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Accessibility and Usability Forum

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Federal Judge Sustains Discrimination Claims Against Target.com website
Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility
le_gber




msg:3075840
 6:46 am on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

[biz.yahoo.com...]

A federal district court judge ruled yesterday that a retailer may be sued if its website is inaccessible to the blind. [...] The suit charges that Target's website [...] is inaccessible to the blind, and therefore violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)[...]. Target asked the court to dismiss the action by arguing that no law requires Target to make its website accessible. The Court denied Target's motion to dismiss and held that the federal and state civil rights laws do apply to a website such as target.com.

 

oneguy




msg:3077872
 10:05 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

They are trying to apply old ADA rules to current technology. There is a very easy to understand phamplet on what buildings must do to comply and exisiting buildings were given time to be brought up to standards. The same needs to be done for websites.

Exactly. If you want to start talking about what the rules should be and who they should apply to, people start acting like you're a rich person who enjoys kicking blind people. People seem to assume that everyone is capable of making a compliant website and that everyone is lazy or insensitive and undeserving of a website if they don't.

I know a webmaster who is mentally disabled. This person has worked very hard over several years to build a few websites, and is squeaking a living out with the help of those websites. Could this person follow some online ADA guidelines if they were made aware of them? Maybe. I imagine they would like to. However, I just don't have high hopes of their code ever being valid. They have way more time than money and can't afford to pay someone.

Does this person deserve to be sued by a blind person tomorrow? Who would you guys like to support in the fight between the visually impaired and the mentally challenged?

There are plenty of examples in law where rules apply to companies of various types and sizes. It seems quite unfair to have a mentally challenged person live up to the same standards as a web design company. I also don't see why anyone would want to throw this mentally challenged person off the web because they don't have and can't afford the skills of a web design company.

vincevincevince




msg:3077886
 10:24 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

What should really worry the astronauts would be depending on equipment purchased from a company that would rather make excuses than take the trouble to ensure quality in the details.

I must admit I agree with the sentiment entirely. Fine details missed in one area may well indicate fine details missed in another. If, for example, they didn't bother to add ALT tags to graphical navigation - did they both to double check the fittings for small cracks during manufacture?

tbear




msg:3077898
 11:11 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I believe that any webdesigner, worth his salt, who intends to make sites for commercial organisations, should be well versed in W3C's accessibility guidelines. As a professional ability rather than a way of 'simply' complying with law.
I'd agree with KenB's statement,"A good bit of this thread sounds like it was written by professional activists rather than professional webmasters".
I have no problem with anyone who wants to make a site and put it online. I do get a little edgy when I see badly made professional sites, which could easily have their failings rectified with very little extra knowledge, apparently made by professionals.
I look at alt atributes as being a standard item to include in any website, along with many other items.
As to wether Target should be taken to task? Well yes, they appear to have ignored basic access guidelines and failed to correct this when notified.
I have no problem with that.
It would create a shambles if legislation was needed to ensure code standards on the internet.
Let's work harder at making it unnessesary!

simey




msg:3077902
 11:16 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

tbear-agree 100%!

oldpro




msg:3077991
 1:17 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is the same Federal District Court circuit that is known for its judicial activism (making laws instead of interpreting them). Many of its decisions get overturned by a higher court. I still say this will be overturned.

le_gber




msg:3077995
 1:35 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

People seem to assume that everyone is capable of making a compliant website and that everyone is lazy or insensitive and undeserving of a website if they don't.

Well in the case of a professional web design company, making a website copmliant is the basics, and if they don't, it's either by lack or knowledge (which they can't claim to have - being professionals) or unwillingness (which is not forgiveable - being professionals).

What many seem to be missing is that Target has not been asked to make their site triple a compliant. We're not talking table-less CSS driven site with 5 different stylesheets to cater for all visual impairment. We are talking alt attribute and label tags! Thats webdesign 101.

Also many mentionned mom and pops businesses or owner managed website - but we're talking Target here - and so-called professional web designers or companies.


BTW I tried finding figures about target on their website. By accressing the about target with cookies disabled, I got trown into a infinite loop of
flash plugin checking > set cookie (not) > redirect > check cookie (not present so) > flash plugin checking > set cookie (not) > redirect > check cookie (not present so)[...].

old_expat




msg:3078027
 2:46 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I must admit I agree with the sentiment entirely. Fine details missed in one area may well indicate fine details missed in another. If, for example, they didn't bother to add ALT tags to graphical navigation - did they both to double check the fittings for small cracks during manufacture?

