Thread Subject: Re: Fundamental Alteration.
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From: Jim Tobias
Date: Wed, Apr 04 2007 7:45 AM
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> It was made clear in the 255 regulations that ADDING
> ACCESSIBILITY is never and should never be considered a
> fundamental alteration - except if it fundamentally altered
> the original function.
I don't see such a statement anywhere in the Section 255 regulations; can
you please cite this?
Here is the text regarding fundamental alteration:
"(d) A fourth factor in making readily achievable assessments is whether the
accessibility solution results in a fundamental alteration of the product.
This factor, derived by extension from the "undue burden" criteria of the
ADA, takes into consideration the effect adding an accessibility feature
might have on a given product. For example, it may not be readily achievable
to add a large display for low vision users to a small pager designed to fit
in a pocket, because making the device significantly larger would be a
fundamental alteration of the device. On the other hand, adding a voice
output may not involve a fundamental alteration and would serve both blind
and low vision users. In addition, adding an infrared port might be readily
achievable and would allow a large-display peripheral device to be coupled
to it. Of course fundamental alteration means a change in the fundamental
characteristic of the product, not merely a cosmetic or esthetic change."
The Access Board's example of the large display on the small pager seems
clear to me: it's a fundamental
alteration because it affects an implicit "fundamental characteristic" of
the product -- its size -- not because it interferes with the function the
pager performs. Size is not the only criterion, of course. The Access
Board's definition only excludes cosmetic or esthetic changes.
> Adding text would not be a fundamental alteration if it
> didn't fundamentally alter the ability to deliver voice
> telephony. Since text requires less bandwidth and since it
> does not interfere with voice it is difficult to see how it
> would fundamentally alter voice telephony.
Adding text may not fundamentally alter how the product delivers voice
but it would alter the product. For example, you would have to have a
(or at least a keyboard port), a display (or at least a display port), and
hardware and software to handle text input and display output. And that's
change to the desktop unit -- the server/PBX would also have to be modified
handle the text traffic.
> Adding video would similarly not be a fundamental alteration
> UNLESS the increased bandwidth required of video
> fundamentally altered the ability to
> transmit voice communication.
Adding video capability to a voice telephony system would also
fundamentally alter it; the desktop unit would require a camera
or camera port, and a display or display port. Additional changes
to the server.
> But simply the fact of adding text and voice should not be
> considered a
> fundamental alteration. This was clear in 255 and if it is
> not clear in
> 508 then we need to be sure that we add text so that it is
> indeed clear.
I agree -- there needs to be a lot more clarity on this.
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