Re: Judging Web Site Accessibility

On Fri, 27 Jun 2003, Kynn Bartlett wrote:

> On Friday, June 27, 2003, at 07:57 AM, Tim Roberts wrote:
> > Can I rephrase the question to say, do you think that for a site that  
> > promotes
> > accessible web content the job is good enough?
> I don't know for sure.

that's easy to answer, if "I" can use the site and get the information I
want/need then it is good enough, if "I" cannont use the site or get the
information I need/want then it isn't good enough

the problem of course is when there is more than one "I" 
> One point I have been making recently, when dealing with students in
> my class, is that it's not my job -- as an apparent "expert" -- to
> tell other people what to do.
> Rather, it's my job as an _educator_ to give people the information
> they need in order to decide what to do.
> Thus, if someone asks me, "which should I do, (a) or (b)?", I'll
> strive to see that they understand the consequences of each choice
> and the implications and costs associated with those choices.

and this is as it should be for an educator

and your example below is a very good one...but  unfortunately
accessibility is rarely a winner in cost benefit equations with the
stereotype assumptions made about people with disabilities being the
determining factors

so there is also that part of the education equation, that there is
"value" not just in compliance, but in accessibility


> There are a number of factors which are involved in any decision
> regarding the accessibility of a site, ranging from internal
> politics to technical considerations; from legal requirements to
> business return-on-investment analyses.  Without having those
> factors available to me, I couldn't advise properly.
> For example, let's say that someone publishes a Web site which
> doesn't fully meet WCAG 1.0 -- the first question to ask is
> why?  The second question is "how can this be changed?" and
> that involves a deeper understanding of what's going on.
> Let's say, hypothetically, that a given organization champions
> Web accessibility, but their Web site isn't so hot by modern
> standards of Web design.  First we have to determine why.
> Since this is hypothetical, let's assume the answer is, "Because
> we have a limited budget and so we did it in-house.  Our Web
> developer is not a professional developer and so her skills
> aren't as good as some people's skills.  She learned HTML
> a few years ago by reading a book, and maintains a Web site
> for her knitting club as a hobby."
> Okay, so that's the "why." Now for the "how" -- there are a
> number of possible solutions.  The easiest is to insist that
> the poor designer be replaced -- but that's easy to say, and
> hard to do in practice, as we're talking about someone's job.
> Next we might say "hire an outside agency to develop the
> site" -- but the reason this hypothetical organization had
> our poor designer create the site is because of money concerns.
> Maybe they're cash-strapped, and the majority of their money
> goes to other services -- so when prioritizing, it was
> determined that it's okay for their site to be "just okay."
> Maybe we could solve the problem by educating the Web
> developer.  The direct cost could be lower ($80 each for a
> few IWA/HWG classes, $40 each for a couple books, etc.) but
> there's also a time cost.  Can our developer spare the time
> from her other duties to take the time out for classes?  Can
> the Web site be delayed for the time -- from a few days to
> several months -- necessary for her to become skilled?
> Okay, so maybe you can answer some of those questions -- it's
> easy, sitting back and criticizing, saying "they didn't do it
> right."  It's harder, of course, to write out a hefty check to
> a charity [e.g., 1] so that they could potentially hire a better
> Web developer.
> But my point is this:  The state of any given Web site's
> accessibility may be far more complex than simply looking at the
> site and deciding that it "passes" or doesn't.  I am particularly
> concerned with the notion that sites -must- be forced/shamed into
> meeting a specific standard publicly debated by "experts" -- who
> may have no particular knowledge of the design factors around
> the site.
> I don't know if the site is "good enough" -- by what standards are
> you suggesting we judge them?  My personal opinion?
> --Kynn
> [1]  
> public_appeal.hcsp
> --
> Kynn Bartlett <>           
> Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain      
> Author, CSS in 24 Hours             
> Inland Anti-Empire Blog            
> Shock & Awe Blog                 

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Received on Friday, 27 June 2003 13:13:25 UTC