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RE: Mr. Munat's comments

From: jt <tobias@inclusive.com>
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 1999 07:16:13 -0500
To: <uaccess-l@trace.wisc.edu>, <uaccess-l@tracecenter.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000601be37dc$05a84840$0500a8c0@tobias.monmouth.com>
I'm glad Charles has taken the time and the courage
to present us with his opinions on web access, and I
also hope that we are in for an extended and polite
discussion of them. His openness and geniality should
guide his respondents.

I agree with almost everything he says, and whatever
I don't specifically agree with, I see as an eloquent
statement of the business perspective on web access,
and universal design in general.

Leaving aside the legal and ethical motivations to
improve access, and focusing only on the commercial
motivations, brings us to a difficult but important 
point. We must admit that as soon as we open the door
to commercial considerations, the decision to add 
access features or not puts access in competition
with all other activities people within the company 
are lobbting for.  Everyone has a pet project, and
everyone uses all the available arguments to promote

Even if we just focus on websites, and assume that
a company has a certain amount of time and money
to spend on "improving" it, they must still decide
which "improvement" will get them the most "bang for
the buck" ("poder para el peso?"). Not just whether
a given improvement will pay off, but which will pay
off the most.

Most web access advocates consider the job done when
they prove that adding web access features can be
cost-effective.  But companies (and individuals) make 
decisions on whether an investment is cost-efficient.

This rapidly boils down to a recognition that those we
seek to influence look at the issue differently than
access advocates do.  If we choose to focus only on
having corporate webweavers undergo "conversion 
experiences," we will be stuck with Mr. Munat's
first and third complaints: condescension and in-

Luckily, most of us recognize that what we need to do
on the motivational front is to show what can be done
easily (especially what other companies have done),
and to continue to argue the "additional benefits" to
non-disabled users by specific examples that are
relevant to our audience.

I hope this makes sense and advances the discussion.


Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
732.441.0831 v/tty
732.441.0832 fax
Received on Monday, 4 January 1999 07:15:41 UTC

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