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Re: Accessibility and safety-critical software

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 09:27:09 -0400
Message-ID: <009501c541be$d3b0faf0$a201a8c0@deque.local>
To: "Myhill, Carl S \(GE Energy\)" <carl.myhill@ps.ge.com>, "W3C WAI-IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hello Carl,

In the U.S. Sec 508 of the Rehabilitation Act  spells out accessibility  requirements  for the federal sector's electronic and IT facilities. You could get some guidance there. 
One of  the exception  is :
 1194.3 General exceptions:

(a) This part does not apply to any electronic and information technology operated by agencies, the function, operation, or use of which involves intelligence
activities, cryptologic activities related to national security, command and control of military forces, equipment that is an integral part of a weapon
or weapons system, or systems which are critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions. Systems which are critical to the direct
fulfillment of military or intelligence missions do not include a system that is to be used for routine administrative and business applications (including
payroll, finance, logistics, and personnel management applications).

Sailesh Panchang
Senior Accessibility Engineer 
Deque Systems,11180  Sunrise Valley Drive, 
4th Floor, Reston VA 20191
Tel: 703-225-0380 Extension 105 
E-mail: sailesh.panchang@deque.com
Fax: 703-225-0387
* Look up <http://www.deque.com> *

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Myhill, Carl S (GE Energy) 
  To: W3C WAI-IG 
  Sent: Friday, April 15, 2005 6:59 AM
  Subject: Accessibility and safety-critical software

  Hi All,

  Firstly, please forgive my ignorance on this topic, which I'm not even sure
  how to ask about.

  Personally, I think accessibility should be a primary consideration in
  software design, particularly on the web. So, legislation moving us in that
  direction has my vote. I work hard to make my own website accessible (though
  it's not actually that hard, just a bit of learning needed).

  However, is there a category of software which has some kind of exemption
  from accessibility legislation? For example, I would asssume that an air
  traffic control system would not need to be made accessible. Is that
  correct? Can anyone point me to regulations on such things? Or provide any
  other kind of insight?

  I once met someone who designed control systems for nuclear power stations
  (nothing to do with my current employer!). I was surprised she used red and
  green in the UI to indicate state. With 10% of men being colour blind this
  is not something I would have expected. But she told me people working there
  were not able to be colour blind, staff selection precluded it. The same
  things happen in other jobs I think, fighter pilots are selected as those
  with great eyesight; snipers are selected on the basis of them BEING colour
  blind (apparently).

  Anyhow, so what is the deal with software like this which perhaps doesnt
  make sense to be made accessible to all?

  Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide on this.

Received on Friday, 15 April 2005 13:32:41 UTC

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