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RE: Legal requirements RE: statistics

From: Denise Wood <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 21:11:39 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <3C3F9C88@operamail.com>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Cynthia Waddell [mailto:Cynthia.Waddell@psinetcs.com]
> Mr. White makes an excellent point.  The primary reason for
> accessible web
> design is to enable the broadest range of users to reach the
> content of the
> website.  Laws protecting the rights of individuals with
> disabilities to
> access this content have come about because barriers have
> prevented this
> protected class from participating in the benefits of the
> Internet.

Simon, I agree with your comment that it is "...a shame that we have the need 
for this kind of legislation when we are all human beings, not something to be 
labelled." I doubt any one contributing to this discussion would regard 
legislation as the primary reason that a web site should be accessible.

However, as Cynthia points out, we need legislation because barriers still 
exist that prevent some people from accessing Web sites. Regrettably, many of 
the arguments used to support the case for Web accessibility (such as the 
human rights arguments, the business arguments, and the universal design 
arguments) have failed to convince companies and organizations. That is why we 
often do need to fall back on legislation to present the most compelling case 
for Web accessibility. However, even then, test cases such as the Bruce 
Lindsay Maguire v Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games case fail 
to achieve the desired change in attitude/behavior. For example, many of you 
will recall the posting by Mike Burks in October last year when he suggested 
people review the Salt Lake Olympic site which at that time also demonstrated 
accessibility problems.So the Salt Lake Web site organizing committee and 
developers had obviously not taken heed of the precedent set in relation to 
the Sydney Olympic Web site.

From my experience, citing legislation, and even better, referring to specific 
test cases does at least get people to listen. Convincing them to act is 
another issue. My preferred approach is to to refer to legislation within the 
context of an overall presentation on why Web sites should be accessible. Such 
a presentation presents all of the compelling arguments without ignoring the 
primary focus being that every person has a right to access information and 
participate regardless of disability, socio-economic circumstances and their 
geographical location. At the end of the day though, I believe that in many 
cases, the most compelling argument for many companies will be the legislative 
implications arising from failure to make their Web site accessible.


Dr Denise L Wood
Lecturer: Professional Development (online teaching and learning)
University of South Australia
CE Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Ph:    (61 8) 8302 2172 / (61 8) 8302 4472 (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
Fax:  (61 8) 8302 2363 / (61 8) 8302 4390
Mob: (0413 648 260)

Email:	Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au
WWW:	http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?Name=Denise.Wood
Received on Friday, 11 January 2002 21:12:11 UTC

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