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Re: ATAG & specified technologies


From: Jared Smith
Date: Nov 7, 2007 5:40AM

On 11/7/07, Alastair Campbell < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> With regards to the UK Governments consultation document on Delivering
> Inclusive Websites
> Many organisations save on sys-admin costs by creating and insisting
> on a particular desktop set-up, which is problematic to accessibility
> in any case, but is often a source of "but that's what we have anyway,
> what's the problem?".
> Is that set-up itself breaking the law?

I can't comment on UK law, but for US government, this is definitely
within the allowances of the law. The key is that the required
platforms and setup must support real accessibility - and in many
cases it does not. However, many government agencies do this all the
time with great success. The Social Security Administration, for
example, has strict platform requirements for software and web
applications - JAWS, ZoomText, Dragon, and IE. These are provided to
all employees that need them. I imagine employees can use other
technologies, but accessibility is only supported on the platforms

The key is ensuring that the platform requirements match the real-life
needs of the users. If this doesn't happen, accessibility doesn't

While I suppose something like this could be legally conducted in
situations that go beyond the controlled environment (such as
procurement for the design of a public web site), such an approach
would be rather dangerous. Still, there are boundaries to how much
platform support needs to be provided. If I create Assistive
Technology X and your agency site doesn't work with it, should it be
the agencies burden to conform with my non-standard AT?

Jared Smith