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Re: The Commercialization of Web Accessibility

for

From: Holly Marie
Date: Dec 19, 2001 9:35AM



Cost is an unfortunate issue, but a reality.... you brought up some good
points.

examples...of some reality, cost goes directly to the user.

[1] normal telephone for a household vs. a special telephone for the
Deaf
[2] computer and peripherals for normal use vs. computers with switches,
touch windows or touch monitors(used by general public also),
specialized keyboards(cost more $$$), augmentative communication
devices($$$), and other assisstive technology(more $$$)

Captioning of media will cost extra, and I am not so sure that a company
will charge for a captioned view but will have to find some creative way
to make up that money they had to pay in order to display or offer that
service. Because it costs more... SMIL and MAGpie(sp?) are technologies
that take specialized people, who qualify to get paid for those
services. CopyWriters, who write up narratives or descriptions offer an
additional service which will have to be paid for, and those costs may
be divided out to all? or supported via good marketing and ad
campaigning, grants or donations, or support and sponsorship via other
corporations or individuals.

These items need to cost more, hard as it is to realize, People, labor
and hours had to go into making such devices or technology and
somewhere, someone has to be paying for these things. There are not
enough people out there to make things of these nature work for free
time and effort.

Companies that put up special bars, retrofit restrooms, offer up
specialized services and help, pay more for these items, and many
probably project and and divide that cost along the total product or
service price. They had to pay more to become more accessible, and
someone else or everyone else will be paying for this.

I understand the frustration and also the cost prohibitive nature of
specialized equipment, devices, and technology. I have an adult daughter
dependent, who will always be one, and the costs are unreal, often not
covered by insurance, and definitely not yet covered by any support
services or governmental help out there. Both the govt and supportive
system set up is very lacking in my area, and not bound to be growing in
leaps and bounds anytime soon, either. Cost cutting is happening on
these support levels, not increasing.

So, her cost to communicate, was well over 6,000 US dollars with a
device that was not covered and still in limbo or may have run out of
time to be covered. Support services to use this technology were weak
and poor in the public school system, and private support is cost
prohibitive, with insurance support missing.

There are no easy answers, however I cannot say that every company has
to supply every user with everything possible, without passing that cost
on somehow.

Some way or another, we will all be paying these costs, and others that
need even more specialized help or tools will paying those costs. Many
of the accessibility changes in the area of web designing and code can
be made with little cost increases wwhen someone is coding to current
guidelines, and may actually offer companies designing web sites, added
cost cutting on project time and labor when they hire those that can
code to standards. Retrofitting older sites is another story, and that
will cost these companies to rewrite or fix these sites, either in house
labor or hiring out for specialized or knowledgeable developers and
designers. There are many sites up now that will provide these services
and or software packages for companies to fix their sites or code.

holly

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Goddard"

> As an individual who has a disability and a career within the Web
> Development and Design field, my viewpoint is that the more
commercialized
> that accessibility gets, the sharper the "double-edge sword" gets.
What I
> mean by this is that there are going to be pros and cons regarding
this and
> those pros and cons will begin to make stronger impacts upon people's
> decisions in the use of accessibility.
>
> Pros:
> 1) Increased awareness of accessibility issues to larget audiences.
> 2) With the monies earned, the possibility of accessiblility features
being
> researched and new technologies created.
>
> Cons:
> 1) Cost becomes too high for accessibility tools to be used and
company's
> therefore not using the necessary tools. This is my dilemma in
regards to
> training.
> 2) Accessibility should be used throughout the world, however only the
U.S.,
> Canada and U.K have/or implementing some type of accessibility laws
> "requiring" in a limited way that accessibility must be met. (If I
forgot a
> country I apologize). This in turns creates an "unfair" playing field
in my
> opinion. So for example, Sony Inc. is a Japanese company and is not
bound
> by any law to create accessible content, so they don't have to worry
nor
> spend money for accessiblility issues on their web sites, however
Microsoft
> is an American company that is bound by American law to provide
> accessiblility on their web sites so they have to spend and worry
about
> accessiblility issues....(NOTE: this is an example to clarify the
point!)
>
> I am sure there are many more pros and cons however these are the main
two
> that stick in my mind the most. Plus another fear that I have in
regards to
> the commercialization of accessibility ( I am not against making money
just
> cautious about the "results" regarding this - i.e causing prices to
increase
> and tools, once being free like Bobby, now having to be bought for
usage )
> is that people tend to forget that I or anyone else witha disability
have
> the right to be able to access public information for free as everyone
else.
>
> Why should I pay money so I can get closed captioning on a video when
a
> "normal" person can view the same video for free. I have a right to
the
> same information as anyone else but I have to 'pay' for it.
>
> I see this happening just for the fact that companies will have to
find some
> way to pay for the services that they 'had' to 'pay' for in order to
make
> the video accessible. And those costs will trickle down to the users
of
> that service.
>
> Those are my thoughts, take them in anyway you like them.
>
> Michael





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