I'm sure you must be right. I doubt very seriously if the web designers ran down to Q.C and ran x-ray tests on those fittings.

voices




msg:3078061
 3:24 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I do contract work for an advertising company. They sit in the middle between me and the customer. I used to constantly tell them how their cute little ideas were going to make things difficult for a search engine. They don't care, they want it to look the way they want it to look.

Seems to me, the more traffic the customer gets, the happier they will be, the more likely they will go back to the same company. Needless to say the site can be made to look just as good without drop down menus, iframes, javascript rollover text, etc etc.

I don't even argue with them anymore, I just cringe and make it the way they want it. Do you think I am going to convice these people to make their sites accessible for people with disabilities? Not without some clear concise rules from the government.

le_gber




msg:3078230
 7:42 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

[...]Needless to say the site can be made to look just as good without drop down menus, iframes, javascript rollover text, etc etc.[...]

voices - drop downs and rollovers etc can be done in CSS and be accessible - iframes can be emulated - tell your client ;)

Beagle




msg:3078231
 7:44 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I know a webmaster who is mentally disabled. This person has worked very hard over several years to build a few websites, and is squeaking a living out with the help of those websites. Could this person follow some online ADA guidelines if they were made aware of them? Maybe. I imagine they would like to. However, I just don't have high hopes of their code ever being valid.

oneguy, can this person learn to make and use ALT tags? If so, he or she is way ahead of where Target was when they got sued. It's been said several times, but maybe needs to repeated again, that Target's problem wasn't not having valid code, but not providing very basic accessibility, which I think your friend could do, since he or she is capable of building a website in the first place. Target also wasn't blindsided by this suit, so I wouldn't worry about your friend getting sued "tomorrow," although there might be an email from someone who tried to use the site and couldn't. Using the basic accessibility techniques will also help your friend's site do better with the search engines and make it accessible to mobile device users.

As was also pointed out, when the ADA was passed, the internet as it now exists... didn't. The application of the ADA to the internet is in the case law stage, which almost always has to happen before legislation and/or set regulations are passed. Target made themselves [I'll avoid the pun] a sitting duck by not responding to requests to provide even the very basic level of accessibility, or as far as I can tell, to even say "We have a big site, so it'll take some time, but we're working on it." If this case stays the course, as I hope it does, it will provide a very basic bottom line of accessibility that sites should aim for.

I did do some looking around on government sites after this topic came up, and while there are no specific ADA regulations yet for the internet, everything I read referred to the WWWC's basic accessibility guidelines, which are the basis for the quote that was given above from section 508 (regulations that apply to government websites and sites of companies that do business with the government). If anything, the section 508 requirements will be more strict than those for non-government-related websites.

Generally I only lurk on this site, except for comments on writing/copyright in which I do have some background, and an occasional post about affiliate programs, because I'm not a webmaster in the strict sense of the word and am here to pick up what information I can. The only websites I run exist to communicate with others who share my hobbies/passions/obsessions, with enough affiliate links to (sometimes) cover my $5/month hosting costs. Because I realize I'm w-a-y below the level of other members, I don't generally advertise how pathetically ignorant I actually am, but IMVHO my ignorance is pertinent to this discussion:

I use an old WYSIWYG program (no longer available for purchase) that doesn't even allow me to edit all of the HTML - does that tell you how much HTML I know? But, guess what, even with that obsolete WYSIWYG program and HTML knowledge that's at the level of being able to ask, "Where's the bathroom?" in a foreign language, I can meet all of the WWWC's level 1 priority accessibility guidelines, most of the level 2 priority guidelines, and some of level 3; BTW, the info I found on government sites never mentioned website responsibility for anything beyond the priority 1 guidelines. Yes, I hope to keep learning more so I can continue to do better (that's why I lurk here), but in the meantime I'm just saying - meeting the basic accessibility guidelines does not take an unreasonable amount of ability, knowledge, or time.

