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  1. #26
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    well, the way i understand it, if a site provides a service (commercial and educational sites), it needs to make reasonable adjustements to be accessible in order not to fall foul of the Disabilities Discrimination Act...or am i missing something ?

    bobby is certainly not the "be all, end all" of accessibility (particularly as it involves a lot of "human checking" that cannot be automated). a good understanding of the issues is usually the first step in resolving accessibility problems on a site.
    Last edited by redux; Nov 27, 2002 at 10:02.
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  2. #27
    Ceci n'est pas Zoef Zoef's Avatar
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    Very interesting thread and I must say I agree with 'making the extra effort, and not just 'to be nice'.

    Doesn't it also make plain and simple commercial sense?

    Is there any data available about the percentage of disabled web users? Just that that might help convincing some designers to 'go the extra mile'.

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  3. #28
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    redux, I have yet to see this legislation applied to commercial sites. The SENDA act is as close as we have to a law that forces web develoeprs to create accessible websites. The problem with UK law is that it is case law, so until someonr takes a commercial website to court, there is nothing much we can do.

    As to being BOBBY compliant, nowhere does SENDA mention BOBBY! I agree that Bobby is not the be all and end all of accessibility checking. It CAN be useful, but it is certainly not involved in legislation in the UK in any way.

  4. #29
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    Here in the USA I found out any site that belongs to school or university it has to be Bobby approved. Its a law in the USA but commerical sites or personal sites there is no law.

  5. #30
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    No, that is incorrect. They have to conform to the W3C Guidelines. Bobby is of no consequence and is not mentioned in the law.

  6. #31
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    so US educational facilities have to conform to WAI, while US government only has to conform to section 508 (abbreviated WAI).. sounds a little unfair.

  7. #32
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by iTec
    sounds a little unfair.
    unfair to whom ? the users with disabilities ?

    as far as i understand it, educational sites are subject to 508 only as well...but hey, ianal
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  8. #33
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    Wait so govt sites have to be Bobby approved but univercitys don't have to be. What is up with that. Isn't there more people with disablities in universitys and they can't seem to find out whats going at the local college so they can get an education and make some contribution to this world and they can't do anything about it because they are blind but govt sites have to. Its not just unfair but stupid. I mean really. How many people look at govt sites over univercitys and local college websites.

    I read at my local college's catalog and it states "All colleges across the United States must be approved for disabality act for blindness, deafness and others. MiraCosta has been approved by Bobby, a automated disablies act passed in 1999"

    Thats right from my catalog. If I made SP mistakes I am sorry I had to type that not copy and paste that

  9. #34
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    Form follows function

    Aside from the fact that accessibility is a moral issue, a primary service of design is about meeting functional requirements (such as accomodating needs of certain user groups). It's our job to distill these requirements into a usable and sharable form that communicates a message with high efficiency. As always, a desired side effect is that the end product will also go some way to meeting any ambitions we have to create beautiful things.

    So, to think about the visual alone, and forget underlying functional need turns it by definition into "art" - not design. We often forget this, and offer a kind of hybrid design for art's sake as a result. We are the ones feeling good, not our end users.

    Most seasoned *design practioners* would agree that design is a creative problem solving discipline first and foremost. Clients have a need and a good designer will help them meet that need in a creative way - that's a big part of the buzz. Embracing accessibility, aesthetic and artistic considerations together is a great way of demonstrating your grasp of such a design sensibility.

  10. #35
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Originally posted by redux
    unfair to whom ? the users with disabilities ?

    as far as i understand it, educational sites are subject to 508 only as well...but hey, ianal
    by unfair i meant that it seemed unfair on the edu facilities to be legally obliged to meet WAI (as was my interpretation of what had been said) and for the government to not have to conform to WAI.

    btw whats ianal?


