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  1. #1
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    The United States has extended the American with Disabilities Act to cover Internet Websites. The law basically states that any business can not deny access to those people with disabilities, whether they be parapelegic, blind, deaf or otherwise disabled.

    On the Internet, the most difficult problem to work with is blindness. This is because computers are primarily video devices. The problem is actually relatively easy to fix but requires a little work and design considerations by designers. The rewards can be intangible but will enhance your business in the long run.

    If that is the case why do few sites take this into consideration and what can be done to fix the problem?

    The basics can be fixed by careful design, use of ALT tags in images, and the discontinued use of background sounds.

    What are your opinions?

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    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Forums Administrator
    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    wluke@digitalmagician.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    I think that people ought to have ALT tags on their images anyway...although I don't know if I like the idea of providing text links all the time in replace of graphics...shouldn't the ALT tags suffice?

    I'm not going to go into my argument over forcing people to provide accessibility...I've posted my thoughts in the adjacent thread.



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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I always make a point to make good links,like read this Yahoo!News article on stuff because it makes it easier for blind people but also for everyone else. It's a lot easier than read the next section here.

    Also ALT tags aren't only useful to people with disabilities. For people on Lynx (the text-only browser), or for people who have images turned off (or are just waiting for them to load) they can also help.

    So making your site more accessible doesn't only make it easier for people with disabilities but also everyone else! You're at the loss if you don't make it easy for people.

    p.s. Also with languages--e-business sites can make a LOT more money if they provide their site in several different languages, obviously because there will be more customers.

    <<<FIXED URL TAG>>>

    [This message has been edited by wluke (edited July 07, 2000).]

  4. #4
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    What is the exact URL, Quinn? Right now your point to Yahoo!'s main page which really doesn't do anyone any good.

    Some good URLS are:
    Bobby
    Accessibility: the clock is ticking
    Web Accessibility Guide

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    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Forums Administrator
    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    wluke@digitalmagician.com

    [This message has been edited by wluke (edited July 07, 2000).]

  5. #5
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    I actually have Lynx installed on my machine to make sure that I dont overlook anything and I run sites throught bobby.org validator too. (that doesnt apply to intranet sites i am working with now)

    I also think that text-bases sites are the next big thing - i think it already started

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru CJ's Avatar
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    Webdesign is an ART. And an ARTIST has to have FREEDOM in what he does, else he can't work well.

    Why not work out a sort of small www for disabled? Or some site especially made for disabled persons and on that site than add several thing like humour and other 'life' stuff. When the 'disabled' don't find it there they could use a 'search the web' feature. Only text-to-speach browser friendly pages would be added in the database of that search engine.

    But I guess something like that will never be created because you can NEVER make money out of it. Or you would have to get some money of the governments.

    Well isn't my idea better than the law? Starting with a search engine database only for diabled would be a nice start. You could add it to Altavista for example as special feature (Family filter??)

    Christophe

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    http://freesources.net - the ultimate webmaster resources site

  7. #7
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    The Bobby Site is under construction at this time.

    If you want to use the web-based tool that analyzes web pages for their accessibility to people with disabilities you will need to visit the cast site.
    http://www.cast.org/bobby

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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard big_al's Avatar
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    I have rencently designed a site for the primary porpose to be compatible with the "Screen Reader" that blind or visualy impared people use to operate a computer.

    A few extra considerations I had to take is 1)The alt tags (as alot of people have already mentioned 2)Frames are a definite NO!! because the reader only see's the first frame. 3)Fancy menus may look good but the good old fashioned way of just having a text link is a whole lot easier to navigate.

    A site which I have found VERY useful is www.webable.com it is dedicated to providing services to the disabled community.


  9. #9
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    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>Originally posted by freesources:
    But I guess something like that will never be created because you can NEVER make money out of it. Or you would have to get some money of the governments.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Actually I wouldn't assume that at all. There are a lot of blind people, and they don't all sell pencils on street corners. Money is green whether or not you can see it.

    Besides, the kind of design that works well for the blind would probably also work well with PDAs and cell phones. And think of the public safety aspects -- with people using the web while they drive, wouldn't you feel safer if your sites can be read aloud to the driver?

  10. #10
    Misfit
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    Another interesting issue is people who are color blind. In the latest issue of Web Techniques they have an article about how people who are color blind see red and green as grey. It's pretty interesting...

