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Blind Student Sues Site Owner Claiming Civil-Rights Violations Over Alt Text
Suit charges retailer's Web site cannot be used by the sightless
walkman




msg:349289
 12:44 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

"...Target's site lacks "alt-text," an invisible code embedded beneath a graphic on the Web site that a screen reader could use to provide a description of the image to a blind person, the suit said."

"...A blind person cannot make a purchase independently on target.com."

[sfgate.com...]

what if one puts the wrong alt text, and a blind person buys the wrong thing relying on it? Not trying to be funny, but it can happen.

 

pageoneresults




msg:349379
 6:22 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Charged with the responsibility of making certain the site meets the accessibility guidelines speaks volumes about their budget priorities.

I wouldn't really blame it on budget. The cost factor is a moot point as it is minimal. There actually is no cost if the site were to have been following "just the basics" on HTML.

We have to keep in mind that accessibility and validation are new to quite a few people. My understanding is that they don't really teach you this stuff when you are being licensed in a certain programming language. It's all about building things that work, most could care less about all the other stuff that goes into it.

This is why it takes a "team" of qualified professionals to assemble and maintain a site of this magnatude. As big as Target is, they should have various teams in place to maintain the site. Not everyone is going to know everything and communication is key.

Their main problem now is what to do. The depth of their current site along with the technology behind it, may impede their progress in making the site accessible. They may have to start "almost" from scratch. First thing that needs to go is the design structure, it is antiquated (I'm referring strictly to the actual tabled structure of the site).

RammsteinNicCage




msg:349380
 6:28 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

The reason for the lawsuit isn't necessarily about money (although it's certainly a nice, little perk), but it could be about change. If a company has to worry about spending a lot of money on lawsuits, they're likely to settle out of court and fix the problem as soon as possible. This one lawsuit, if it becomes popular enough, may convince other popular sites to make sure they're accessible - that's a win for people with disabilities (not just the blind) who will find it easier to use the net.

Jennifer

andrea99




msg:349381
 6:42 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is an increasing trend toward erasing disability with technology, I applaud that.

There is also an increasing trend toward erasing disability with litigation. Sometimes this is good for society in general, sometimes it is extremely costly and interferes with the general good and societal goals. Let's hope that juries understand that.

stapel




msg:349382
 12:37 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is one to do about graphics, illustrations, and schematics?

Suppose a site offers instructions on, say, wiring and soldering a robotics kit. An "ALT" tag would not be able to explain to a blind users everything that the sighted user learns from the wiring graphic. I'm told that, because of this limitation, links should be provided for each graphic to a page describing, in full detail, the contents of that graphic. What would be the "description" of, say, a picture of the "Mona Lisa"?

Will we, at some point, in the interests of "nondiscrimination", start discriminating -- by suing them and hounding them off the 'net -- against artists and technicians who are good with their hands (creating artwork and schematics) but aren't good with their words?

Is there a law somewhere that requires all printed books to also be published in Braille and spoken-word recordings and in, say, the top five or ten languages spoken in the country of origin? Should this requirement really be put on the Internet?

Just some ideas....

Eliz.

old_expat




msg:349383
 1:22 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

" Its slightly off topic, but the drive-through ATM machines in my area have braille keys.

Think about that. "

Very possibly a manufacturing issue. Why tool for, stock and assemble separate keys? But there is likely *no* additional cost since the braile effect is in the tooling.

buy_online




msg:349384
 2:06 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Aside from all the arguments about "doing the right thing," the practical consideration (from a business viewpoint), is that I would (and do) put alt tags in everything (when I can remember). Also, title tags on text links aren't a bad idea either.

Blind or not, if someone wants to shop online, why not add a little extra to help them? I know when I go to a news site for example, I would like to hover my mouse so I could get a preview of the story and would save myself the trouble of navigating to the page and waiting for it to load.

The short story is that everyone benefits with the extra info afforded by alt and title tags. It's super easy to have the database fill an empty tag when a page loads, heck you can have a coupon sitting in there.

