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From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 23:25:51 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Cc: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 03:40 p.m. 05/28/98 +1000, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>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.
>Trained technical staff with expertise in the field is what the WAI 
>groups are.

Yes, but not everyone has access to the WAI groups.  The average
company cannot simply expect to have you or me at their beck
and call; I, for one, don't come _that_ cheaply, even for things
I believe in. :)

>> KB
>> Reason #2:
>> Those guidelines are in a state of flux.
>This is the real reason. Adherence to the Guidelines is a good first test 
>of a website, but does not actually guarantee Accessibility.

We are in agreement here.

>> 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.

Not a reason why it's _bad_, but a reason why it's unrealistic.
All of the above are very real business decisions, made for perfectly
legitimate reasons within some company, government, or other
organization by the people whose job it is to make those

As much as you or I may want this to be a priority for everyone,
it simply _won't_ be the number one priority for most people.  They
have different goals, different objectives, and it is not the
place of a bunch of mostly-academic very smart web geeks working
with the W3C to make those business decisions for them.

>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.

That's all it takes?  I doubt it.  It's one thing to expect
accessibility before bouncing balls; it's another to demand that
it be the HIGHEST priority, and to expect companies to value it
as much we do and invest a great deal of time and money into
making it so.

Question for you:  How many millions of dollars should the U.S.
government spend on this project, were Bill Clinton to simply
say "make it so"?  Do you have any idea?  How many man-hours (or
woman-hours!), training courses, new software, contractors, and
whatever else would have to be paid for?

You and I may be able to sit back and say "well, hey, it's worth
it, because accessibility is Good" -- but it's not our money (less
yours than mine, even, since I pay U.S. taxes :) ) -- and we're
not the ones who have to prioritize a budget.

So, I'm not saying the idea is a bad one in principle.  I'm all
for it, theoretically.  But practically and realistically, it
isn't nearly as easy as just finding the right World Leader to
make a speech and order people around; accessibility is not
free.  It will cost someone something to do.  If we're not the
ones paying the cost, I don't believe we have the right to decide
that the cost is worth it.

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@hwg.org>
Vice President, Marketing and Outreach, HTML Writers Guild
Education & Outreach working group member, Web Accessibility Initiative
Received on Thursday, 28 May 1998 02:18:51 UTC

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