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This is ludicrous


Guys, just look at this.

http://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resources/web-accessibility/uk-website-legal-requirements.shtml

If you're a web development firm in the UK, you'd better watch out lest you be accused of discriminatory practices against the disabled.

[EXCERPTS]
There's been widespread speculation about the new legislation being introduced under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which will ensure that websites are accessible to blind and disabled users. Try to find specific information about it on the Internet and chances are you'll come up empty handed.

The RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) and the DRC (Disability Rights Commission), two of the most renowned advocates for the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) and accessible websites, have no specific information about the laws and what websites specifically need to do in order to meet the legal requirements.

This final piece of legislation actually refers to service providers having to consider making permanent physical adjustments to their premises and is not related to the Internet in any way.

Section III of the DDA, which refers to accessible websites, came into force on 1st October 1999 and the Code of Practice for this section of the DDA was published on 27th May 2002. This means that the majority of websites are already in breach of the law.

The DRC launched a formal investigation into 1000 websites, of which over 80% were next to impossible for disabled people to use. They warned firms that they face legal action under the DDA and the threat of unlimited compensation payments if they fail to make websites accessible for people with disabilities.

It's widely believed that if, or perhaps more appropriately when, a case makes it to court that the W3C accessibility guidelines will be used to assess a website's accessibility and ultimately decide the outcome of the case. The W3C is the Internet governing body and its web accessibility guidelines can be found on its website.

The courts will also no doubt take guidance from the outcome of an Australian case in 2000, when a blind man successfully sued the Sydney Olympics organising committee over their inaccessible website.
[/EXCERPTS]

Estudiantin
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

What is ludicrous?  That the disabled should be able to access web sites just like anyone else?

Kyralessa
Wednesday, June 02, 2004


The imposition of this rule to every little site, if it falls under the perview of the definition of the term "service" under this law, is ludicrous because of the resources it'd demand. What's more, the two legislating bodies have enacted a law to whose implementation and enforcement they've no clue as of yet.

What's be the burden of adding accessibility to, say, JoS (it doesn't fall under the definition of a service but just for an idea) for:

-the visually impaired
-the deaf

??

Will it always be economically feasible, for smaller players?

Estudiantin
Wednesday, June 02, 2004


strike out the deaf bullet.

Estudiantin
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

It isn't ludicrous - it's an inhuman initiation of force.

While there is an argument that taxpayer-funded sites should be accessible (as one shouldn't be expected to pay for something without being able to use it) - there is *no* argument for the same rules to be applied by force to private individuals, companies, or organisations.

- http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~dhbayne/

Duncan Bayne
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I have used this a few times:

http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp

Bill Rushmore
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Why is this any more incredible or ludicruous than insisting public buildings can be accessed by people in wheelchairs

Apart from anything else ensuring that the site is accessible by blind people will also help for having the site accessible to other devices such as mobile phones.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, June 02, 2004


The perspective I am taking is of economic viability for small-scale service providers. Mandating a legislative enforcement that attracts a penal clause for not confirming is sort of overbearing on those who can't afford it. Did you read a majority of the websites are already under breach of law because the legislation was made effective from a prior date?

Estudiantin
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

This is the future - get used to it.

Interaction Architect
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

So why do google and all other major providers fail this "bobby" test?

Rob
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

We've had this in the US for a while - google on "Section 508."

Please recognize that this doesn't actually require major resources - there are text readers that can read content to the blind and visually impaired, and there are some minor design guidelines for other disabilities (like no blinking tags to help out epileptics, don't rely solely on color for information, to help out the color blind, etc). There are some navigation requirements as well, but honestly I think those are suitable for everyone (being able to tab through a form, not trapping the back button, etc)

For the most part, all that is required is an awareness of the guidelines and some intelligent design. Even Flash MX is 508 compliant.

There are even tools and sites to test for 508 compliance.

It's only a big deal if you make it a big deal. :-)

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

But is it correct to make it manadatory that I must include the blind as my clientiele? I am not talking of government services. I am talking of mom & pop sites. Why should I be mandated to want to have blind people visit my sites? And suppose I deal with the variously hued flora as my business?