F

jsinger




msg:349385
 4:08 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

How would this issue be affected by having a prominent 800 number on the site as an alternative way to order? We can usually explain our products over the phone better than any alt tag.

What about those who can't speak. There's always Internet Relay telephoning, but only Nigerian scammers use that! (I've never had a legitmate IRC)

balam




msg:349386
 6:50 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

A bit of this & a bit of that...

> The reason for the lawsuit isn't necessarily about money (although it's certainly a nice, little perk)

The lawsuit is seeking to be certified as a class-action suit, so not just Mr. Sexton would benefit from successful litigation. According to Mr. Basrawi, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, he expects "a couple hundred thousand" folk will join the suit. In the various articles I've read, I have yet to see a dollar figure attached to the suit. So, if RammsteinNicCage or anyone else knows this fact, I'd like to hear it.

Speaking of articles:

> 'Blind Student Sues...'

This seems to be the sensational headline - it's certainly much more dramatic than the "National Federation of The Blind sue Target" headlines. I did rather like the headlines "Blind find Web site illegally off target" and "Blind say they can't hit Target on the Web."

Regardless of the outcome of this case, I suspect there's going to be a web development team standing on the sidewalk shortly. Smart WebmasterWorlders should be prepping their resumes & proposals.

Speaking of lawsuits:

In a different attempt to make the (American) online world conform to (American) real world legislation, Craigslist is being sued. Too off-topic for this thread, you can read about it in this thread: Craigslist sued over housing ad bias [webmasterworld.com].


Among other things, I'm the webmaster & designer for a national, non-profit Visually Impaired organization. A good number of technical points on this general subject have already been well expressed, so I won't rehash beyond this: If you build sites that validate, use CSS for presentation, and use white hat SEO, then you're only a painless step or two away from making WAI-A.

Oh ya, one other thing: You're getting older - your eyesight's only going to get worse.

pageoneresults




msg:349387
 9:53 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Okay, I'm back at it again. I just had to see what makes one of the Target product pages tick. I've been through every byte of html code on a single order page (there is quite a bit of it). I've run various visual tests using a host of tools to present different variations based on...

  • Hide Images
  • Remove Images
  • Replace with Alt
  • Text Only

Get this, even though the page is inaccessible, there are still workarounds based on the various assistive technologies available. But, the one element on the page that is required to begin the order process is completely invisible. It is an input element image. Guess what that image has written in it?

ADD TO CART

The image is the largest on the page (in regards to actual text size used). It really stands out and for sighted visitor, kudos, it's in your face! But, guess why Target is being sued? For the visitor with sight disabilities (blind), the button is totally invisible. Inaccessible. It's almost as if someone went through the extra steps to make it inaccessible. Here is what happens to that button when I go through these steps...

  • Hide Images
    Three images remain; the GO button, the ADD TO CART button and a BUY BOTH NOW button.
  • Remove Images
    Three images remain; the GO button, the ADD TO CART button and a BUY BOTH NOW button.
  • Replace with Alt
    Three images remain; the GO button, the ADD TO CART button and a BUY BOTH NOW button.
  • Text Only
    Three images remain; the GO button, the ADD TO CART button and a BUY BOTH NOW button.

Basically they have three images on the page that exhibit bad behavior! At each level of breaking the page down for accessibility, those three images fail each time. Not only at one level, but at multiple levels.

It comes down to three image buttons on the page that make it inaccessible from a sighted users standpoint. I haven't even tried to start adding to cart. Hey wait a minute, I can't do that! :(

pageoneresults




msg:349388
 10:07 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Some thoughts to ponder...

Close Your Eyes

Take a break for a moment. Sit back, relax and just stop what you are doing. Now, close your eyes. Close them tightly so you have as much total blackness as possible. With your eyes closed tight, look at your monitor. Keep your eyes closed. Get the picture?

The Blind shopping online? How?

Now why the heck would a Blind person want to shop online?

That's a loaded question. The bottom line? Convenience. Not only the convenience factor, but for a Blind person, there is much more to it than that. The number one reason probably being safety concerns.

Why would anybody with disabilities want to shop online?