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    Justin Stayton
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  11. #11
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Another interesting fact is that there is a large proportion of men, I forget the actual numbers, that are infact colorblind.

    As far as sites for the blind. Well I use alt tags anyways because its good for search engines. And I prefer tables over frames for most situations. But I am not going to go out of my way to make pages blind accessible, I just dont think its worth my time.

    I think "civil" rights gets sorta out of control in some instances. I am not a nazi or anything, I was actually legally blind before my surgery, but if you're handicapped you will not have the same access to things that non-handicapped people do. No amount of government regulations will change that. Are we supposed to make music for the deaf? Paintings for the blind? I consider alot of my designing to be artwork. I aim to create things that are visually pleasing. A blind person will never experience that.

    Chris

  12. #12
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Justin S: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>
    Another interesting issue is people who are color blind. In the latest issue of Web Techniques they have an article about how people who are color blind see red and green as grey. It's pretty interesting...
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I thought about that after I picked my colors for my site (2 shades of green). So now I am going to make the main text black and introduce a third color (haven't decided yet) to provide contrast for color blind people.


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    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Forums Administrator
    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    wluke@digitalmagician.com

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Sorry about those links in my post. They were to demonstrate how to link and I wanted them to show up as links, so I linked em to Yahoo! as an example.

    freesources, Web design IS an art but it is also a business. The Web is changing, and one way it is changing for the better is that it is a way for disabled people to be up on stuff--reading slashdot.org, etc., because they have usually not been catered too, take the local mall, for example: there are plenty of escalators but the one elevator is in the way corner. Even if you weren't disabled, a walk across a large mall is still a fairly long walk (in one of my local malls it's maybe 3 city blocks...Northbrook Court in case anyone lives near). Especially when you're carrying a lot of stuff as is usually the case.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru CJ's Avatar
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    DunconScott: How can a text-to-speach browser 'tell' a banner ad? And MAKING money out of disable person is kindof immoral...

    Christophe

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    http://freesources.net - the ultimate webmaster resources site

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I think that having an ALT for all your images is a necessity - I always put one in. Without one, the site has already become inaccessible to thousands of potential visitors.
    So come on everyone, put ALT tags in - its not much more work for you, but makes it a hell of a lot easier for the disabled to read your site.

  16. #16
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Originally posted by freesources: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>
    DunconScott: How can a text-to-speach browser 'tell' a banner ad? And MAKING money out of disable person is kindof immoral...
    Christophe
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If you use ALT tags on your banner it will say something like "Link to: Alt tag here", pause a few seconds to allow the user to click the mouse or hit the space bar on their braille keyboard and then continue. After the page is loaded they can also tab through the links just like you can in Internet Explorer today, that is an accessibility feature because many people can't use a mouse as well. So let's say you have an ad for ToysRUs.com on your site and the alt tag says "click here for great buys at ToysRUs.com". They would be told that and given the ability to check it out. Of course if you don't have an ALT tag they get "graphic".

    Also I was just curious how come its immoral to display ads on sites that are accessible to disabled people or designed specifically for them? The only way it would be immoral is if you provide false links and take advantage of their disabilities to make money. Otherwise there is nothing wrong with it. Disabled people have money, jobs, families and live life just like anyone else.

    I believe such a portal would be a great opportunity not only for disabled people but for others as well because it will bring knowledge and understanding. I also think that a SitePoint member is currently working on such a site and I wish her the best of luck and am willing to help out if I can.

    ------------------
    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Forums Administrator
    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    sitepoint@digitalmagician.com

    [This message has been edited by wluke (edited July 08, 2000).]

  17. #17
    SitePoint Guru CJ's Avatar
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    wluke. I meant site ONLY for disabled persons. And do you personally know a banner ad company that would want to pay for ads on a site which helps blind people. EG addresses of libraries etc.

    I ALWAYS use ALT tags. Well wluke could you check out http://freesources.net/private/new and tell me what I could do more for disabled persons. It's my new design.

    Christophe


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  18. #18
    SitePoint Guru CJ's Avatar
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    And I live in Belgium. I think that means I don't have to live by the American rules.

    Christophe

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    http://freesources.net - the ultimate webmaster resources site

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Banner companies don't usually care as long as they get their click-thrus...

