[access-uk] Re: Fw: DRC Call for disabled internet revolt

Having been involved in, and at the launch of what this article calls
the DRCs own code I do wonder if the journalist who relates this fantasy
and I were at the same event.  Granted I haven't been privy to the DRC
marketing material associated with british standards institute, publicly
available specification number 78 (pas78) but the message conveyed by
the piece from the Register wasn't at all that being aired on Wednesday
last.  True Michael Burton did say that the DRC would help any
individuals persue cases in relation to Web inaccessibility but it was
hardly a rabel rousing call to arms.  Nor was it a critique of the Web
accessibility Initiative guidelines.
Pas78 is not a new web accessibility standard it is simply a guide for
managers in how to ensure that the web services they buy are accessible.
The basis of the advice being that all existing standards to date have
been technical in nature and this has often lead to web developers
trying to sell accessibility to clients who have little or no
understanding of it and may conclude that it is just the techis trying
to find another way to screw money out of them.

I'm very disappointed in the register for such an illinformed and
potentially damaging piece.

Adrian Higginbotham
Accessibility and inclusion adviser
British Educational Communications and Technology Agency - BECTA
Tel: Direct dial 024 7679 7333 - Internal extension #2287
Email: Adrian.Higginbotham@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Web: http://www.becta.org.uk/
BECTA, Millburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry, CV4 7JJ 
-----Original Message-----
From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Ray's Home
Sent: 15 March 2006 17:04
To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] Fw: DRC Call for disabled internet revolt

This appeared on the Blind Webbers list a few days back, and doesn't
come in this instance from a UK based person but from Geof Collis in
Ontario, Canada.

In a note to me he describes himself as 'just a messenger for something
I feel strongly about..'  Its seems to be that legislation in Canada
doesn't yet allow for taking inaccessable web site design to court.


Are we going to see an uprising as the article seems to suggest?

Ray

Personal emails:  Email me at
mailto:ray-48@xxxxxxxx

----- Original Message -----
From: "Geof Collis"
>FYI
>Call for disabled internet revolt
>
>By Mark Ballard
>The Register (UK), March 10, 2006
>
>Being nice has achieved little
>
>The Disability Rights Commission plans to call upon disabled internet 
>users to rise up against inaccessible website owners and help it take 
>complaints with the force of law.
>
>The rabble-rousing message will be broadcast by the DRC following the 
>launch of new guidelines to amend what it says are limitations in the 
>WAI accessibility standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium .
>
>Threats to website owners accompanied the DRC's first notable publicity

>grab, marked by the publication of its formal investigtion into web 
>accessibility two years ago.
>
>"We are serving notice that the Disability Rights Commission will use 
>all its powers to secure compliance on this very important matter," 
>warned DRC commissioner Michael Burton at the time, while his lawyer 
>said those who refused to settle out of court would be "pursued all the
way".
>
>But the warning has never been honoured, even though a high profile 
>court case would do wonders for its cause. Six years since the 
>Disability Discrimination Act made it illegal to produce an 
>inaccessible website in the UK, the laws have gone limp through disuse.
>
>Even the Royal National Institute for the Blind, which has been more 
>diligent in its pursuit of ignorant web owners, has only brought legal 
>action against two sites, and both of those cases where settled out of 
>court.
>
>The problem is that the campaigners need disabled people who are 
>prepared to complain and bring action with their assistance. The DRC 
>gets around 2,000 calls a week, but very few complaints. Most calls are

>pleas for advice and help. The commission reckons that when disabled 
>people come across inaccessible sites they usually just move on to one
they can use.
>
>Without disabled people prepared to challenge the establishment in the 
>courts, the DRC can do little more than provide advice and guidelines. 
>But the marketing for its latest latest publication will include a call

>for disabled people to complain about offenders so it can take action 
>against them.
>
>"It will be a part of our marketing to encourage people to ring us and 
>complain," a DRC spokeswoman said today.
>
>Of course, corporations and public sector organisations are easily 
>embarrassed into making their sites accessible, as many already have. 
>And few are likely to want to commit commercial suicide by making a 
>bigoted stand against accessibility in the courts.
>
>Then the educational work of the DRC does help. The criticism in its 
>formal report that the WAI guidelines were too technical has been 
>followed up with the launch this week of its own code, which recommends

>adhering to WAI standards, but provides further advice on non-technical

>issues such as commissioning websites.
>
>This could be useful, as 80 per cent of developers told the DRC that 
>their clients were not interested in building accessible sites.
>
>Most notable is the guide's insistence that the automated testing most 
>website owners do to ensure accessibility is inadequate. The DRC 
>asserts that it is vital that disabled people are used to test a site.
>
>Its new guidelines have been developed in conjunction with the British 
>Standards Institute, so have some significant kudos. That does mean, 
>however, that it costs #30 to acquire them and the price does not 
>include a kite mark that considerate site owners can use to display
their credentials.
>
>Yet the softly-softly approach appears to have achieved little. The DRC

>revealed two years ago that 81 per cent of websites were inaccessible. 
>They still are, it says. .
>
>
>http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/10/disabled_web_revolt/
>
>If it's sanity you're after, there's no recipe like laughter.
>    --Henry Rutherford Elliot/*

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