Thread Subject: Re: Fundamental Alteration.
This archival content is maintained by WebAIM and NCDAE on behalf of TEITAC and the U.S. Access Board . Additional details on the updates to section 508 and section 255 can be found at the Access Board web site.
From: Gregg Vanderheiden
Date: Wed, Apr 04 2007 2:30 PM
- Return to this mailing list's archives
- View all messages in this thread
- Next message in thread: Hoffman, Allen: "Re: Fundamental Alteration."
- Previous message in thread: Jim Tobias: "Re: Fundamental Alteration."
- Messages sorted by: Author | Thread | Date
My response wasn't written well.
I was responding to the comment
> A vendor of an IP voice telecom system (VoIP) or federal
> agency might consider this requirement a fundamental
> alteration, requiring 2 additional functions (text and video)
> from a system intended only to deliver voice telephony.
And saying that this was a good point. But pointing out that although some
have argued that adding text to a VoIP phone was a fundamental alteration in
itself, it wouldn't be a fundamental alteration if it didn't fundamentally
alter the phone in some other way (besides just adding text)
In my discussion I was assuming (but did not say) that the phone had a
display on it (and the provision I wrote was limited to those phones that
did). And if outbound text was desired, that the phone also already had a
way to generate text (even if double press on numberpad).
As Jim pointed out, building a full keyboard into a phone that was not
designed for one would be a fundamental alteration. But requiring phones
that already have displays to display text that was received (thus allowing
the large number of late deafened adults who can speak to use the phones)
should not be considered a fundamental alteration.
That is, if adding access would not fundamentally alter (in a negative way)
either the voice functionality or the form factor or price range, etc of the
phone then it would not be a fundamental alteration of the phone to add text
just because it didn't do text before.
That is all I was trying to say.
That it was clear from 255 that adding an access function (in this case
text) to a product wouldn't be a fundamental alteration in itself if it had
no other consequences. Doing/ supporting text would have to require some
other fundamental alteration in order to be blocked by this. Fundamentally
changing voice communication, fundamentally changing the form factor of the
product, fundamentally changing the price range of the product would all be
fundamental alterations, and if adding text required them then fundamental
alteration might block adding text. But minus any other required
fundamental alteration - adding text itself would not be a fundamental
Changes in software were also mentioned below.
The fact that adding access would require changes in the software of the
product or the network etc should also not automatically be considered a
fundamental alteration since most accessibility features would require one
of these. Such changes in software would of course be if a change to
software fundamentally changed the original functionality (negatively) or
price range etc.
I hope this is clearer.
If there are any questions on this though - we should get some really good
clear language from the access board to use since 'Fundamental Alteration'
is such a key term for us to understand - and not one that we get to
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of
> Jim Tobias
> Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 8:36 AM
> To: 'TEITAC Subpart A Subcommittee'; 'TEITAC
> Telecommunications Subcommittee'
> Subject: Re: [teitac-telecom] [teitac-subparta] Fundamental
> Gregg wrote:
> > 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.
> Gregg wrote:
> > 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 telephony, but it would alter the product.
> For example, you would have to have a keyboard (or at least a
> keyboard port), a display (or at least a display port), and
> the hardware and software to handle text input and display
> output. And that's only the change to the desktop unit --
> the server/PBX would also have to be modified to handle the
> text traffic.
> Gregg wrote:
> > 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.
> Gregg wrote:
> > But simply the fact of adding text and voice should not be
> > 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.