Is Accessibility a Supply or Demand Issue?
Jim Tobias has me thinking….Is the 508 Refresh delay a Supply (Industry) or a Demand (Government) issue? For years I’ve been advocating for economic stimulus and price subsidies – Federal/State sponsored rebates, grants, and refundable credits. Long term investment in the underlying technology, open source systems, applications and architecture to improve cost structure thereby generating organic market competition.
My position (okay, my rant!) has always been that industry and big business won’t invest in accessibility if there’s no business value proposition. Talk to any business – anywhere – ask them where accessibility lies in their list of product/service priorities. Accessibility doesn’t make the top 10 list, ever. Lots of great intention; a few ‘feel good’ marketing messages; an upbeat Tweet now and then. But let’s face it, industry is in the business of making money. The accessibility business today is about compliance; it’s viewed as a cost of doing business, not one that generates revenue, never mind profit!
I strongly believe that economic stimulus is crucial to getting our industry — the accessibility industry — off the ground. I want to jump start it just like the Feds did for green technologies and the alternative energy industry.
But Jim really has me thinking about this Supply and Demand thing….If the Feds and States and all those agencies REALLY stuck to their guns and followed through on the fundamental principal of 508 procurement enforcement……if the Feds and States FUNDED Section 508 rather than starving it as an UNFUNDED mandate…..if xthe Feds and States INVESTED their its own infrastructure….well then….just maybe….just maybe we could get this vision of EMPOWERMENT truly off the ground….
…..I’m not sure….what do YOU think???