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Re: context and Raspberries

From: Chris Maden <crism@oreilly.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 21:52:11 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199811180252.VAA01810@ruby.ora.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
[Kynn Bartlett]
> Okay, then who will correct the fact that the web is being designed
> to exclude an entire class of people?  Or is that simply an "okay
> thing"?

It is absolutely NO-kay.

But the Raspberry editorial provides an interesting starting point.
Let's assume that Mr. R., on his own time, has set up a home page
collecting his opinions about access for persons with disabilities.
This site will undoubtedly be of interest to those very people.

Now Mr. R. is clearly under the impression that a site can either be
attractive or accessible.  Let's assume he wants an attractive Web
site.  Which is more likely to result in his site being accessible:
  (a) a law saying he must make it so; or
  (b) widely disseminated information illustrating that his perceived
      dichotomy is a false one?

Now, given his track record, maybe someone would sue him over its
inaccessibility.  That would be pretty funny.  But it's possible that
the ADA doesn't apply to personal sites, or to non-"essential" sites
like the IMDB (at least before it was bought by Amazon.com) or the
Lyrics Server.  It certainly doesn't apply to the Lyrics Server
itself, which is hosted in Switzerland.

I realize that the choice isn't strictly binary; efforts can be made
both towards legislation and education.  But resources spent towards
one aren't spent on the other.  And more importantly, the government's
resources towards legislation and enforcement have to come from
somewhere.  Higher taxes?  Laxer enforcement of physical plant access
laws?  Less money for federal highway repair?  More borrowing from
Social Security?

I think the benefit derived from educational efforts is likely to be
so much vastly higher than from legislative efforts, especially on the
international scale, that all or nearly all of our effort should be
spent in that direction.  Play up the "curb-cut" philosphy: access
does not mean only access to persons with disabilities, but to search
engines, home browsers with slow links, etc.  This message *does*
work, but it takes time and effort to grind it out.

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Received on Tuesday, 17 November 1998 21:52:49 UTC

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