The most difficult part of following the guidelines is finding them in a way that makes them easy to use. On the WWWC site, look for "list version of the checkpoints", which lists them by priority level.

ridgway




msg:3078232
 7:45 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

this has been a very educational read.

first, i did a web search, then used nothing but 'tab' and 'enter' all they way to checkout on my site. had no idea that it was possible.

also, had no idea you could create an extra long alt tag. i've been (perhaps overly) influenced by the SE's using alt tag info in snippets in the SERP's.

however, the tabbing stopped on every graphic on the way to a category link... and many of the graphics are "fill", does this suggest, for the benefit of the blind, i should use alt like "skip", or "nothing here", etc.? (not being cheeky here, really want to know) i'd been using "top logo left", etc.

i'm no lawyer, don't even play one on tv, however, is there anywhere (in plain language) where one can find out if we, as small business webmasters, are in violation of the law? also, many fed regs are applicable to business over 25 employees, etc. so many variables. i tried various searches like "ada requirements for websites" etc without satisfactory results, a text search of a .pdf of the law (Public Law 101-336), returned nothing for “web” or “internet”.

personally, if the blind are shopping online, i'd like my site to be accessible to them. why wouldn't i? i wouldn't turn away any other customer that has a credit card that validates.

activist lawyers and judges are like leeches. necessary in the ecosystem, and balanced by the productive organisms, but still very distasteful.

volatilegx




msg:3078244
 8:19 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe this poor ruling, when appealed (have no doubt it will be) will be enough to overturn the Americans with Disabilities Act as unconstitutional.

buckworks




msg:3078258
 8:37 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well worth reading:

Dive Into Accessibility
30 days to a more accessible web site

[diveintoaccessibility.org...]

le_gber




msg:3078282
 9:15 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

ridgway,

First to reply to your alt question. If a image is not vital to understand a page (like a spacer bar or even some curve to finish off a header) use alt="" in the img tag. This will allow screen readers to skip the image while going throught the page - installed Jaws this morning, a real eye opener.

The empty alt will not skip images when you use the tab, for this you need to put the image as a background element or use CSS.

Secondly, as buckworks said dive into accessibility is a very good read.

Now for online places to see if your site is valid and accessible - you could start by using automated tools like (in no particular order I use all of them to start with - before doing some manual checking)

for html validation - if you use html strict it will pick up missing alt tags

  • W3C - HTML validation tool: [validator.w3.org...]
  • W3C - CSS validation tool: [jigsaw.w3.org...]
  • WDG - HTML validation tool: [htmlhelp.com...] - I like this one 'cause it allows for full site checking in one go

    accessibility validation:

  • Bobby / Watchfire WebXACT: [webxact.watchfire.com...]
  • Cynthia says: [cynthiasays.com...]

    Finally, if you use Internet explorer I would suggest you download the web accessibility toolbar from vision australis ( [visionaustralia.org.au...] ) this would alw you to browse your site and submit the pages automatically to all the above tools.

    [edited by: encyclo at 9:25 pm (utc) on Sep. 10, 2006]
    [edit reason] made links live [/edit]

  • jrookie




    msg:3078288
     9:27 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

    le_gber “The fact that you are here on WebmasterWorld means that you are willing to learn and listen to what more experienced people have to say (I do not mean that in a derogatory way).”

    No offense taken. I absolutely want to learn and respect the knowledge of those here. Thanks -All- in advance for your help.

    buckworks “What should really worry the astronauts would be depending on equipment purchased from a company that would rather make excuses than take the trouble to ensure quality in the details.”

    You must not know very many engineers if you think we are not detail oriented. I think you are missing the point of my comments. I want to spend my time on product design and quality, not worrying about getting sued because I didn’t put an alt= statement in the code to comply with an esoteric law. Not being immersed in this industry, as you are, this just becomes on more burden on production.

    Anyway enough of this for me… Let’s forge onward to productive discussions.

    varya




    msg:3078297
     9:44 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

    I'm thinking that many folks arguing this here didn't bother to look at the actual court ruling. The ruling only applied to a motion to dismiss on the part of the defendent (Target) and a motion for a preliminary injunction by the plaintiff.

    The question before the court was not whether or not the site was accessible or whether or not Target had to make it so. The question was whether or not the plaintiffs could even sue under the ADA.

    Wasn't precisely a clearcut victory in any case.

