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Re: URGENT: Help

From: Francisco Godinho <f.godinho@mail.telepac.pt>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 14:02:19 +0100
To: "Marti" <marti47@MEDIAONE.NET>, "WAI Interest Group" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: <biagi@micropower.com.br>, "Francisco Antonio Soeltl" <fsoeltl@micropower.com.br>
Message-ID: <01bed50b$98be08a0$58b541c2@Host.telepac.pt>
Hello Marti,

The Portuguese law about web accessibility is based on the text of the
Petition for the Accessibility of the Portuguese Internet and could be
more or less like this (I don't know the legislation text):

It is mandatory that all administration websites ensure accessibility for
citizens with special needs namely people with disabilities and elderly.

This accessibility should allow
a) the interaction with the information system without requiring vision,
pointing devices, precise movements or simultaneous actions;
b) the understanding of information and navigation by audio, tactile and
visual means.

An international Web Accessibility Symbol should be affixed in the homepage.

There will be a grace period for full implementation perhaps as much as two
years. All new sites or sites being redeveloped will be required to comply

[End of the legislation]

Last month the Portuguese Parliament related this issue with the physical
access law:

"In a way, the proposals formulated in this petition are followed of the
same principles that are in the base of the existing legislation regarding
the elimination of physical barriers to the people with disabilities,
specifically the law n. 123/97, of 22nd May, recently approved by the
Government, which endorses the adoption of a set of technical rules to
eliminate the architectonic barriers in public buildings, collective
equipment and ways to provide better accessibility to people with
conditioned mobility. In fact, the digital barriers which we are discussing
are only another dimension of the same accessibility problem to the public
services of people with special needs, and so it deserves an adequate

But here they are talking about principles not  how hard/easy is to
implement this.

Two months ago I sent an email to the Minister of  Science and Technology
asking him to search the information at Ministry Science and Technology
website without images. Well, the first page was full of images without any
alternative text. In the same day he ask to the webmaster to fix this. This
was an happy and easy task and now I think that he believe that web
accessibility is not rocket science. But he is a special Minister.
I can't wait similar behavior of other Government members.

Regards and thank you for your help

Francisco Godinho
Co-coordinator of the Petition for the Accessibility of the Portuguese
PASIG - Portuguese Accessibility Special Interest Group

-----Original Message-----
From: Marti <marti47@MEDIAONE.NET>
To: Francisco Godinho <f.godinho@mail.telepac.pt>; WAI Interest Group
Date: Sexta-feira, 23 de Julho de 1999 12:31
Subject: Re: URGENT: Help

I don't know much about accessibility law in Portugal but it is often
helpful if you relate things like this to physical access law which people
seem to understand better.  Curb-cuts are a great example! They do cost more
to install and a retrofit is even worse but the benefits have turned out to
be great, far beyond the wheelchair access it was meant for.  I don't think
we really know how far reaching accessible web design will be but I think we
can safely predict that it will be useful for other emerging technologies
such as telephone web access.
Another good point is that "retrofit" is always more expensive so the sooner
new web design meets the criteria the less retrofit, i.e. less expense.

-----Original Message-----
From: Francisco Godinho <f.godinho@mail.telepac.pt>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Date: Friday, July 23, 1999 7:04 AM
Subject: URGENT: Help

>Dear friends,
>The Portuguese law about web accessibility is ready to be
>approved or rejected by the Government in few days.
>This law, in Portugal, could be very important to
>web accessibility in Europe and Brazil.
>However, there is one question that is crucial for the decision:
>Some members of the Government think that
>accessible web authoring is expensive and difficult.
>I have 24 hours to summarize some arguments
>(one page) to overcome this lack of information.
>I would be grateful if you could help me today.
>In the W3C/WAI FAQs, I  found some arguments:
>9. Does it cost more to make a site accessible?
>Designing a new site to be accessible should not add significantly to
>development cost. Some aspects of accessibility, such as use of style
>sheets, can actually reduce the costs of maintaining or updating sites, and
>this benefit should increase over time as style sheets are more evenly
>implemented in browsers and available as an authoring strategy in authoring
>For existing sites, the ease or difficulty of making sites accessible
>depends on a variety of factors, including the size of a site, the
>complexity of a site, and the authoring tool that was used to make a site.
>Periodic upgrades or reviews of sites can be good opportunities to review
>the accessibility of sites. When compared with the broader audience that a
>site is available to, and the greater usability for other users as well,
>accessible sites can be cost-effective.
>I think that I need more arguments.
>Should I alert for the production's cost of alternative formats
>like braille or audio tapes  ?
>Thank you for your help
>Francisco Godinho
>Co-coordinator of the Petition for the Accessibility of the Portuguese
>PASIG - Portuguese Accessibility Special Interest Group
Received on Friday, 23 July 1999 09:06:03 UTC

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