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Re: What motivates you?

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From: Paul Bohman
Date: Mar 6, 2000 10:35PM


<snip> It is only a matter of time before they get taken to court over
inaccessible on - line classes. They could lose federal funding over this.
Is this motivation? Could be. Negative but may be needed. <end snip>
I agree that some legal "teeth" will probably be necessary in the end. The
situation is similar to the original implementation of the Americans with
Disabiliities Act (A.D.A.). The arguments against the A.D.A. often suggested
that people would "just do the right thing." The truth is that most of us
want to do the right thing, but don't often find it convenient to do. It is
much easier to let certain things slip by. Without some legal backing, a
minority of web designers will design with accessibility in mind, but the
rest of them will skip this important consideration.
Still, even without the legal backing, there are some elements that are
genuine motivators for the average web developer.
1. Alt tags, for example, increase the chances that a site will be indexed
correctly by the search engines. Every business knows how important it is to
be in the top 10 of the search engine rankings.
2. By designing for "universality", you increase the chances that your web
site will "look" good on all kinds of devices, including the all-important
Palm Pilots and other mobile devices. If you can design a site that looks
good in a "normal" browser _AND_ from the L.C.D. screen of an
Internet-enabled cell phone, then this is clearly an advantage for the site.
3. Also, the consumer likes to know that a company is supporting good causes
and "doing the right thing". When American Express combined with a nonprofit
agency for the Charge Against Hunger program, for example, not only were
they supporting a good cause, but they increased their revenues. Equal
access to the Web really is a civil rights issue. To make a comparison, I
think most of us would feel more comfortable buying something from a company
that says that it does not discriminate on the basis of race. Similarly, the
general public may be more inclined to support a company that says that its
Web site is equally accessible to all, regardless of disabilities.
There are other motivators too, but these are the ones that came to me as I
was writing this. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else if they have
other ideas of motivators for the "average" Web developer.
Paul Bohman