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RE: Washington Post editoral: Claims Against Common Sense

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 20:42:40 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: Shawn Denny <Shawn_Denny@wpi.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 06:09 p.m. 11/17/98 -0500, Shawn Denny wrote:
>I'm not sure you can say that the ammount of effort to make a site is
>minimal if the purpose of the site isn't just to provide public information.
>I realize that in this particular case, that is true. This was a public
>information site.

Actually, no, I feel I _can_ say that.  The amount of effort is
minimal, especially compared to the cost of things such as Java,
complex graphics, and so on.

Compared to the overall cost of a major site, accessibility concerns
are minimal.

Heck, compared to the overall cost of a TINY site, they're still

>Every advertiser does what is called
>"cutting loses" or aims it's message at "target audiences". It's very common
>if not required in a capitalist economy. Thus for a large business to
>accomodate it's site to what it may determine is a small demographic, COULD
>mean the loss of business if it has to use a text based site instead of
>Macromedia Flash ( an extreme example ). With a limited budget for Web
>development, which site do they choose to spend their money on? If you have
>two sites that have equally compelling substance, but one is jazzed up with
>visualized information that supports that content or makes it more readily
>accessible to the sighted, which is more cost effective or more business
>saavy to have?

Uhm, how about one that is jazzed up with visualized information
that supports the content AND is readily accessible to everyone?

The choice is not "something that looks good" vs "something the
blind can use".  The choice is "something that looks good" vs.
"something that looks good, that the blind can use too".

_My_ business sense tells me that if I can get the latter for a
miminal cost -- which I can -- why not?  Especially since it provides
a wealth of other benefits, including accessibility via older
browsers, advanced non-graphical interfaces to the web, and better
processing by automated info-sifting programs.

>It isn't as simple as changing one tag to
>another. It's changing one whole mindset to another. It takes good planning.
>It takes good design.

Gosh, how dare we expect GOOD DESIGN from people who are designing
our hundred thousand dollar website!  How dare we expect them to know
how to make the web work correctly!  After all, we're not hiring them
for their expertise!

My point?  There are so many other aspects of web design that ALSO
require good skills at design, and planning.  This is not an "optional"
package, an add-on skill for the web designer -- anyone who calls
herself a web author and is getting paid for it should be at least
at this level!

What you're saying is sorta like saying, "Well, yes, being a doctor
does require that you know anatomy, but really, it's a bit much to
expect your surgeon to know THAT."

(Note:  I'm not arguing with you -- I'm arguing with the arguments
you present.  They're "common sense", they're ubiquitous -- but they're

Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>             http://www.idyllmtn.com/~kynn/
Chief Technologist & Co-Owner, Idyll Mountain Internet; Fullerton, California
Enroll now for web accessibility with HTML 4.0!   http://www.hwg.org/classes/
The voice of the future?   http://www.hwg.org/opcenter/w3c/voicebrowsers.html
Received on Tuesday, 17 November 1998 23:48:33 UTC

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