It raised a number of accessibility issues with printed material, moving images and websites that the author had experienced during their life.
Despite the requirement for government in Australia to ensure our websites are accessible, I worry both that we do not do enough, and that we do too much, in this area.
I also worry that we do not pay enough attention to our other communications channels - particularly print and television, which do not seem to have the same degree of scrutiny or governance.
Of course cost is a factor, but where should we draw the line between cost and equity?
We have explicit laws to prevent discrimination on the grounds of gender, age or physical impairments. The cost of equality is generally not an acceptable argument in these situations.
But do we still discriminate against people with visual and movement impairment in our communications based on cost?
Or do we go too far (which I have also seen done) - develop our websites and communications for the lowest common denominator (again because of cost), and therefore lose touch with the average Australian?
Many government websites (including my agency's) are designed in 800x600 monitor resolution despite this being used by under 10% of the audience and there being well-established technologies available to reshape a website to make it relevant at different resolutions.
For my agency this decision is definitely about cost. The cost of the content management system and accompanying work required to allow us to support multiple website standards.
My preferred option would be to have;
- one website version for those with impairments (dial-up users/low resolution monitors/screen readers)
- one website version for those without (broadband users/high resolution monitors)