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Date:      Tue, 6 Nov 2001 21:38:15 -0800
From:      "Ted Mittelstaedt" <>
To:        "Mike Meyer" <>
Cc:        <advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG>, <chat@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   RE: NatWest? no thanks
Message-ID:  <000001c1674e$6587e780$>
In-Reply-To: <>

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG]On Behalf Of Mike Meyer
>Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 12:05 PM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt
>Cc: advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG; chat@FreeBSD.ORG
>Subject: RE: NatWest? no thanks
>> Then how about instead of mandating ADA compliance, you mandate EITHER
>> ADA compliance, or W3C compliance?  I'd rather see ADA compliance mandate
>> a website comply with a public standard than with it's own set of special
>> rules.
>By that, I take it you mean the W3C's accessibility guidelines that
>can be found at <URL: >.
>I'd say no. The federal guidelines - used for federal government sites
>- don't mandate what technology be used; they mandate that there there
>be accessible options available for all disabled - not just blind -
>users. The W3C guidelines tell you how to do that using the technology
>available at the time they were written. Would you rather have "Your
>site must have accessability options", or "every img that carries
>content must have a meaningful alt"?

The problem with sentence 1 (which I assume is the fed guidelines) is
that it's too easy to slime your way out of it.  The web designer/site
owner could argue that since there's a web browser that has a braille
driver out there that he doesen't have to bother changing his coding
as long is his site renders in some fashion on the braille browser.  This
ignores that because of crummy html the rendering is a much more
unpleasant experience for the blind person than for the sighted person.

Although it's been a while since I've looked at w3c, since it's a standard
it surely is worthless if not updated to stay current with current technology.
Forcing sites to stay compliant with it to remain OK under ADA gives a
that is very definite, there's no wiggle room for the designer to slime out of
it.  If the designers have a beef then they can take it up with the standards
body and have a public discussion that settles things rather than some
sealed deal (which is how the government seems to like to handle things)

I liken this to the ADA requirements for ramps for building access.  The
standard requires a ramp, but the codes also specify how wide and the degree
of incline of the ramp.  You cannot for example put in a 45 degree ramp that
extends 6 feet and is 6 inches wide and claim that it makes the building
wheelchair accessible.  So why would you advocate that the websites that fall
ADA requirements be given more wide lattitude than ADA gives for building

Ted Mittelstaedt                             
Author of:                           The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website:                

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