Oh come on, do I even need to answer that question?

Do yourself a favor, do your clients a favor and do the general Internet public a favor and start focusing on providing accessibility for your web sites. If you have been following these guidelines for developing websites...

HTML 4.01 Specification - W3C Recommendation 24 December 1999 [w3.org]
XHTML™ 1.0 The Extensible HyperText Markup Language (Second Edition) [w3.org]

...there is a good chance that you are accessible now. Just double check to make sure. ;)

lol! I was just musing that there are probably some of you thinking; "oh-oh, there goes pageone ranting about the W3C again". Guess what? This whole case would be non-existent if those involved with the development of the Target website had read the HTML 4.01 guidelines. Seriously folks, it is all right there in black and white (sorry, no technicolor at the W3C).

pageoneresults




msg:349389
 10:49 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Let's take the one button, ADD TO CART, and make it accessible. Here is the current HTML for the ADD TO CART button...

<input type="image" src="http://g-images.amazon.com/images/G/16/detail/buttons/add_to_cart.gif" width="149" value="Add to Bag" name="submit.add-to-bag" height="26" border="0" />

It fails for accessibility.

Here is the accessible HTML for the ADD TO CART button...

<input type="image" src="http://g-images.amazon.com/images/G/16/detail/buttons/add_to_cart.gif" width="149" value="Add to Bag" name="submit.add-to-bag" height="26" border="0" [b]alt="Add to Cart Button"[/b] />

And yes, describe it as an Add to Cart Button because that is exactly what it is.

Cost to implement?

Oh it took about 5-10 seconds to add the alt attribute and populate it. So, the developer opens the template, drops a variable in the alt attribute and were done with it.

But, they have other issues surrounding the ADD TO CART button that need to be addressed. For a fully accessible site, they should be using the LABEL Element along with a few other added features for those with disabilities.

References

Everything you need to know about the basics of accessibility is available at the last link above.

Using images to decorate buttons allows developers to make their forms unique and easier to understand. Using an image for a button (e.g., with the INPUT element or BUTTON) is not inherently inaccessible - assuming a text equivalent is provided for the image.

However, a graphical form submit button created with INPUT, type="image" creates a type of server-side image map. Whenever the button is clicked with a mouse, the x and y coordinates of the mouse click are sent to the server as part of the form submission.

If the server takes different actions depending on the location clicked, users of non-graphical browsers will be disadvantaged.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:349390
 12:43 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Suppose a site offers instructions on, say, wiring and soldering a robotics kit.

A blind person with a soldering iron? Too risky!

Now why the heck would a Blind person want to shop online?

I don't want to appear unsympathetic but I still cannot understand why a blind person would want to use the Internet to make a purchase? Assuming one was available, would it not be much easier to have a sighted person do this along with them?

Assuming one was not available would it not be better to pick up the phone?

pmkpmk




msg:349391
 1:35 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

P1R: Get a life! :-) Just kidding - great job in stripping the site apart. Looks like bloated CMS and unexperienced PhD's running their web-department. The same you get in many big corporations :-(

My favourite magazine recently had an article on accessibility. It is mandatory for government websites, but is recommended for commercial sites too. They gave a lot of tricks and techniques just like you did, but they pointed out one thing which I think is remarkable.

They say that almost no tools are available to CHECK a sites accessibility. Braille readers are prohibitive expensive (plus you need to "know" Braille too). And Text-to-Speech comes at a high pricepoint as well. Obviously a disabled person gets rebates, funding or the cost is covered by healthcare - but if you need to actually BUY these tools they charge you and arm and a leg. They pointed out one tool by IBM which actually has a free 30-day-eval version, but otherwise they were rather disappointed since a real live test is not possible except you are willing to pay high prices for tools.

P.S. I'm talking about the tools an acutal blind person would use too - not online syntax checkers etc. They claim the syntax can be accessible and still a blind person would not be able to use a site because of conceptual issues or misleading texts.

mdreher




msg:349392
 1:45 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

PageOneResults has pretty much nailed everything on this topic -- just a couple of other things here:

1. Why would someone who's visually impaired shop online? Easy - independence. Those who are visually impaired *do* want to do things for themselves... it's just that right now, most websites don't allow that to happen.