    "Defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint is GRANTED in part and DENIED in
    part. Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is DENIED.
    IT IS SO ORDERED.
    Date: September 5, 2006"

    ridgway




    msg:3078350
     11:05 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

    le_gber

    thanks for the info. i don't have alot of control over the actual structure of the site, it's all dynamic, but am going to ask my host & designer what their efforts are in this area, and forward the data you supplied.

    cheers.

    jtara




    msg:3078500
     4:09 am on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

    I want to spend my time on product design and quality, not worrying about getting sued because I didn’t put an alt= statement in the code to comply with an esoteric law.

    Then hire a professional web designer.

    You need to do rocket science, hire a rocket scientist.

    You need to do web design, hire a web designer.

    Gives new meaning to the term "it's not rocket science..." ;)

    A (good) professional web designer would have built your site with accessibility in mind. So, you could do rocket science without worrying about getting sued.

    Let us know if you need any help with space shuttle parts. I'm sure we'd all be willing to pitch-in and lend a hand...

    section 508 (regulations that apply to government websites and sites of companies that do business with the government)

    Er, would that cover companies that make space shuttle parts?

    pageoneresults




    msg:3078785
     1:14 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

    I don't recall seeing any links to the authority on this topic?

    Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
    [w3.org...]

    I've read the comments about accessibility being cost prohibitive. What kind of excuse is that? First of all, it doesn't cost any more to make a site accessible. If you do it to begin with, well, your one step ahead. If you have to do it after the fact, well, then you've not been keeping up with the latest or, you don't have the knowledge to do what needs to be done. I didn't when I first went down this path. It wasn't long before I was able to produce a WAI-AAA website.

    If you are using FP 2003, you have a one click validation routine for accessibility...

    Tools > Accessibility

    Murdoch




    msg:3079058
     5:49 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

    You know, I'm not blind but I've experienced similar frustrations surfing sites with my internet-enabled cell phone. Poor navigation, use of images instead of text, flash or other tech that requires a mouse -- these are serious handicaps for mobile users as well.

    And as there are sites that will soon have .mobi for mobile users maybe there should be .dis sites for those with disabilities. I'm guessing that the blind are the only real disabled people having true problems navigating a site.

    Instead of arguing whether or not it should be a requirement, maybe we should be discussing WHICH sites would be required to implement. For example I'm of the mindset that any site that takes money for services or goods (tangible or otherwise) should be compliant with accessibility guidelines. Or at least make a sister site that is more access-friendly.

    I don't think that Average Joe who has a site about his band or whatever (information only sites) should be required to follow these rules. Or maybe the line should be drawn at unique visitors per month? Maybe once a site becomes "popular" enough it should have to buck up and face the incurred responsibility. That would make it kind of fair.

    pageoneresults




    msg:3079067
     5:59 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

    I'm guessing that the blind are the only real disabled people having true problems navigating a site.

    Nope. This applies to many disabilities with sight being "one" of them. I know people who cannot use the mouse due to mobility issues. They need to use their keyboard. There are also those with cognitive disabilities. The list goes on and on. It's not just the blind. And remember, there are people with sight who are classified as legally blind so that is another group.

    Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities.

    2. Scenarios of People with Disabilities Using the Web
    [w3.org...]

    3. Different Disabilities that Can Affect Web Accessibility
    [w3.org...]

    Mr. Lee discovered that on most newer sites the colors were controlled by style sheets and that he could turn these style sheets off with his browser or override them with his own style sheets. But on sites that did not use style sheets he couldn't override the colors.

    StupidScript




    msg:3079204
     7:31 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

    djmick200: McDonalds and most every other fast food place has braille menus or special assistance for those who have difficulty reading the available menus.

    As has been mentioned, most ADA requirements placed on brick-and-mortar shops have become part of our history, and it's often hard to notice them unless you happen to need them.

    There is no extra burden being placed on small business websites that is not dwarfed by existing brick-and-mortar statutes. The only "surprise" is the awareness of the reality that the web is not exempt from these laws. The only people who are being required to bring their sites up to speed have been operating in a peculiar fantasy world which informed them that this was a "lawless" environment where they could save money by ignoring existing business requirements.

    Well ... it ain't.

    jtara




    msg:3079336
     9:42 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

    a peculiar fantasy world which informed them that this was a "lawless" environment where they could save money by ignoring existing business requirements

    I think a large number of people still live in that same fantasy world. The Internet is the new Wild West. Has been for a a few years, and it's hard to shake that image.

