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From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 15:40:05 +1000 (EST)
To: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980528152839.26952C-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>

On Wed, 27 May 1998, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
> Reason #1:
> Technical implementation issues should not be decided at the
> presidential/CEO level based on reasons of politics, in my 
> opinion.  Clinton's knowledge of HTML and the issues around
> accessible web design is likely nil or less.
> Specific technical issues should be addressed by trained
> technical staff with expertise in that field, taking their
> direction from the leadership, but not having exacting policy
> dictated by a lofty and ignorant leader who can be swayed
> by the latest polls or snazzy presentation.

Trained technical staff with expertise in the field is what the WAI 
groups are. We are not perfect, but nor is Clinton the perfect President, 
or Bill Gates the greatest imaginable CEO. We have to work with what we have
> KB
> Reason #2:
> Those guidelines are in a state of flux.  Indeed the Guidelines
> themselves state that they are not to be considered a "solid 
> base" of any sort.  Requiring people to follow a "standard" that
> does not exist as such and is not yet settled on is a bad thing.
This is the real reason. Adherence to the Guidelines is a good first test 
of a website, but does not actually guarantee Accessibility. The reason 
why these sort of issues are decided by common law rather than statute in 
Australia is because there are too many grey areas to frame satisfactory 
legislation. Certainly reference to the guidelines can be made to answer 
certain questions, but the document is not, and probably should not, be a 
part of legislation. On the other hand I would applaud companies stating 
it as policy that they should adhere to the guidelines, since there is 
not the same possibilty of recourse to legal sanction which may be 
erroneously applied through ignorance or inadequacy of the guidelines.

> KB:
> Reason #3:
> Our core audience doesn't have a browser that supports the WAI
> guidelines.
> Reason #4:
> We make our material available in other formats besides the web,
> thus we are in compliance with ADA without needing to do the work
> you claim is required.
> Reason #5:
> Following these guidelines will add half-again the time on to the
> development of our web pages, and thus will increase by 50% the
> expense of producing materials on the web for us.
> Reason #6:
> We have invested heavily in a particular web design tool which all
> of our users are trained in and know how to operate; while it does
> not produce the code you want it to, we are pleased with it and
> are unwilling to spend the money to switch.
> Reason #7:
> We don't have the expertise needed to do this currently; thus we
> would have to send our people out for training or hire contractors
> to do this; we don't have the finances now to support what you
> suggest, and can't justify the cost based on the projected benefits.

None of these are actual reasons why William's idea is bad, just 
arguments which will be produced in an attempt to stymie it.

The answer CAN be as simple as somebody with authority saying 'make it 
so' which will provide the impetus for accessibility to become a major 
issue, ahead of the decision between animated flames and bouncing balls 
as the best decoration for a page. As we all understand, from being a 
major issue to successful implementation is a long road, but there is 
nothing in principle wrong with a push-start along that road.

Charles McCathieNevile
Sunrise Research Laboratory
RMIT University
Received on Thursday, 28 May 1998 02:00:06 UTC

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