    It's not immoral to "make money" from blind people...I get the impression that many would be insulted to hear such a thing...some don't even like being called disabled.



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    Chris Bowyer - Programmer in Training
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  20. #20
    Skills to Pay the Bills Sparkie's Avatar
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    ALT tags are a definite necessity, not just for the blind, but also for people with images off, or who dont care to see them load.

    In a lot of other countries, browsing with images off is how most people surf - just because of the cost-per-unit of having to wait to download the image.

    Apart from that, a text-only section of a website that uses frames could be provided for the handicapped.

    Running the site through BOBBY service is another good idea.

    Any other thoughts?

    Sparkie

  21. #21
    ********* Content Director MattAus's Avatar
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    Very interesting topic one I have spent a little time researching.

    Mr Belguim they're not necessarily US laws it's a case of discrimination and every country is open to discrimination.

    It's going to be a while for WAP to have high bandwidth, until then it will be text only.

    The comment of in-car browsing will be extremely relevant in time, I spend up to 3 hours a day in my car if I only I could surf.

    At first I used to think it was taking things a little far, but when you realise the average person reads 25% on a screen then you don't have to have very bad eyes to be considered blind. So our assumptions that only people with white canes are blind is well off the mark.

    Currently here in Sydney a blind man is suing SOCOG, (the official olympics organisers) because their site is not accessible to the blind. the funny thing is that to make it accessible it will cost $30000. They have already spent over $100,000 fighting the case and it's barely begun.



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  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru CJ's Avatar
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    Mr. Australia: Every company has its own laws and I searched for such a law and it isn't introduced in Belgium yet.

    I do make sites with ALT tags, no frames, etc.

    Christophe

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  23. #23
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    This is an interesting thread. My PhD doctorate is in Internet Accessibility, so please get in touch if you are interested on the subject.
    As to whether it is policy in your country or not - that defeats the whole purpose of the Internet! The Internet is meant to be global and avaiable to as many people as possible. Your site does not have to be text based to be accessible. At the end of the day if you produce a user centred design and pure HTML then it makes your site generally better all round, and also accessible.

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    Webmaster of Gib-Online Dot COM (or webmistress for that matter!)
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  24. #24
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Originally posted by freesources: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>
    wluke. I meant site ONLY for disabled persons. And do you personally know a banner ad company that would want to pay for ads on a site which helps blind people. EG addresses of libraries etc.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The medical industries in most countries are strong parts of the economy. These companies would do well to advertise on sites that cater to people who need their services.


    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>
    I ALWAYS use ALT tags. Well wluke could you check out http://freesources.net/private/new and tell me what I could do more for disabled persons. It's my new design.

    Christophe
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Only thing I can suggest is more contrast in your link graphics. Right now they can be hard to see for someone with normal eyesight, let alone someone who is color-blind.



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    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Forums Administrator
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  25. #25
    Hi there! Owen's Avatar
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    Being color blind myself, I would like to address this issue. Most color blind people are only color blind a little. (Just enough to fail those darn dot tests. what letter? there's no darn letter there. ) I don't see red/green as grey, but certain shades merge into the same color (I call it gred). Anyway, true color blindness (can't see red at all or only greys) is VERY rare. Only if you pick a very bad color scheme should you need to redesign.

    I'm color blind in (and these are the most common):
    red/green - please don't put red text on forest green background.
    blue/purple - purple is a darker shade of blue, right?
    purple (blue?)/red - clashes, no?

    I can tell the difference in a stop light - just certain shades (dark red and dark green for example) look the same. There is no way for a color blind person to tell you what shade of red or green we see (since color is contant and shade subjective)- it's an experience you will never be able to have.

    wluke &gt; Two shades of the same color should be fine &gt; my favorite design effect is two shades of green.

    There is so many types of color blindness that it is almost impossible to design for - if you use the colors above make one dark and one light - as you should anyway.

    Owen

    wluke &gt; I went to your site and it crashed Netscape 4.61 for Linux erasing my long answer. chris &gt; at a glance your site looked okay, maybe a little light, though (sometimes being color blind makes it easier).

    PS&gt; I hate it when I tell people I'm color blind and they ask "What color is this shirt?" Of course I can tell (It's just a different green). Stop asking that. It's annoying


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