Thursday, September 16, 2010

Please pay us for our expertise

I can only do my bit here in my blog to send a message to those who often request help from the blind and sight-impaired community. That is, whenever these persons put out a request for blind and sight-impaired testers to assist in evaluating their websites to ensure that they are accessible and usable.

Maybe these persons are not fully aware or maybe they have not yet thought about it, but here goes. If you require assistance for blind and sight-impaired persons to test your website for accessibility compliance, then you need to pay for their services. No, do not assume that they would do it for free, and why should they? No, do not assume that you could pay them a nominal fee for their knowledge and it would be okay. When you put out a call for blind and sight-impaired testers, you are, in effect, putting out a call for persons with specialized skills to provide specific services, and, accordingly, you need to pay for what you require.

You need to look at it in a similar way to when you go looking for someone to provide you with specialized services in areas that are specialized. Example: Technicians to install electronic or security equipment, technicians to fix your appliances, or plumbers to test and fix pipelines. I think that you get the picture. Maybe I should close by asking this question: If you require the assistance of blind and sight-impaired persons to test your website for accessibility compliance, is it not safe to assume that you should be paying for specialized knowledge? Or maybe the question should be this: How important do you think it is to be accessible compliant? Another topic for another blog.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and share my concerns with others. Visit www.w3c.org/wai to learn more about accessibility and how to design and develop accessible websites.

2 comments:

  1. It's funny how some people believe that they can get others to do work for free while they still expect to be paid for the work they do. This post reminds me of an interesting youtube video by writer Harlan Ellison -- Pay the Writer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

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  2. Sadly, I think that businesses do not view accessibility as vital. Seeing it as a nice to have rather than necessity.

    With the same naive viewpoint that some people think that a lawyer could 'quickly read over' their documents at a reduced cost or free, they hope that businesses and consultants who have first hand experience and therefore knowledge of how it is to deal with website accessibility from a users viewpoint should be viewed as an afterthought. Accessibility experts should always expect a fee for work provided.

    I found your case today when searching for legal cases surrounding accessibility and I hope it will force people to realise that discriminating website users due to their different abilities should be as offensive as discriminating against wheelchair customers or clients with regards to access to buildings and transport services.

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