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Re: The second thing I don't like about the WAI-IG list

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sat, 02 Jan 1999 16:15:54 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <coder@acnet.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 05:37 p.m. 01/02/99 -0600, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>The second thing that I don't like about this list is
>another common piece of propaganda. This is the
>"accessibility is about more than just accessibility for
>people with disabilities" thread. Hold it! Hold it! Don't
>reach for that reply button yet, hear me out. [...]
>OK, go for the reply button. I'm braced.

Read the whole thing.

I still don't agree with you on this. :)

Part of the problem here is that when you make it "an
ethical thing" to support accessibility, you lose the fight.
Because businesspeople _will_ make it a business decision,
and frankly, the majority of people out there DON'T want to
make things accessible to the disabled.  It's the natural
state of people to be cruel and heartless to the disabled,
because people (in general) suck.

Accessibility _is_ about more than letting a blind person
look at your web page.  If you try to sell it on the strength
of "be good to the blind", you won't get very far.

However, you _can_ make a stronger case for accessibility
concerns by pointing out that it's not just "those stupid
cripples who want, of all things, the right to 'see' something
on a computer screen! (why, next thing you know, deaf people
will be demanding the right to use radios!)"

Accessibility is about making the web usable by everyone, be
that someone in a car, on a phone, on a crappy computer from
the 1980s, in a foreign country, on the moon, or even someone
who's unable to see.  Sell the benefits of access to _everyone_
and it's a much better sale than saying "hey, I'll tell you
what, I'll break the HTML, thus guaranteeing fewer people can
use your site, but hey, it'll save you money!"  Any business
person who buys that will go out of business soon!

In short, I think you're a bit idealistic to think you can sell
accessibility on the premise that people will "do the right
thing" because they're ethical.  Especially since it's not the
only benefit of accessibility.

Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                   http://www.kynn.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet      http://www.idyllmtn.com/
Design an accessible web site:                http://www.kynn.com/+fedweb
Tell your friend a celebrity wrote to you:      http://www.kynn.com/+imdb
Enroll now for my online CSS course!             http://www.kynn.com/+css
Received on Saturday, 2 January 1999 19:19:59 UTC

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