    Most seasoned *design practioners* would agree that design is a creative problem solving discipline first and foremost. Clients have a need and a good designer will help them meet that need in a creative way - that's a big part of the buzz. Embracing accessibility, aesthetic and artistic considerations together is a great way of demonstrating your grasp of such a design sensibility.
    I have to say i somewhat agree and somewhat disagre, I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that design is more then a visual thing, however a large portion of what is being designed by "seasoned *design practioners*" isnt usable and more so isnt accessible.. it is simply visual. In most cases it is the smaller more dynamic designers that are embracing design as being more then just the eye candy...

    examples are plentifull of large corporations spending thousands apon thousands getting profesional top level designers to build sites that dont even meet the simple points of accessibility such as alt tags.

    forlorn> bobby tests both section 508 and WAI guidlines, the two guidlines share the majority of issues, however 508 is much easyer to obtain then WAI level 3.

  11. #36
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    Point taken, but this can be achieved with a little thought, consideration plus a degree of passion for the craft and subject

    I work for a big UK corporate , and the team here are all highly professional top level designers who are notpaid thousands apon thousands....

  12. #37
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by iTec

    however a large portion of what is being designed by "seasoned *design practioners*" isnt usable and more so isnt accessible.. it is simply visual. In most cases it is the smaller more dynamic designers that are embracing design as being more then just the eye candy...
    i would posit that this is mainly due to the fact that, until only a few years ago, nobody really considered accessibility for websites to be important, and the whole discipline is still fairly young (which is reflected in the large ammount of confusion which surrounds the subject...most people keep throwing the word Bobby in as if it was the holy grail of accessibility, while it is certainly not a comprehensive measure of how accessible a site truly is - due to all the manual checks that need to be conducted). also, most tools which designers use badly lag behind when it comes to providing intuitive ways of creating accessible content (although the situation is slowly getting better), leaving it down to "coders" (using the term loosely for those who can use the technology, write their own markup by hand if necessary, rather than those who rely on wysiwyg editing tools) to clean up afterwards. so, in my opinion, "seasoned" designers may be excused to some extent, as the tools aren't readily available and the issue itself is still shrouded under a veil of mystery. the small, dynamic designers however - which i would suggest are a hybrid of designers and coders, i.e. they know their way around pure markup as well - who are just recently starting in this field, find a debate about accessibility which has already matured, compared to a few years back when the WWW was more like the wild west, and everybody could hack a fancy webpage together in no time without caring about compatibility, accessibility, etc

    anyway, that's my opinion...

    iTec: ianal = I Am Not A Lawyer
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  13. #38
    Posts rarely lloydi's Avatar
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    Nicky is right - there is no absolute rule about accessibility and this is evidenced by the lack of sites that are truly accessible.

    Some companies are making an effort though - the company I work for full time is very much behind accessibility (Nationwide Building Society - http://www.nationwide.co.uk/default.asp). We've really made an effort to get our sites to be at the very least Bobby Level 1 Compliant. We have not, however, gone for Level 3 / AAA compliance - this level really does start to affect the visual design, and we also have non-impaired customers to think about (oh and the management!)

    I think we have got the balance right - a site that is accessible yet still looks attractive. The Hoy Grail of accessible web design! However, we know that there is more to do, as we have some sites that are yet to be given the treatment (including some that are hosted on our behalf by 3rd parties - which makes enforcing this much more problematic!)

    As for those glasses - I assume that the earlier post about a virtual keyboad to be correct. And the usual things that we do to enable a site for screen readers (yes, there is a definite bias to getting sites to work for visually impaired/blind users over other disabilities) would not be wholly appropriate for people using these glasses. For this to work, you would probablyhave to use, to borrow a Simpsons term - a rebigulator (to quote Pofessor Frink: "Unshrink you! That would require some sort of a re-bigulator, which is concept so ridiculous it makes me want to laugh out loud"). Yep - you'd probably require slightly larger target areas to be clickable, which would probably mean designing sites in the same way you do for WebTV (http://www.microsoft.com/tv/working/...t/desguide.asp). However, I could be wrong - an these glasses could work qite comfortably without extra design considerations.
    Last edited by lloydi; Dec 2, 2002 at 03:31.
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  14. #39
    Posts rarely lloydi's Avatar
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    highly professional top level designers who are not paid thousands upon thousands
    That's my boss, that is (no, really it is!). I'm just gonna re-read his statement, bookmark it and wheel this out again at the next annual review!