    After all, anybody CAN have Viagra (and many other, less benign drugs) delivered directly to their home with a few clicks and no visit to a doctor.

    We'd never have gotten to that point if more than a few people didn't feel they were above the law and that the Internet is so big they'd never get caught.

    There are many people who's ONLY business they have ever had is on the Internet only. They are simply ignorant of the law. (Which won't help them in court.)

    Local governments typically write-up a little phamplet for new businesses - and or post one on the web. For example, here is the City of San Diego's:

    [sandiego.gov...]

    Maybe they should start mentioning the Internet specifically - that the law applies equally here, and point to requires that are unique or specific as well.

    percentages




    msg:3082619
     9:02 am on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Look folks, let's make it simple.

    Send an average American to Paris for a night and challenge him to get a first class meal....he will fail....why, because he can't speak French!

    The rules are simple.....salesmen should sell as they wish, they shouldn't need to cater to "Special Needs"!

    If you don't want to buy from me......go somewhere else!. I don't have a duty to sell to you!

    And for all those that think I have a duty to sell to you, well you must be voting for the same law that says you have a duty to buy from me?

    [edited by: encyclo at 2:13 am (utc) on Sep. 15, 2006]

    Pibs




    msg:3082697
     10:42 am on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Generally I'm a libertarian, and I see little but hassle with this.

    Sure, sounds great when we're all lining up to sneer at big bad Target. But anything that applies to them applies to you, so let's quit the "a company like Target.." stuff.

    There are three major problems with pretty much any law that gets passed.

    1. It opens the floodgates to even more extreme laws.

    2. It invariably creates new problems that then "need" new laws to cope with the problems created by the first one.

    3. All laws tend to be influenced by special interests, usually the highest bidder and often in an attempt to raise barriers to entry if business laws. So yes, professional web designers will love it, 99% of the population that are quite capable of producing a site usable by 99% of the population will not be so keen.

    We can say for example your site must be readable by a voice-reader thingy. OK, so now we have to force every computer manafacturer to supply a sound card and speakers, no exceptions.

    Now we need a law that states anything shown on a TV ad MUST be spoken out loud as well. Imagine if someone didn't see the "P&P only $5.00!" bit?

    We must also of course have standardized keyboards or put braile on them. Anything other than an exact standard layout is forbidden!

    All software, such as Dreamweaver, must repeatedly keep squarking in a robotic voice in case you forget there's button you might want to click. Every button MUST squark it's function, what you just did and what effect it had.

    Firefox will be illegal because it doesn't speak by itself. What use a talking website without a talking browser?

    What, you mean blind people have to *buy* a different browser? That's discrimination that is! Oh here's an idea, let's fund a special browser project with taxpayer's money.

    We do of course need a massive army of pen-pushers to enforce all this.

    Of course just because your website doesn't sell anything doesn't mean you're not *discriminating*, so those at the back, stop laughing.

    Naturally light switches will have to squeak "on" or "off". Otherwise how would they know? Dimmer switches will have to speak.. "brighter... bit brighter.."

    Some people need wheelchairs. From now on all chairs must have wheels. This includes sofas.

    Some people are of course both deaf and blind. Thus it is your legal responsibility to ensure they have some way of knowing if they tab to here they can buy your golf clubs.

    Sure, some examples may sound silly - but just where do you draw the line and say "This is silly" and "This is not silly"?

    Is your website available to people in France? Where's the French version of your site? You DO have one, right? If you're an American company you DO have a Hispanic version of your site?

    Frankly I find arguments such as "brick and mortar stores must.." unconvincing, as I'm by no means convinced there is any moral argument to FORCE a company to offer such facilities. Like someone said, would you like a law that forces you to BUY at such a store?

    How about a law that says you must read every page of my site or a law preventing you from turning my droning audio off?

    A purchase is one person who has exchanged their goods or labor for money then exchanging their money for goods or labor. Why is it the guy with goods or labor must follow a whole bunch of laws and not the guy with the pre-exchanged money?

