Accessibility of eLearning

Why Bother? - Selling the Benefits

Why Bother? - Selling the Benefits

by Christie Mason -
Number of replies: 4
Somewhere someone, not being able to easily find the who/where of that somewhere is an accessibility problem shared by all browser based threaded discussions, asked how to sell the need to focus on accessibility and disability compliance issues.

There are two ways to persuade someone - you either use pain (the stick)  or pleasure (the carrot).

Legal requirements are usually presented as a big stick to force organizations to comply, but it hasn't been an effective stick.  Very lax enforcement and no negative examples available of what happens when an entity doesn't care about making online presentations accessible.

But, that may be changing.  eCommerce quickly moved away from using Flash or other plugin dependent content when user's voted with their credit cards but it's only recently that they've been forced to consider the deeper impacts of inaccessible site design.  The Target lawsuit, studies showing negative online perceptions impacting the bottom line, the dismal ratings given by the U.N. are highlighting the problem on eCommerce sites, can eLearning be far behind?

What are the other sticks and carrots availble to persuade decision makers that a focus on usability is worthwhile?

Christie Mason
In reply to Christie Mason

Re: Why Bother? - Selling the Benefits

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -

A site with some great faculty development resources is the DoIt centre at the University of Washington http://www.washington.edu/doit/

Check out their videos. If you are at the U of S I have a stack of Working Together: Faculty and Students with Disabilities videos that I would give away.

In reply to Christie Mason

Re: Why Bother? - Selling the Benefits

by Jane Jarrow -
This is a resource I have had squirreled away for some time (original publication was in 2001), but I just checked and the url is still active. While it isn't education-oriented, it provides a nice overview for "non-believers."


NY Times, 1-1-2001, Web Access for Commerical Sites

RELATED WEB SITE OF INTEREST
"Selfish Reasons for Accessible Web Authoring."
"...a list of purely greedy, self-serving, un-altruistic motives for making your page widely accessible."
http://www.icdri.org/Kynn/selfish_reasons_for_accessible_w.htm

Janie Jarrow
In reply to Jane Jarrow

Re: Why Bother? - Selling the Benefits

by Emma Duke-Williams -
His first point is often one that can be used - the improved search engine friendliness you get with accessible pages.
Certainly for commercial sites, they can't then use the arguement of "what would a disabled person want with my super-fast skateboards" or whatever they are trying to see.
In reply to Christie Mason

Re: Why Bother? - Selling the Benefits

by Christie Mason -
Money usually speaks with a loud voice so I'd present that an accessible web presentation requires less investment to develop and maintain.  It's the same point that's often made for the benefits of being compliant to web standards.  Something that you'll often see is that one of the benefits of being web standards compliant is increased accessibility.

For any presentation, simplier is better.  I recommend always starting with the simpliest and then adding complexity only where it's needed because each layer of complexity requires more elements, increased costs, to keep it accessible.  Text > Images > PDFs > Audio  > Flash/Video.  The simpler your presentation, the less it costs to develop and maintain, while making it easier to increase your user's ability to access the content.

Christie Mason