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Re: No decision from the Appeals court


From: Hall, Kevin (K.M.)
Date: Sep 28, 2004 1:01PM

Perhaps I should have chosen my words more carefully, but my broader point is that I place little trust in the abilities of the U.S. Congress to understand or correctly legislate technology issues such as web accessibility. If they do decide to try to spell out in any concrete way what web accessibility should and should not entail it will likely stifle further innovation in hardware and software that could be of use to those with disabilities but may conflict with poorly written legal language. Additionally, I think that most of the issues relate more to educating designers on how to code to web standards and keep accessibility and usability in mind. There is a growing body of anecdotal and quantitative evidence that designing with web standards reduces costs in initial development and maintenance of web sites. We can keep working to create better moral and business cases for our side to make people want to embrace accessibility, to want to do more than the minimum required by law.

Based on Congress' recent laws like the DMCA and the Induce Act do you really think that our Senators and Representatives would do a good job of guiding web development? Or would they create a poorly written, ill advised piece of legislation that is useful only for scaring people and creating junk lawsuits. I tend to think that the government has little to no place in software and web development.

And in response to cynicism on the 'grass roots' movement, I see Chevy.com moving to XHTML Strict, ESPN.com, Wired.com, PGA.com and many more all designing pages with accessibility and web standards in mind. These are not small time fringe sites. Heck, even Microsoft recently made a nice redesign of their homepage that, while not great, was a big step forward. The last two years have seen a huge upswing in major web sites that are usable, accessible and built with web standards in mind. It can take time for people to see the light, but that doesn't mean that taking them to court is the right way to enlighten them.

I actually agree with the spirit of the ADA, particularly as it has made many public spaces open to those with disabilities of all kinds. I clearly think accessibility is important or I wouldn't subscribe to this list. We can all do our part to educate the public and corporate decision makers about the need for accessibility. Most people I have encountered are merely ignorant when dealing with the challenges faced by those with disabilities. We often don't encounter those with serious disabilities in our daily lives. A bit of explanation about how a little effort by web designers can make a huge difference in many lives will win over most decision makers. They are not against accessibility, they simply don't know that they should be for it.

-Kevin Hall

-----Original Message-----
From: design11 [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 2:14 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] No decision from the Appeals court

>We are probably better off in the long run if we argue that the ADA doesn't apply to web sites and focus our efforts on educating web designers and stakeholders in web sites on the importance of good accessibility and usability practices. We've made huge progress recently in getting the word out to designers and getting trend setters like ESPN and Wired to move toward standards based design and thinking about accessibility, and I think that's how we should keep moving forward. The courts and Congress are not the right place to decide how web sites should be built.
Your comments are a little disturbing. I don't beleive that legislation
would actual dictate how you do your mark-up, it would simply have end
rules like "must be accessible to screen readers over a certain
version/version date", not laws telling you that you must use an alt tag
between 15 &amp; 40 chars containing no special characters and declaring the
authors name placed after a mandatory height tag with exactly one space
between (no non breaking spaces allowed) - or any such nonsense..

Getting the word out and promoting accessibility will never be enough
for those who beleive that aceessibility equals more money, and without
being part of ADA they'll be easy to continue to ignore.
Accessibilities standards aren't new... do you see everyone adopting
them based on our "grass roots" movement? I can't quite imagine a
corporate presentation to management brandishing a Wired article to
support their proposal for accessibility on their sites.

There are also many people out there who don't think disabled people are
"normal" and so shouldn't be considered in their demographics. That's
what ADA is trying to change, and I strongly feel we should be part of ADA .

So much for my rant.


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