W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 2004

RE: UK Businesses Reject Accessible Web Sites

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 18:31:44 -0600 (CST)
Message-ID: <55348.>
To: "John Colby" <John.Colby@uce.ac.uk>
Cc: "David Woolley" <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Hmm. Maybe this is a problem. I have worked with at least one of the 
comapnies named in the article, and have found there is often an attitude
based on risk management - "assuming it costs a lot to do the work, it
seems cheaper to do a bit of this PR stuff and let the lawyers handle
problems that arise".

So long as people with disabilities are not prepared to follow up on real
problems (and there are sensible practical reasons for it) that strategy
might seem sensible. But my experience was different - that the total cost
of work required was not actually high. It cost less than the management
meetings required to approve it. And the cost in following through a
complaint is mostly time. Making company lawyers use their time on this
can easily change the economics of the equation in favour of getting some
decent accessibility implemented. (The lesson of the Maguire v SOCOG case
wasn't the 20,000 dollar payout. SOCOG would have spent a great deal more
on the court case...)

While it is true that there is currently not enough recognition of what is
an acceptable baseline, nor clear enough information on what meeting that
baseline really means, there is enough inforamtion around in the industry
that this seems to be substantially part of a strategy on the part of
companies who are looking for a way around providing access to all. As
such, it is extemely disappointing - especially when you note that this is
only the most financially successful companies, who are in a position to
actually show some leadership.



Charles McCathieNevile           charles@sidar.org

<quote who="John Colby">
> Biggest problem is that as yet ther's no case law in the UK - the two
> cases brought in July 2003 were settled out of court

> 	-----Original Message-----
> 	There was an article in The Register today:
> 	<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/12/23/plcs_hit_back_at_complaints_on_accessibility/>
> 	that is about a committee of major UK companies who have basically said:
>  1) they believe that providing phone access excuses them from making
>  web sites accessible;
> 2) the cost of fixing all their myriads of inaccessible pages would be
> excessive;
> 3) if the law wants to force them to make web sites accessible, it must be
> explicit guidelines.
Received on Friday, 24 December 2004 00:32:20 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 20:36:23 UTC