2. There are a variety of other issues with Target's website... which, BTW, should also raise flags for Amazon. Since it's Amazon's underlying technology, anyone who relies on Amazon for the point-of-sale website is equally liable here as well.

3. I think the other question that will be raised is whether *all* parts of a website must be accessible, not just the shopping cart. I've never checked Brett's site here to see how accessible the underlying forum is, but I wouldn't be shocked if that's the next wave of this issue.

I think P1R put it well - why shouldn't a website be accessible to anyone who comes by? If the internet is (was? but that's another story...) all about reducing barriers and equal access, shouldn't this be true in the websites we design?

BTW - There is a group called GAWDS that should be of interest to a variety of webmasters here. Their point is much the same as mine and P1R - accessibility should be par for the course, and will actually increase page rank, etc.

Liane




msg:349393
 2:15 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why would a blind person want to shop online?

I am amazed that this question was even asked. THINK about it! A blind person obviously can't drive. Taking a taxi, public transit or having a friend or family member drive them are the only other options.

If you have spent any time at all having to rely upon someone else to help you achieve even the most basic of life's tasks ... you would immediately understand.

If you could save yourself the time, cab fare or the need to call your friends/family for a lift and shop online instead ... wouldn't you do it? I would and have!

If you didn't have to run the inherent risks a blind person faces when having to venture out on busy city streets to go and do your shopping and could do it from the relative safety of your own home ... wouldn't you choose to shop on the internet?

Convenience
Independence
Safety
Budget

Is that enough ... because I could go on!

Aside from all the arguments about "doing the right thing," the practical consideration (from a business viewpoint), is that I would (and do) put alt tags in everything (when I can remember). Also, title tags on text links aren't a bad idea either.

Every time I build a new page, I do 7 things prior to launch:

1. Clean up HTML.
2. Apply Source Formatting.
3. Check Spelling.
4. Check in three different browsers to make sure the page looks right.
5. Check Alt Tags.
6. Read it three times from top to bottom to make sure it flows properly.
7. Run it through the HTML Validator [validator.w3.org]

What's the big deal here? I am a yacht charter broker, not a professional webmaster! If I can get it right, why can't the "pros" who built Target's site? Surely, Target are paying them to do it ... so do it right in the first place!

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:349394
 2:50 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you didn't have to run the inherent risks a blind person faces when having to venture out on busy city streets to go and do your shopping and could do it from the relative safety of your own home ... wouldn't you choose to shop on the internet?

Liane, not being blind I am perhaps not qualified to comment but I don't think I would choose to do this myself.

A blind person doing this alone would be solely dependent on the manufacturer's description of the item. Would you trust this? I think I would rather have someone I trusted take a look at it for me before spending my money.

Independence is one thing, getting suckered is another.

stapel




msg:349395
 3:01 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU said:
A blind person with a soldering iron? Too risky!

Blind people driving cars up to ATM machines is risky, too, and one hopes it doesn't happen often. But the activists have made clear that risk or reasonability is not the point.

Perhaps nobody blind would actually attempt to wire that robots kit together. The shade-tree mechanic who designed the thing is still (going to be) required to figure out some way to put those schematics in some sort of "accessible" form. And I'm asking how that is to be done.

Or is the "better" solution to sue the guy so nobody can access the schematics? If so, why is this the better solution?

Eliz.

Liane




msg:349396
 3:08 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

For heaven's sake. I have a serious vision problem though I am not blind ... most of the time. There are certain times (if I have been using my eyes too much) when much of what I see closely resembles Monet's Painting of the Houses of Parliament [images.google.com]

I buy stuff online all the time! If I go online shopping for "green cotton sweaters", I usually end up buying one.

I don't have to trust the photos for the "shade" of green because they are rarely completely accurate anyway. I like greens which lean more towards teal than lime and I do rely on the manufacturer's descrition to help me out.

