WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: What motivates me?


From: Prof Norm Coombs
Date: Mar 8, 2000 3:48PM

If web masters could grasp ONE simple truth, most would take the bother.
For example:
I am totally blind. When I was a kid groceries were sold in friendly
corner stores. Mom could send me there to get butter, sugar and whatever.
The owner or a clerk at the cash register got the stuff and sold it to me.
In fact, in those days, most people didn't get their groceries but asked
the clerk.
With the supermarket, I am now handicapped. No one at the cash register
can leave their post to get my items. I cannot go to the store even when I
am out of food. If I can't get a friend I am in bad luck. Even if I pay a
taxi to take me to the supermarket, what then? The driver won't shop for
me? I go hungry or more likely eat EVEN MORE peanutbutter!
Now we have homegrocer.com in some places. Here is a way I can become a
REAL HUMAN and buy food and eat! I go to their site and, guess what? I
can't handle it with a screen reader. Here was the chance for me to become
human again and I am ROBBED! Yes, it feels like I have been mugged and
left bleeding on the road. I could hav gained independence and become a
real person. Instead, I remain handicapped!!!
If you were the responsible web master and had the power to make such a
giant change in someone's life, what would you do?
"too much bother. . let him be handicapped that's all he's worth' . .
Or "Wow what a fantastic opportunity I have to make a significant impact on
the life of another person???????
Norman Coombs, Ph.D.
At 12:52 PM 3/8/00 -0700, you wrote:
> I am intrigued with the discussions on motivation. I am not a web
>developer, yet I think I can still contribute to this discussion since I
>think we are really talking about the process of change; a common
>experience for us all. First, I must say that I enjoy reading what others
>have posted on this topic, in part because I do think folks operate quite
>differently one from another. It is good for WebAIM to consider a range of
>behavior when designing & implementing their systems-change project. I
>think there is incredible value in hearing from people with varied
>experiences in motivation and the process of change. Allow me to bend your
>ear a bit on my own process of motivation and change. In it's crudest form
>I believe motivation can be divided into 2 camps, the carrot and the stick.
>It is an unfortunate fact that data on human behavior supports the fact
>that people make change faster when punishment looms, rather than when they
>could get rewarded in some way (either by doing something nice because it's
>the right thing to do [internal motivation] or getting other rewards such
>as the adoration of others or some monetary reward [external motivation]).
> As I reflect on times I needed to change something in my
>professional practice I do best when the carrot is pretty salient or the
>stick is perceived to be present. Allow me to elaborate on those thoughts
>from personal examples. First, let me discuss the saliency of the carrot.
>If I have something tangible I am working toward, I typically get the job
>done. An example would be that if I am asked to consult for another
>project - I do a good job and within timelines. Of course here the carrot
>is pretty salient for me since consultation typically involves added salary
>or resources of some kind. However, if the carrot isn't tangible (e.g., I
>WANT to do something because I KNOW it would be good for me in some way) I
>tend to wait for opportunities to present themselves to get the job done.
>True to form, other more important projects inevitably pop up which put-off
>what I WANT to do even more. This "Back-Burner" factor is true for me even
>when I know I NEED to do something (just ask anyone who has seen my messy
>office - I am motivated to get it straightened, but don't give myself the
>time to do it). On the other hand, if a stick is present (real or
>imagined) I also tend to get the job done. If my supervisor asks/tells me
>to do something even if I can't see the imminent stick, I tend to make
>available whatever time is necessary to complete the task. The stick may
>be real (e.g., do this or you're fired) or I could perceive that it is
>somewhere in the background (e.g., if I don't do this, it'll come back to
>me on my evaluation or some future promotion). So to summarize, I am most
>motivated when the carrot is salient, or the stick is perceived to be
>present. I don't have the best record of change when left to my own good
>intentions. I know it's a sad confession to make, but for me it's true.
>Even when it comes to things that I feel strongly about (e.g., my recycle
>projects at home) I tend to put them off.
> So what in the world does this have to do with web accessibility?
>I believe that if we want web developers to attend to designing with
>accessibility in mind, we must look at administrative support for the
>practice. It will be these administrators that provide salient carrots or
>create the perception of the stick. Even with the best of intentions, I
>think the quickest way to get change is to get support from above. Of
>course this then begs the question, what motivates the supervisor? My
>answer, predictably, would be the same. Thus at the end of this tall tale
>is the need for central administrators in postsecondary education to be
>committed to the needed changes and, in the words of Jean-Luc "Make it
>happen". Well, that's the end of my rambling thoughts for now. I may
>think a bit more and chime back in at a later date.
>Cyndi Rowland, Ph.D.
>Director, Collaborative Early Childhood Special Education Program
>Center for Persons with Disabilities
>6800 University Blvd.
>Utah State University
>Logan, Utah 84322-6800
>(435) 797-3381
>FAX (435) 797-2044