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Re: The Commercialization of Web Accessibility


From: Adrian Howard
Date: Dec 18, 2001 6:41PM

on 18/12/01 8:49 pm, Kynn Bartlett at <EMAIL REMOVED> wrote:
> Thinking on the matter further, though, has got me thinking about
> the commercialization of web accessibility -- about increasing moves
> away from simple grass-roots help and toward the idea of web
> accessibilty as a business model.

I've had similar feelings on the rise in awareness of accessibility issues.
It's still a bit of a surprise when clients bring the subject up --- rather
that the other way around!

Overall I think the big plus of people actually considering accessibility
outweigh the problems that the increased awareness brings.... that said, a
few more negatives for the list:

a) Oversold technical solutions: I'm sure that I'm not the only person who
has had to explain that the new all-singing-all-dancing wonder widget
will *not* solve all accessibility issues for only $9.95!

b) Misconceptions: People thinking that accessibility is only about totally
blind users, or audio browsers, or whatever. I think I could probably
write a top-ten :-)

c) Cowboys. Design companies are adding the word "accessibility" to their
portfolio of buzzword-compliant terms and don't know what they're
talking about.... with all the risks of devaluing the term that this

Oversold technical solutions don't really worry me. That's just life if you
spend your time in a technical field.

However, the combination of cowboys and misconceptions does worry me a
little. Together they can quickly lead to the situation where people
understand accessibility to mean "add ALT text to all images" or something
similar. Then you suddenly have to start re-educating people, rather than
just educating them, and I find the former a lot harder to accomplish.

Hopefully that made some sort of vague sense...

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