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Re: Universities Legal Web Accessibility Update


From: Jason Taylor-UsableNet
Date: Dec 9, 2003 11:17AM

Hello Kevin

I feel you are making me post the same reply a third time (once me and once
Giorgio) so I apologize if this is repeating previous postings but again you
say we need a "re-wording of the marketing materials and overall effort".

We view the recent postings only as good community feedback and I have not
or would not describe that we feel you are making us out to be evil (not
sure where that came from). I again point to the posting at
Entitled: Text-only mode as part of website accessibility and usability

This was as a direct response to some of these postings and clearly outlines
how we see a text-mode or providing and controlling a text alternative
interface can benefit an overall accessibility strategy.

I agree that the majority of the postings where in response to marketing
wording and not product function and I agree that it fell on the wrong side
of the tracks - for that we are sorry.

On the last posting with regard communication on section 508 - it was purely
sharing with the community some clarification on one of the points

We have created a suite of products that are presented as a complete
solution to create accessible and usable content; from finding issues,
fixing issues and then providing the flexible display options. This is our
product position.

Jason Taylor

> Jason,
> Thanx for the due diligence, and checking in w/ Ken. There's only one
> problem with this... Considering the fact that most universities, and state
> govt's are codifying practices that mimic if not directly adhere to the
> Section 508 guidelines, the question is moot. Similarly, the main point that
> most commentors have made to you and Giorgio is this...
> Universities, and other entities could mistakenly view the use of your new
> Transcoder, and the provision of equivalent text only pages as being
> sufficient to meet compliance. Hence my initial comments to you suggesting a
> re-wording of the marketing materials and overall effort. It really is that
> simple. Unfortunately, in the effort to defend the companies efforts, the
> main complaints and problems aren't being addressed.
> No one said the tool or by extension the company was evil... We're just
> worried that it will be misused/misapplied and therefore do more damage than
> good.
> HK
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jason Taylor-UsableNet [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
> Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 12:50 PM
> Subject: Re: Universities Legal Web Accessibility Update
> In order to follow up some postings with regard the legal position of
> Universities with regard to Section 508 and Web Accessibility. I approached
> Ken. S. Nakata of The US DOJ. In short, it seems that the provision of
> Section 508 effecting Universities due to Tech Act funding was wrong and we
> apologize for this. My short e-mail discussion with Ken is below.
> -----------------
> 1. "If I am creating and maintaining web content for students and faculty of
> a public university which Disabilities act would most likely apply to my web
> content?"
> 504 (if federally-funded) and title II of the ADA.
> 2. "Does Section 508 of the Rehabilitations act apply to me in the above
> scenario - if so when and why, and if not when and why?"
> No. (when ask for clarity on this, the response was "508 doesn't apply. The
> stuff from Cynthia is incorrect, because that was a former (and
> unsupportable) position articulated by the Department of Education. We had
> to get them to change that".)
> 3. What types of access to web content should a university consider to
> satisfy their legal requirements under any laws you outline above?
> First, it's probably essential to provide access to alternative sources of
> information... e.g. a person answering email or the phone regarding web page
> content. Doesn't necessarily have to be 24/7, but the delay in response
> shouldn't be unreasonable (of course, that depends on what it is that's
> required). As far as design standards, either 508 or WAI would go a long
> way to meeting 504/ada obligations in most circumstances (but not all as
> these standards do not aid all forms of disabilities).
> ------------------
> Ken is referring to the below 508 statement on Cynthia's site being out
> dated.
> [12] Section 508 was originally added to the Rehabilitation Act in 1986.