and many others are to take
> this
> > seriously, and I'm not sure that they do. When talking to Google staff I
> > have noticed that the interest for W3C conformance is not a primary
> topic.
> > Conformance to WCAG was not even an issue at the time. It is reasonable
> to
> > say that it's correct to point out that these services and applications
> need
> > to be accessible, but I find this to be the wrong way of doing it.
> >
> > In my work with web accessibility I have noticed that people with
> > disabilities often take aim at some company and hit them with a sledge
> > hammer. It could be a long list of names and another list of demands.
> This
> > has never been an effective way of reaching good results. A much better
> way
> > is to search for a way of cooperating. What can we do to help Google
> become
> > accessible to all? What can we do to help Microsoft build IE8 according
> to
> > W3C standards? What can we do to help Adobe get Flash to work with screen
> > readers?
> >
> > I remember an old american president saying "Ask not what your country
> could
> > do for you, ask what you can do for your country". This is more of a way
> to
> > solve the problem as I see it. I am sure there are hundreds if not
> thousands
> > of clever minds here with a solution in mind. We need to find the
> solution
> > and provide it to those who need it (Google, Microsoft, Adobe and many
> > others). This way we can do something good for the Internet and its
> future.
> >
> > Joachim Andersson
> >
> > 2008/9/4 Accessys@smart.net <accessys@smart.net>
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > Google is the current target I guess or maybe it just came to the
> > > fore. but be assured that MS and Adobe are also under significant
> > > presure.
> > >
> > > allowing one company to flaunt the standards of the W3C because they
> > > are "big" totally defeats the purpose of the concept of
> > > standardization. and a few years of this and there will not be a WWW
> > > but a Google web and a MS web and an Adobe web etc ad nauseum.  it
> > > would be the end of the web as we know it.
> > >
> > > Bob
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, 4 Sep 2008, Joachim Andersson wrote:
> > >
> > > > 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 -------
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > -
> > > end
> > > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> > > occasionally a true patriot must defend his country from its'
> government
> > >
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> > > "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
> > > safety deserve Neither liberty nor safety",    Benjamin Franklin
> > > -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
> -
> > >   ASCII Ribbon Campaign. . . . . . . . . . . . accessBob
> > >   .NO HTML/PDF/RTF/MIME in e-mail. . . . . . .
> accessys@smartnospam.net
> > >   .NO MSWord docs in e-mail . . . .. . . . . . Access Systems,
> engineers
> > >   .NO attachments in e-mail, .*LINUX powered*. access is a civil right
> > >
> > >
> *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#
> > > THIS message and any attachments are CONFIDENTIAL and may be
> > > privileged.  They are intended ONLY for the individual or entity named
> > >
> > >
> >
>
> -
> end
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> occasionally a true patriot must defend his country from its' government
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
> safety deserve Neither liberty nor safety",    Benjamin Franklin
> -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
>   ASCII Ribbon Campaign. . . . . . . . . . . . accessBob
>   .NO HTML/PDF/RTF/MIME in e-mail. . . . . . . accessys@smartnospam.net
>   .NO MSWord docs in e-mail . . . .. . . . . . Access Systems, engineers
>   .NO attachments in e-mail, .*LINUX powered*. access is a civil right
>
> *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#
> THIS message and any attachments are CONFIDENTIAL and may be
> privileged.  They are intended ONLY for the individual or entity named
>
>
Received on Thursday, 4 September 2008 18:18:36 GMT

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