The blind are not helpless you know and you seem to think they are capable of very little ... even something as simple as buying their own sweaters! I don't need anyone's help buying a sweater on or off line. Neither should the blind!

andrea99




msg:349397
 3:19 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why is there an objection to having two versions of a web site, one for the sighted and one for the blind? I see it as analogous to the wheelchair ramp, the wheelchair user doesn't insist that stairs be made to accomodate wheelchairs, just that an alternate ramp be provided.

It seems to me that if a "disability version" didn't have to accomodate sighted people too it could be made VERY friendly to the blind. Why not that?

And if this lawsuit is a bellwether of things to come people could make a lot of money by specializing in making "versions for the blind."

edited for clarity

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:349398
 3:44 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The blind are not helpless you know and you seem to think they are capable of very little ... even something as simple as buying their own sweaters! I don't need anyone's help buying a sweater on or off line. Neither should the blind!

With respect I did not suggest that the blind are helpless but it must be accepted that their capabilities are often limited by their handicap. While we should strive to make things as easy as possible I happen to believe that there are limitations to what can be done.

I also believe that there are much more important "targets" for campaigning on behalf of the blind and I cannot help but think that there is some hidden motive in this case.

bedlam




msg:349399
 4:12 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't want to appear unsympathetic but I still cannot understand why a blind person would want to use the Internet to make a purchase? Assuming one was available, would it not be much easier to have a sighted person do this along with them?

Assuming one was not available would it not be better to pick up the phone?

I think that this comment illustrates a conceptual problem that a lot of participants of this thread are having--both about blind people and web pages.

Aside from the issue of independence--one of the specific factors mentioned in the legal proceedings--there are the twin facts that a) blind people need have no difficulty with text, and b) web pages are inherently text documents. The internet could have been tailor-made to accomodate people with vision problems, but many (too many) web-page authors think of web pages as something more akin to photographs than what they are--marked-up text.

The problem here arises with the development of the shopping cart when no thought is taken about people who must interact with the application with either of limited visibility or text-only tools (not everything is a sweater; why shouldn't a customer be able to buy dog shampoo [target.com] from a non-graphical cell phone browser?)

As P1R has already illustrated in detail, surfing Target's site with images disabled shows me that, at least in parts of Target's site, I can add items to a shopping cart--both products and 'add to bag' buttons have alt text--but I absolutely can not check out. What kind of insane or incompetent developer doesn't work according to the 'suspenders and belt' principle when building the interface to a shopping cart? If concern for accessibility doesn't motivate accessible 'Buy now' buttons, I'd have thought that profit might. Again, I feel the need to point out that sites such as Target's are template driven. The shopping cart alone could probably be fixed by a single person exceedingly quickly...

Why is there an objection to having two versions of a web site, one for the sighted and one for the blind?

Because--and I'm sure some will find this an inflamatory statement--a page or site put together by a competent developer is either fully or nearly accessible at no extra cost to the project. The web is text. Yes, it's mixed with images and other media, but it's mostly text--and the blind understand text perfectly well, they just can't see it.

-b

buckworks




msg:349400
 4:26 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

While we should strive to make things as easy as possible I happen to believe that there are limitations to what can be done.

In principle I agree with that, but Target hasn't come anywhere near reaching reasonable limitations!

A lot of people in this thread seem to be missing this:

BETTER ACCESSIBILITY = BETTER SEO

Web designers who neglect to think about accessibility are neglecting a significant SEO advantage.

So not only are they being Not Nice, they're being Not Smart.

andrea99




msg:349401
 5:00 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why is there an objection to having two versions of a web site, one for the sighted and one for the blind?

Because--and I'm sure some will find this an inflamatory statement--a page or site put together by a competent developer is either fully or nearly accessible at no extra cost to the project. The web is text. Yes, it's mixed with images and other media, but it's mostly text--and the blind understand text perfectly well, they just can't see it.

