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So the question is, do we ignore everyone else?
Giving Blind People Access to Graphics [inf.fu-berlin.de]
My Apologies to WebTV Users [harrycarter.com]
""... the benefits of accessible web design extend beyond the community of people with disabilities and an aging population since it enables low technology to access high technology. There are substantial business incentives for technology transfer in underdeveloped countries and for populations who do not have the "state of the art" technology"
Cynthia D. Waddell [rit.edu]
"The December 6th release of the free Opera 5.0 for Windows was met with enthusiasm from both users and critics around the world. Over two million copies were downloaded in the first month, in addition to the 10 million distributed in CD form to computer magazines!"
Opera Press Releases [opera.com]
I mean, the software upgrade is free! And if a person can't deal with that, well, I do bend this far -- I try to make sure that the text displays in a readable fashion, at least most of the time.
When it comes to access for people with disabilities, I put the issue to the client and let them decide what they want.
A contentious issue. (and I even took a walk around the block before responding ;-)
That is not what the statistics say. A closer to the truth interpretation of what the statistics are saying is:
"95% of the people connecting in the appropriate manner to our proprietary ie/nn counter code reported a user agent of ie or nn".
Most of those counter discount browsers like Icab, Opera, and the throngs of Amiga, and linux third party browsers in several ways.
a) many browsers report IE as an agent name just for compatability sake with PAS sites.
b) many counters are proprietary code (eg, look at WebTrends Live...)
c) most ad filtering software now ignores counter calls.
I think the truth is closer to only 70 maybe 75% of the users are using ie or nn.
You know how you can really tell? Load a page up with proprietary IE mshtml/dhtml and watch that hit counter drop 25%...set your watch by it.
If I can't get around your site using Lynx (a text only web browser), will a blind person be able to? How about a spider, which is really just another blind person.
A site that validates and gracefully degrades to the point of being navigable in Lynx should work in virtually any browser.
For instance, I maintain one site where the client is selling software. Their software demo section is going to be invisible to a Lynx browser, and the client could care less what a text browser will see. They want to pop their software into the eyeballs of a version 4+ browser user, and that's all that matters for their business model.
I also help with a site that serves a particular community of users, and it's password protected, membership only. It's a joy to just say "you need fully activated IE 5.5 for this site" and let it go at that.
The extra development expense for a fully "degradable" site does not always show a business return -- and that's where the crux of the matter lies, IMO. But the decision should always be made consciously and intentionally, not by accident.