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RE: Commercial Realities and Accessibility (was: Are Small Text butto ns level 2 compliant)

From: Ben Morris <bmorris@activematter.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 14:26:06 -0400
To: "William Loughborough" <love26@gorge.net>, "Dave J Woolley" <david.woolley@bts.co.uk>, "'WAI'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NEBBJJFGELAFJNCPAOABIEEFCAAA.bmorris@activematter.com>
In my experience creating web sites for companies and organizations, I have
found that most people are ignorant (by no fault of thier own) to the needs
of many useres of the web.  People picture it as a visual medium.

I do believe however that the future will be brighter because of several

One is that creating accessible content is something that can be sold as a
product, and that web design firms (like my employer) will begin to push.
This isn't a purely selfless act, as it will add another product to the
package, and more money to the price tag.  It can also be an easy sell to
clients, because who doesn't have a friend or loved one with some sort of

The other factor is that most large scale sites are template driven,
especially those made by my company.  The beauty there is that you can make
several versions of the site by changing just one template page.  So with
one set of content, you can have versions of the site for slow modems,
screen readers, large print, or printer-friendly pages.

- Ben Morris
  Active Matter

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of William Loughborough
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2000 2:09 PM
To: Dave J Woolley; 'WAI'
Subject: Re: Commercial Realities and Accessibility (was: Are Small Text
butto ns level 2 compliant)

At 06:40 PM 9/26/00 +0100, Dave  J Woolley wrote:
>I find the person
>         on this list with the signature that says accessibility
>         is a right is being totally commercially naive.

That's me, Bro. Naive. However, the bill hasn't been presented yet for the
current transgressions. The legal advice that Dow and Philip Morris had in
the 30s came back to haunt them when the payouts almost bankrupted the
former and are a huge nudge on the latter. IBM will experience similar
problems if they continue failing to heed that "naive" signature when such
things as the Bruce Maguire matter evolve further. Programmers are cheaper
than lawyers and the SOCOG spent more on legal "expertise" in
cross-examining Jutta than would have been spent making the Olympics site

The "business case" is not a simplistic "last 20%" of the potential
clients' issue. The probability of an "accessibility impact study" similar
to the "environmental impact study" that was almost surely the result of a
book by Rachel Carson about 60 years ago is very real and to pretend that
there is some "market force" that isn't made entirely possible only because
of "rule of law" issues is what's really "naive".

I have been watching the world for a very long time and I'm more amused
than offended by the notion that I'm "totally commerciallly naive" simply
because my objectivity is still with me. The objections to providing
accessibility are based almost entirely on bigotry and fear of disabilities
(which are inevitable for all of us), not on pragmatics. Most of the
mainstream culture wants to retain blind folks as pity objects and it shows.

Received on Tuesday, 26 September 2000 14:26:03 UTC

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