    Actually, I think I'll take a screen shot - he can always edit what he posted
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  15. #40
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    Nobody answered my orginal question. Government sites have to be approved buy not univercitys or local colleges. Why is that?

  16. #41
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    Lack of a question mark at any point perhaps? Or the fact that the question is based on half-truths? Or the lack of country specific data? Or maybe the fact that it wasn't the "origin" of the thread at all.

    Government sites have to be approved buy not univercitys or local colleges.
    Approved by whom, and which government? I think most of the respondants to this thread are UK based, but I'll assume you're referring to the US.

    There are different levels of "standard" that US sites much meet to fulfill legislative requirements, none of which have a thing to do with "Bobby". As has been mentioned, gov't (or federal) sites must conform with the Section508 (of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998) rules. Information on the history and details can be found here.

    In summary:
    Section 508 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, they shall ensure that the electronic and information technology allows Federal employees with disabilities to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.

    DATES: Effective date: February 20, 2001.


    I think that since gov sites are aimed at the entire populous, and Universities and Colleges focused on just their faculty, the reasoning for having one meet requirements first (remember, it will almost certainly filter down to user level at some stage) should be abundantly clear.
    Last edited by TheOriginalH; Dec 2, 2002 at 08:31.
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  17. #42
    SitePoint Guru hurtdidit's Avatar
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    As it currently stands, Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act dictates that all websites created after September 2001 that utilize funding provided all or in part by the federal government must be compliant with Priority Two accessibility standards. Sites created previous to September 2001 (which includes, of course, the vast majority of governmental websites) have until June 30, 2003 to become compliant or risk having their funding pulled.

    That said, probably all state government websites and programs receive at least a portion of their funding from the federal government, and thus must comply with the above "rules". Every state has their own technical guidelines though, so keep that in mind too.

    I, too, am no lawyer (but I stayed in a Holiday Inn last night! LOL boo! hiss!) but do have several state government contracts so have learned in a hurry which standards I must meet and by what dates!

    Many developers believe it is only a matter of time until the federal guidelines are filtered down to the local and private level, and I for one have already seen that happening. And really, it only makes good business sense, after all!

    As for charging extra for accessibility compliance to be met on a site--you're darn right we charge for that! But when I'm talking about true compliance, I'm not talking about just basic ALT tags, either! There's a heck of a lot more to web accessibility than remembering to add descriptive ALT tags and using relative font sizes.

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  18. #43
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities

    That means that the person has to be part of some organzation like ETOS, or a Disable Program at a univercity. I see. If they are not part of a program then they don't benefit from this law. US = WEIRD laws

  19. #44
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Forlorn
    That means that the person has to be part of some organzation like ETOS, or a Disable Program at a univercity. I see. If they are not part of a program then they don't benefit from this law. US = WEIRD laws
    a non sequitur...i don't seem to follow your reasoning there...

    what it means is: if i'm 100% sighted, go to a page and see, say, the opening times for the local library as a nice flash animation, i should also be able to access the same information (the opening times) even if i'm completely blind. if the flash animation can't be made accessible, then an alternative (text only version or whatever) needs to be provided. i.e., whether i'm blind or not, i still get the same information and (more importantly) the same quality of information.
    in the above case, just sticking an alternative description there along the lines of "[a flash animation of the opening times]" does not make it accessible. otherwise a sighted person has an "advantage", as they receive more information from that page (the actual opening times) than blind users.

    a bit rambling, but i hope this clarifies the issue a bit.
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  20. #45
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    I agree with redux just putting a caption saying this is a Flash animation means nothing to the other end. I agree that probably your best bet would be to create a low bandwith style site like an HTML version of it using lots of ALT tags

    Thats what I was trying to get to in the beginning sorry about all the hasle redux.