This answer works in a perfect world, not the one we inhabit. Most web designers are not competent and/or are too lazy for this to work. To ignore this reality dooms you to failure, though you can take pride in your rectitude.

walkman




msg:349402
 5:16 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> BETTER ACCESSIBILITY = BETTER SEO

I wonder if the Search Engines see "too much" accessibility as spam. Depending on how many images you have, and how small they are, I could see how they woudl look as an attempt to spam.

"Add brown widget to cart"
"See brown widgets accessories"
"Related to brown widgets"
"Shipping cost for Brown widgets"

etc...

andrea99




msg:349403
 5:25 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wonder if the Search Engines see "too much" accessibility as spam.

This exact same thing occurred to me as I was considering the advantages of a "blind only" version and I realized that a separate page accessed with a "do not follow" link and provided with a "do not index" meta tag overcomes this potential problem.

Because search engines impose many unintended "penalties" and insist they are not really penalties but filters. To real people these are penalties...

pageoneresults




msg:349404
 5:32 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wonder if the Search Engines see "too much" accessibility as spam. Depending on how many images you have, and how small they are, I could see how they would look as an attempt to spam.

The only ones that need worry about this are those who are not following the guidelines for using the elements/attributes that they are optimizing for accessbility.

The alt attribute is abused so badly. Poor thing, out of all of the attributes available, that one is responsible for more accessibility issues than anything else.

The biggest problem people with disabilities face with the alt attribute is the abuse and incorrect use. And no, you don't keep throwing in widgets with all of your alt attributes. That is not what they were designed for. You should be using the alt attribute exactly for what is was designed for, to provide a visual clue to those surfing with images off. Now, not only is the visual clue there, but those using assistive technologies also get to hear those. Imagine what an over SEO'd page sounds like to a Blind person.

Another attribute that is abused and used incorrectly is the title attribute. Not the <title> element, but the title attribute which can be applied to many elements. When I first learned of the attribute, I did what many are doing. Take the actual anchor text and drop it into a title attribute. Well, that is incorrect. You should only have to use a title attribute if the link text does not accurately describe the destination. If you have to add a title attribute to a link because the anchor text does not accurately describe the destination, then you may need to rethink the anchor text.

There are two areas that Target fails at in this case, use of alt attributes and use of title attributes where applicable. For those not familiar with title attributes, they are also referred to as tool tips by some. You hover your cursor over an element and up comes the tool tip (title attribute).

Why is there an objection to having two versions of a web site, one for the sighted and one for the blind?

You don't need a second site. The first site is just fine. There is nothing inherently difficult about making a site accessible. It all comes down to education.

andrea99




msg:349405
 5:49 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

It all comes down to education.

Actually it comes down to a lack of education and the reality that the path of least resistance always wins, your rectitude notwithstanding.

Your purity of thought is god-like--and fails in this messy world.

[edited by: andrea99 at 5:56 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2006]

buckworks




msg:349406
 5:52 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

But if the so-called path of least resistance ends up getting you sued, life ends up being harder and more expensive.

Sometimes the true path of least resistance is to take more care with quality in the first place.

andrea99




msg:349407
 6:02 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

But if the so-called path of least resistance ends up getting you sued...

Well no. My solution of a second "blind only page" would satisfy the access problem and simplify execution.

It would be cheaper and easier to implement, which does appeal more to business than a solution that would satisfy a pedantic regulator.

Activists who sue over details are obstructionists and not interested in helping the disabled but in hurting business.

edit corrected transposed words

[edited by: andrea99 at 6:15 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2006]

andrea99




msg:349408
 6:10 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Moreover, packing all the access detail onto one page bloats it, slows the loading and wastes bandwidth.

The "blind only" access material is used by only a tiny minority, why should the majority have to endure all that delay and bandwidth when a second page avoids it. On a very large site the cost here is not trivial, particularly when many customers bail on a page that loads too slowly.

pageoneresults




msg:349409
 6:14 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The "blind only" access material is used by only a tiny minority, why should the majority have to endure all that delay and bandwidth when a second page avoids it.

Can you describe the code bloat that comes from making a site accessible? I'm not too certain there is additional code bloat. If there is, it is because the elements being used are not being used correctly to begin with.

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