Alternatives to the W3C

Lee Anne Phillips leeanne at
Thu Jan 20 01:35:10 GMT 2000

At Wednesday 1/19/00 07:02 PM -0500, Ann Navarro wrote:
>At 03:38 PM 1/19/00 -0800, Dave Winer wrote:
> >The market is moving to IE 5 at a quick pace now. And there are plenty of
> >popular web sites that only work with IE5.The more of these there are, the
> >easier it will be to settle on IE 5 as the default browser.


>Your conclusions are highly debatable.

I agree with Ann here. As has been correctly pointed out, there are plenty 
of sites that use Lynx as a default browser, and much of the low-vision and 
blind user community will *never* "upgrade" to IE 4 or above, ever.

In addition to the commercial concern of limiting your market, failing to 
take Lynx and other text-mode browsers into account when you design a site 
is quite probably engineering malpractice and an invitation to an ADA 
lawsuit for many sites, assuming the site does anything useful for which a 
person with a disability might need equal access and reasonable 
accommodation to use.

We can note that not so very long ago "the market moved" toward imposing 
steps at the entrances to public buildings in utter disregard for a 
significant portion of the population. Which steps are now being 
retrofitted with expensive ramps, elevators, and other workarounds 
addressing the design failures of short-sighted (or arrogant) architects in 
the days before ADA.

While it might be fun to use the latest and greatest of everything, it will 
be far less fun to redesign an entire site to provide a parallel path for 
users with disabilities.

The US Department of Justice has already issued rulings specifically 
addressing Web site design, which basically seem to say that mere ignorance 
or the unavailability of accessibility features in a particular toolset is 
no excuse, since accessibility guidelines and tools *are* available and 
have been for some time. If you don't use them, or fail to take 
accessibility into account and provide for it, you, or your customer, may 
well be entirely liable for the entire cost of remediation with no fiscal 
limits based on "reasonability."

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