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RE: The Commercialization of Web Accessibility


From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Dec 19, 2001 3:36PM


I think some of the replies I have seen (here and on other lists) may
indicate a misunderstanding of Kynn's fundamental question. The question
does not seem to be whether or not we should become comercialized. The
actions of governments (at our own pressing) make that inevitable. The
question is not even whether this is a good or bad thing. It is just the
way things will work. -- be it good, bad, or indifferent.

I think the fundamental question Kynn is raising is what are our plans now?
What are our goals?

3 or 4 years ago, I would have said our primary goal was to get people to
take us seriously. That is still a valid goal. However, we now have people
starting to take us seriously. -- for various reasons. What part should the
W3C play? What role should business play? Business is really an element to
the equation I have seen discussed little. Oh, I have seen lots of
discussions on what Microsoft, Netscape, AOL, Macromedia, Adobe, and other
tech. business ses should do and what their part is. However, I have seen
scant discussion about the rest of the private sector's involvement. -- and
I say that as a person who works for a major insurance company and who is
keenly interested in accessibility.

In my job, I work a lot with Human Factors specialists and interface design
specialists. These are people who are specifically trained in the area of
Human-Computer interactions. I have always noticed that Human Factors
people tend to organize into associations like HFES or CHI. I gather that
other professions do something similar. However, with regards to
accessibility, we seem not to have a strong organization that serves a
similar purpose. Is it time people begin to look at that?

Perhaps, I have opened up a can of worms...then again, I keep telling our
boss that we keep a large box of them here just in case.


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