    If I'm "public" because I have goods to exchange why aren't YOU "public" when you have money to exchange? Why do you have a choice about buying my goods but I don't have a choice about selling to you? If I'm blind do you HAVE to buy from me? Why not? What, exactly, is the difference? Blind man needs my golf clubs, I need the blind man's money, what's the difference?

    If you have to be audio-ready, how about a law that YOU have to supply the audio? You DO want to help the blind, right?

    Would that be good?

    No, just because you can't see my website doesn't mean I have to make sure you like it. Lot's of people CAN see my website and don't like it, what makes you so different?

    P.

    Mindy




    msg:3082722
     11:23 am on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

    And as there are sites that will soon have .mobi for mobile users maybe there should be .dis sites for those with disabilities. I'm guessing that the blind are the only real disabled people having true problems navigating a site.

    The problem with this is the same as having text only versions of a site - people don't want separate because separate is rarely equal. If you can make something accessible - and it is simple once you know how - then not doing so is discrimination. And blind people are not the only ones who have issues. What about people with low vision or with cognitive disorders who may read a site and use a screen reader at the same time? There's loads of reasons to understand accessibility and to do it correctly on your main site.

    Instead of arguing whether or not it should be a requirement, maybe we should be discussing WHICH sites would be required to implement. For example I'm of the mindset that any site that takes money for services or goods (tangible or otherwise) should be compliant with accessibility guidelines. Or at least make a sister site that is more access-friendly.

    I don't think that Average Joe who has a site about his band or whatever (information only sites) should be required to follow these rules. Or maybe the line should be drawn at unique visitors per month? Maybe once a site becomes "popular" enough it should have to buck up and face the incurred responsibility. That would make it kind of fair.

    People are panicking unnecessarily. Nobody's suggesting for starters that Bob Smith's personal webpage has to be perfectly coded. Nor are they suggesting that if you miss out a couple of alt attributes or accidentally forget to label one form field you can be sued. But, if you are a business and you put up a public site that a non-disabled person can use, in the same way as a brick and mortar shop, then you need to take reasonable steps to ensure that as many users as possible can complete the main call to action of the site. If it's a shop that's find the merchandise you want and make a purchase. If it's looking at photographs then it's providing decent alt text. In the same way that nobody would think it was reasonable to suggest that McDonalds had to find a way to post menus in massive text or 40 languages in every outlet - because someone who couldn't read or understand the menu can ask someone behind the till for help - a website owner should accomodate as many people as he reasonably can based on the purpose of the site. For goodness sake, why wouldn't you want to accomodate as many people as you can? It means more business and goodwill in the community.

    Plus, as keeps being pointed out, why deny a massive minority group the ability to shop, pay bills, bank, etc., using the internet without help, why deny them that independence which they haven't had in the past *because* they haven't had access to something like the web when it takes so little time and effort to build accessible websites? How would you feel if someone said to you, "I know I could have built my site so you can buy your groceries without needing help, but I couldn't be bothered learning how so instead you'll have to rely on a friend/relative/carer to do it for you. It must feel good having to rely on others when at your fingertips is a way to be able to do it yourself."

    simey




    msg:3082779
     12:23 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Its all about setting a reasonable standard. Nobody who's reading this has a site that is accessable by Every handicapped person.

    pageoneresults




    msg:3082793
     12:35 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Nobody who's reading this has a site that is accessable by Every handicapped person.

    Wanna bet? ;)

    Pibs




    msg:3082824
     12:56 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

    "people don't want separate because separate is rarely equal."

    Brace yourself for a harsh and horrible fact of life.

    Ready?

    I warn you it aint pretty, you might not like it... but here goes. Blind people are not equal. They are blind.

    It's horrid I know. I'm sure someone somewhere would like to pass a law against it but the fact is, someone who's blind is.. well, blind. Partially or completely, blind. They don't see stuff. That's what blind means. You KNOW this, so why the insistence that they be equal? They simply are not. Period. Doesn't mean they're nasty people or their money's no good or anything negative about them, they just aint equal in the seeing department.

    Does every book ever published HAVE to be available in braile? Nope, so why does my website HAVE to be the electronic equivalent? Doesn't it strike you as somewhat bizarre that I could for example sell Amazon books that a blind man cannot read but I have to make sure he can read the *website*?

    Sure, he might be buying it as a gift. A seeing man might be buying it as a gift for a blind man, so what? A Frenchman might be buying it for an Englishman, does my site have to be in French?

