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  1. #1
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    Accessibility, what accessibility...

    First proper post, so bear with me if it's in the wrong forum etc...

    Don't know how many of you heard about the River Island debacle where they re-designed their site in Flash only? Basically they got slated in the news (rightly so) for not offering any alternative or a statement of intent to make it accessible, they now offer that statement and say an html version is coming soon (see http://www.riverisland.com ).

    Today a friend sent me the Diesel url to take a look at, she said it was an amazing new Flash site... So I have a look and all I see is a page saying I need to download Macromedia Flash. Now I have Adobe Flash player 9 installed so assumed I should be okay. So I try it in Firefox and IE a number of times but always the same message and in the same vein as RI there's no accessible alternative on offer.

    So I use my head and go straight to the SWF file (which is named in the download flash page) and of course it works fine.

    So not only have Diesel repeated the cardinal sin that River Island performed but they've also messed up their Flash sniffing script as well.

    When do you think big business will learn? Accessibility is a huge issue (surely they must have heard of it) but they still don't offer an alternative format. Granted Flash is lovely looking and very usable when produced right, but they need to keep it inclusive.

    I'm amazed Diesel haven't been slated in the press like River Island!

    See http://www.diesel.com

    ps. They seem to have fixed the flash detect script now, investigation shows that it appears to have changed... but still no accessible version!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23Musings
    When do you think big business will learn?
    They'll learn when they start losing in court rooms.

    That said, if enough people make a fuss then change can happen - remember the whole Odeon thing... well they've now got this on their revamped, more accessible site:

    We support the principles of the 'Disability Discrimination Act' (1995) and are committed to recognising and responding to the needs of all disabled people.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
    Blood, Sweat & Rust - A Land Rover restoration project

  3. #3
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Welcome to Sitepoint, what a great first post!

    This is in the wrong forum, we have a forum just for accessibility issues so I will move it.

    I would like to pick up on this issue of offering an "accessible alternative". I am a big believer in one version for all. It is possible to make Flash accessible, they just need to know what they are doing!

  4. #4
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    Hi Nicky. Thanks for moving, obviously didn't delve deep enough to find this forum.

    So is it possible to make Flash accessible to a screen reader now? I wasn't aware (probably because Flash is one thing I don't do myself). Great news if it is! One version for all would be the ideal way forwards.

    I think my point is more about the fact that another large company has updated their web presence with no thought for anyone who doesn't have the technologies they think we all need. It's not just disabled but people who dislike Flash, have older PC's, are on slower connections etc who they're discriminating against.

    Cheers!
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    http://23musings.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23Musings
    I think my point is more about the fact that another large company has updated their web presence with no thought for anyone who doesn't have the technologies they think we all need. It's not just disabled but people who dislike Flash, have older PC's, are on slower connections etc who they're discriminating against.
    Web developers have to struggle against tunnel vision as well. If I may offer a counter agrument, discrimination is a poor choice of word here.

    While yes River Island should have had an accessible site, their website is not the focus of their company. It is simply one customer service/marketting tool among the many that a big business already is employing. However, River Island by working towards an accessible site is actual showing more dedication to their website than most web developers today. Web accessibility may be a huge issue in our world, but in there world it is one of many very minor issues.

    Let's be honest here. Big Business is not to blame. It is the web development team that made it. We are the experts after all, aren't we?
    People don't read ads. They read what interests them,
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  6. #6
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    Good point! I would expect any agency or developers I employed to at least raise the issue and make me aware of it.
    ------------------------------
    http://23musings.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict dAEk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicky
    I am a big believer in one version for all. It is possible to make Flash accessible, they just need to know what they are doing!
    Isn't that only half the truth? For instance, older versions of Jaws have problems with Flash IIRC. What about textbased browsers, do they translate the Flash contents into text? What if I don't know what Flash is, should I install it because some site tells me to? Maybe I, as the visitor, have no installation rights, etc.

    I'm not saying it's not okay to use flash but one should know there can be accessibility issues by not having the information available for users who, for whatever reason, cannot interpret flash animations.

    I do agree with you on the "one version for all" statement, as long as the contents of that version is accessible without having 3rd party plugins such as Flash and Java installed.
    David Shamloo-Ekblad

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