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Re: Working Group Decision on ISSUE-31 / ISSUE-80 validation survey

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 13:23:54 -0700
Cc: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <357A42E5-873F-4144-BD89-E7B6E0F1D1B6@apple.com>
To: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com>

<chair hat off>

On Apr 22, 2011, at 12:29 PM, Aryeh Gregor wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 9:59 PM, John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu> wrote:
>> I wonder aloud if representatives of companies such as Microsoft, Apple,
>> IBM, Oracle, etc. would concur with that statement. I wonder too how Google
>> feels about this position today with regard to their already significant
>> investment into Googledocs, and the recent problems they are facing there?
> I have no idea.  I can only speak from my own experience.  Clearly
> some companies invest significant resources in some types of
> accessibility.  However, I'm still fairly sure that *most* companies
> do not include disabled users in routine testing or QA (keeping in
> mind that most companies are quite small).  Undoubtedly some do,
> especially for extremely large, widely-used, extensively-tested
> products like an operating system, but a typical smaller product has
> little enough formal testing of any kind.  Take that assessment for
> whatever you feel it's worth.

Just to provide some context on how one big company thinks of this:

At Apple, we consider it important to make our software accessible to a wide range of users. Some of the reasons accessibility is important to us:

(1) We think it's the right thing to do. We want to make computing usable for everyone.
(2) For sales to the federal government, many state and local governments, and many corporations, procurement rules require meeting certain minimum accessibility standards. Section 508 defines a set of standards that apply to the US federal government for instance: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_508_Amendment_to_the_Rehabilitation_Act_of_1973>
(3) Legislation may directly require support for accommodations for the disabled. One example is the Americans with Disabilities Act; case law indicates that a website may be considered a public accommodation for purposes of the ADA.

For almost any large corporation, (2) and (3) will be important considerations, regardless of how they feel about (1). For Apple at least, we seek to do more than the bare minimum. Our goal is to surprise and delight all users, including those with disabilities.

Consistent with these goals we:
- Ship integrated assistive technologies, such as the widely praised VoiceOver screen reader for Mac OS X and iOS.
- Have both internal and external testing of accessibility affordances in the OS.
- Give accessibility bugs significant priority. For example, a serious accessibility regression would qualify to be a showstopper-level bug, just like a serious regression in the mainstream UI.

I realize that things may be different for a smaller company or a volunteer-driven open source project. However, I wanted to give an example of how large corporations may see these issues.


Received on Friday, 22 April 2011 20:24:32 UTC

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