E-mail List Archives

Re: NAD v. Netflix: "This is a bad ruling.Reallyterrible."

for

From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Jun 28, 2012 8:41AM


When I read the article, it seemed to me that it was written on impulse. It seems to start out by insinuating that the judgment was for Netflix to caption its video. If I understand the ruling correctly, the judge only ruled that the ADA applies to Netflix as a place of public accommodation--not that it has to caption the videos. That piece is yet to be determined.

When I read the comments, I was offended but not surprised. I suspect that the real resistance to accessibility springs from society's view on people with disabilities.
I think society still views people with disabilities much like a photographic negative image. That is society defines someone with a disability by what they are not or what they cannot do rather than by who they are or what they can do.
How do you design for a negative? How do you market to a negative? How do you relate to a negative? You don't.
I think that might be why some of the more successful accessibility arguments tend to be legal or related to the other benefits of accessibility. In the legal argument, you design to a specification or you fail to conform. With the other benefits, you design to make it work on mobile or for SEO. Neither argument really requires you to alter your view of people with disabilities.
But hopefully, once you start working on accessibility that view can change. But until that view changes, there will be people who see accessibility as a great burden or a waste of resources to benefit people who don't benefit society.

I think that is an important thing not to forget when discussing accessibility with others. If you are going to persuade them, I think it is important to understand that some of their inability to understand or resistance to change has to do with the view of disability they hold. To be successful, you have either to alter that view or persuade them based on some issue that doesn't fly in the face of what they believe.