    See thats where I think you should charge double for is something like that. Creating 2 different sites basically one in Flash and one in HTML. I had to do that this semester with some projects to get them Bobby approved and it was a long hassle and a lot of extra work.

    Originally posted by redux


    a non sequitur...i don't seem to follow your reasoning there...

    what it means is: if i'm 100% sighted, go to a page and see, say, the opening times for the local library as a nice flash animation, i should also be able to access the same information (the opening times) even if i'm completely blind. if the flash animation can't be made accessible, then an alternative (text only version or whatever) needs to be provided. i.e., whether i'm blind or not, i still get the same information and (more importantly) the same quality of information.
    in the above case, just sticking an alternative description there along the lines of "[a flash animation of the opening times]" does not make it accessible. otherwise a sighted person has an "advantage", as they receive more information from that page (the actual opening times) than blind users.

    a bit rambling, but i hope this clarifies the issue a bit.

  21. #46
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    I just found something that might put something in this thread.

    In DreamWeaver MX under Windows > Results, you can see what the W3C Accesibility options. There it shows you basically with Bobby approved LVL 1. This is a powerful feature into Dreamweaver.

    Again....

    Windows > Results > Validation

  22. #47
    SitePoint Evangelist Brandon Luhring's Avatar
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    Originally posted by redux

    just wait until they perfect the implants of "digital retinae" combined with these glasses...

    i know this won't help visually imparied people...
    sorry to bring this early post back, but they ARE actively improving digital sight for completely visually impaired people!

    Check this: Digital Sight

    Now that they have it functioning, it can't take long before blind people can see better than we do! ...night vision, manual optical enhancements, ZOOM... It's not far off... People with 20/20 vision will want to get implants before long...

    Technology like that, and the glasses that started this post are what will take over before web designers 100% adopt accessibility standards. Then, there will be little need to keep text browsers in mind when developing.

    -hopelessly optimistic
    Last edited by Brandon Luhring; Dec 11, 2002 at 14:51.

  23. #48
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Brandon Luhring
    Technology like that, and the glasses that started this post are what will take over before web designers 100% adopt accessibility standards.
    yes, web designers are slow that way....considering it will probably take the best part of 10-20 years if not more for the technology to mature enough to become readily available and wildspread (and even that is an optimistic estimate).

    Then, there will be little need to keep text browsers in mind when developing.
    what about those who won't be able to afford the technology ? i'm guessing that, even when perfected, this technology won't be free.

    also, one thing that many people seem to overlook (no pun intended) is that making a page accessible (i.e. to standards) has the side-effect of making the markup semantically correct and understandable to artificial agents as well, e.g. search engine robots and other such "AI" (in the mildest sense of the term) entities. the pages become machine-readable, and content can easily be harvested, interpreted and redeployed automatically. that is the hidden side of accessibility, in my opinion. it's not "just" about users with disabilities...
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  24. #49
    SitePoint Evangelist Brandon Luhring's Avatar
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    Originally posted by redux
    what about those who won't be able to afford the technology ?
    That's a fairly moot point... Those who cannot afford medical insurance probably won't be purchasing Internet access either.

  25. #50
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Brandon Luhring


    That's a fairly moot point... Those who cannot afford medical insurance probably won't be purchasing Internet access either.
    and how can you be so sure that, in all countries around the world, this will be covered by medical insurance ?

    on a personal note, i have to admit that i find the attitude of "let's change the users, not the system" rather arrogant. it takes a bit of consideration and basic knowledge for a web designer/developer to make a site accessible, whereas it takes huge expenditure in research and invasive surgery to give eyesight to a blind user (which is still way off in the future) - not to mention that this will still not solve the issue for people with other disabilities (a paraplegic user, for instance, relying on specialised input devices). are we to wait for science and medicine to regrow them a working spine too, rather than spend a bit of time learning about the small changes that can make a site accessible at least to a certain basic extent ?
    i do hope your original post was half sarcastic/tongue-in-cheek...otherwise i have to say: no offense, but your view is naive, to say the least.
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