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Re: What motivates you?

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From: Kathryn Wyeth
Date: Mar 3, 2000 8:34PM


What my experience/motivation is in making a site accessible:
I started doing web pages using a WYSIWYG editor until I realized what this
did to the html then began learning this. I work for a disability rights
organization and hate not walking the talk as they say.
We don't have allot of resources so mostly am self taught as are the rest of
folks who edit the pages. I have become somewhat the access police (less
nice words used sometimes) since point out access problems all the time and
have tried to generate some pride in that fact that our pages are
accessible. But I also keep learning new things about access myself. This
is a quickly changing world and there are no real "experts" in the
traditional sense.
One problem we have is that a lot of the "free" stuff, like search engines
and the like, can't be customized too much and is not accessible. We can't
always afford to buy things and I am learning as fast as I can re: doing
more in-house. So sometimes, there are features on the pages that I am not
happy about re: accessibility.
I have tried to go in and correct things on pages for folks affiliated with
us (at their request) to be met with resistance if access means making the
page look too different. For example, I took out table formatting on one
page that was only for visual effect and they decided to stay with the
original format because "people were used to it that way."
It sure is a lot easier to design access from the start than it is to go in
later and change things!
Some folks insist on doing a page first then maybe later doing a text only
version. Even when I try to talk them out of it. Too hard to learn about
access is the reason. In my learning, I sometimes have to undo things. But
that's part of learning. I hear tips and think it will help the site's
navigation then find out its a real access problem and go in and undo (last
time 409 times across 280 pages!!) what I spent hours doing. I would be
happy if someone told me up front about the problem but guess other people
are not.
I think one factor that motivates me is that good design = accessible
design. Our audience quite clearly includes people with disabilities for
one thing. I also really believe that making sure the site is accessible
makes it easier for everyone -you know, like ramps and door openers and
speech input and other formerly "special" design features.
There may also be a market niche here with accessible sites and the ability
to design them. There has been some big bucks and effort into disability
portals as late (i.e. wemedia, adaptz/halfthe world.com and the like) They
are having accessibility problems though. AOL getting sued is an
interesting development as are the recent congressional hearings re: how the
Americans with Disabilities Act applies to web sites.

Kathryn Wyeth
Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
www.copower.org
1(800)760-4600

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM accessibility forum
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]On Behalf Of James Merrill
Sent: Friday, March 03, 2000 1:52 PM
To: WebAIM accessibility forum
Subject: What motivates you?

Almost every Web designer is overwhelmed by the tasks of creating,
maintaining and updating their web sites. Our experience is that many
designers find the idea of making a "web accessible" site an overwhelming
task and just another thing to add to their list of things to do.
The Web'AIM initiative group is holding an internal discussion on this topic
and would like to know:
1) What has been your experience in trying to make your sites accessible to
people with disabilities?
2) What factors motivate you or would motivate you to design with
accessibility in mind?

We encourage all of you to participate in this discussion!