    Some people don't have computers, do I have to print my website out and go deliver it to them? Sounds ridiculous, right? Yet a man who cannot see his computer screen, has to be able to see my website? He's managed to buy himself a computer, got himself an internet connection and now I OWE him a website he can understand?

    Why exactly, because I SELL stuff? That he couldn't use anyway?

    Am I forcing blind people to visit my site? No. So why's it OK to force me to be visited should they happen to feel like it?

    I see all sorts of good and moral reasons why you might want to make your site easy to access but I see no justification whatsoever in forcing people to comply with an ill-thought law that demands they make up for other people's disability.

    If you're blind and cannot see my website perhaps that's more to do with the fact you're blind than any action on my part?

    I'm not a hosting company, I don't OWE you a website unless I sell you one and you've paid for it.

    Harsh? Yes. Being blind IS damn harsh. I will indeed be checking my own site if only to ensure a blind person can quickly tell there's nothing there of use to them - but don't force me.

    P.

    [edited by: encyclo at 2:11 am (utc) on Sep. 15, 2006]

    Mindy




    msg:3082846
     1:18 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

    "people don't want separate because separate is rarely equal."

    Brace yourself for a harsh and horrible fact of life.

    Ready?

    I warn you it aint pretty, you might not like it... but here goes. Blind people are not equal. They are blind.

    Eh?

    Sorry let me rephrase that. People do not want separate sites because separate sites rarely get updated as regularly and most blind users will tell you they feel they get given less information.

    Why should they have to cope with separate, crappy text-only sites when a professional web designer who actually knows what he's doing can make the main site accessible quite easily?

    I think the hostility to the whole idea of building well-coded, standards compliant accessible sites points to the reason there needs to be legislation about it. People think they shouldn't have to think about the needs of others, that it's someone else's problem "It's MY shop I can do what I like" or "let them go to another shop if they can't access mine" but not only are 80% of websites NOT ACCESSIBLE so going somewhere else is not an option in most cases, but general social concern suggests that people simply should think about others. You know, in the 19th century they had to pass legislation to require children up to the age of 16 to go to school. The parents didn't want it because they wanted their kids working in factories and bringing in money. At the time it was considered a blow to the free market. Today, we realise education is invaluable and can be thankful that we were given that nudge towards something that benefitted society as a whole.

    Besides, you're not designing websites for yourselves. You're designing websites for your customers. So why design a site that automatically excludes up to 10% of the population from the get-go? Never mind the senior surfers with degenerating eyesight who aren't registered disabled....or the people using mobile phones, or PDAs or old computers or....

    pageoneresults




    msg:3082849
     1:20 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Let me preface my below comments with the fact that I am as passionate about this as the rest of you.

    Does every book ever published HAVE to be available in braile? Nope, so why does my website HAVE to be the electronic equivalent?

    It doesn't. And nowhere in this topic does it state that. We're talking about basic html guidelines here and nothing else. If the guidelines for developing a website were followed, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    Doesn't it strike you as somewhat bizarre that I could for example sell Amazon books that a blind man cannot read but I have to make sure he can read the *website*?

    Not at all. The issues at hand here are not only affecting the blind.

    I see all sorts of good and moral reasons why you might want to make your site easy to access but I see no justification whatsoever in forcing people to comply with an ill-thought law that demands they make up for other people's disability.

    The W3C Guidelines for all things related to this are now becoming more public mainstream. If you think about this, the laws being thrown about now will be the groundwork for the change that must take place if the web is to move forward.

    Developers, designers, consultants, etc. cannot continue to design as if it were 1995. The year is 2006. One of the biggest and most important things one can do is to learn basic html, the elements, the attributes, what each one means and how it makes a page whole. And then, one will need to learn basic CSS. With an external style sheet and NO inline styling and/or presentational markup, you've covered a very large part of the accessibility issue. As long as a user can override your stylesheet, you are leaps and bounds ahead of those who have pages full of <font> and/or inline styling. ;)

    The above applies to the 10 page small business site and also the 5,000,000 page big business site.

    In regards to this legislation, I'm all for it. But, I'm in no way supportive of the methods (the litigation issues) being used to achieve the goal.

    [edited by: pageoneresults at 1:27 pm (utc) on Sep. 14, 2006]

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