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On a typical intranet, there is browser standardisation. That makes the coding easier.
If the company hired a visually impaired person
I work with quite a few v. small businesses. Most of them have no facilities for disabled staff...
...since none of them actually have any disabled staff :-)
Bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario. At the small business end of things a lot of people build what they actually need, not what would be nice to have.
I know that when I build intranets I make sure they're accessible and usable.
I didn't mean to imply that accessibility and usability weren't important, just that on a typical Intranet, compability for OLD browsers (e.g. NN4) might be a non-issue.
For instance, if the company policy says that Java is to be installed/enabled on all workstations then IMHO it's perfectly valid to build an Intranet site that requires Java... (?) This wouldn't necessarily be the case for a public website.
I've built Intranet sites that relied on NTLM authentication - with pass-through authentication to backend SQL databases which pulled data with the end-user's privileges.
The DBAs weren't prepared to allow plain-text authentication to the DB, so (at least at the time of building) this ruled out any browsers apart from IE. IE was installed everywhere since the standard deployment image was W2k + IE6 - so why worry about Opera or Netscape (or any other browser) in this situation?
Or am I missing something?
I well remember the days of being unable to access parts of the company intranet when I lived on the Mac island in the PC ocean, because the intranet was designed with proprietary MS proprietary that wouldn't work on my Mac. (I think it was ActiveX.)
Also, I would think accessibility for various types of disabilities would be even more important on an intranet, even if the company has no disabled employees. The first time a disabled person applies and isn't hired, they have a fairly legitimate-sounding claim that the company rejected them because it didn't want to spend the money to make the needed changes for accessibility. If a disabled person already works there and has trouble accessing information needed for their job, IMO they have a very legitimate claim.
Even if the platform is uniform, employees are not machines - some require different screen resolutions and font sizes to cater for their eyesight, different employees use different applications, some have trouble using a mouse...
An intranet, however, does not demand the same approach as a public website. An intranet application can be very complex and require weeks of training, whereas for an ecommerce site that you visit occasionally it is vital for the end user to easily understand how the application works first time without instructions.
In most cases, usability is tightly related to user expectations - if the site/program/widget works as the user expects, then you have succeeded.