.
Thursday, June 03, 2004


What about porn sites? Poor blind people. They *must* be entitled to some kind of aiding software that at least reads out to them with graphic descriptions of the pics on the site.

Just for a laugh
Thursday, June 03, 2004

No point in debating whether or not it's fair to impose this burden on businesses - it's been imposed. Similar legislation exists (or will soon exist) elsewhere in the EU. While Section 508 in the US only applies to government funded sites, chances are there will be some kind of further legislation that applies to commercial sites soon. Even if there isn't, many countries are happy to extraterritorialise their laws and require any site that's visible to them - ie the whole Internet - to comply.

Too many people think that if you site passes Bobby then it must be OK. That's not necessarily true. Equally, a site that fails a strict validation may still be accessible. It's as much about practices - such as having meaningful ALT tags, or meaningful alternatives for Flash animations etc - as it is about technology. Sure, your HTML needs to be better than it probably is, but despite what you'll read at the W3C, using tables for layout does not make a site inaccessible; you do, OTOH, need to make sure that tables that are used for data presentation are so marked with summary text. It's not that hard. My company specialises in accessible site builds, and beyond getting into a certain mindset and carryout out regular audits on our work, it hasn't required me to change my working practices to any great extent.

The law is about equality of opportunity; a site whose sole purpose is, say, something visual which cannot be conveyed to a blind person can become accessible by having a screen-reader enabled page that says so.

Neil Hewitt
Thursday, June 03, 2004

>What about porn sites? Poor blind people. They *must* >be entitled to some kind of aiding software that at least >reads out to them with graphic descriptions of the pics on >the site.

Ofcourse! An organization for the visual impaired here in Sweden organized porn cinemas and had an interpreter read out what happened in the film. It wasn’t software but a live interpreter though :)

I saw that on the news but I think the porn flick lost quite a bit in the translation, so to speak...

Notblindyet
Thursday, June 03, 2004

I heard that everyone was talking about me.

Lou D'Acriss
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Well, I just got a surgical treatment for a detached retina.

I now try to use the web/mail/... again (for the code editor, it will be later I guess) and am discovering ways to use things.

Not easy since I've got to use 72-sized fonts and so on.

Narrator is quite okay but doesn't work for web pages content ... I found  a tool to read parts of the text with TTS.

One challenge was to get this site to display since it doesn't works with the cefault scheme (high contrast) in W2K and IE.

All the pages are now using my default colors and sizes. I can tell you that I really do not care about the gfx but rather about the content.

Screen maginifiers do such since you have to move the mouse around and it is reallY bad.

I am self-employed and this is quite a hit on my income for several weeks but let's try to make the best out of it. I may have found the niche I was looking after and usability testing will be easy to do right ?

If anyone has gone through this kind of stuff, feel free to give me some insignht.

Phil
Thursday, June 03, 2004

This is addressed to phil.
The partially sighted guy here at work uses two screens (one 21", one 19" ) with a matrox G550 running the matrox mouse following "zoom" utility, so he has the 21" as a "super zoom" screen, having just checked over his shoulder he has approximately 12 characters across his screen (which by my reckoning isn't too far off 72pt).
Mail me and I'll see if he has any suggestions to pass on.

Peter Ibbotson
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"No point in debating whether or not it's fair to impose this burden on businesses - it's been imposed."

Simply because a law has been passed does not mean it is just. I certainly hope nothing like this is passed in the US.

MR
Thursday, June 03, 2004

This is old news and doesn't just matter in the UK but within the EC, Australia and such.

Its also not as big a deal if you use CSS in the first place.  If you use CSS and follow the mantra that content is content and presentation is something else then the general disabilities of sight and hearing are catered for. 

They may not be cossetted and pampered in their experience, but they can increase the text size without breaking the web page and use anunciators that don't give confusing information because the page was constructed using tables.

And yes, there will be equivalent laws in the US, there are some that argue the equal accessibility laws that already exist cover public information.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Simply because a law has been passed does not mean it is just. I certainly hope nothing like this is passed in the US."

Er...it was passed around fourteen years ago, actually.  It's called the Americans with Disabilities Act.  And everyone who decides not to like it always rails about the expense.

But as Philo points out, it's only a big deal if you make it one.  Is it a huge expense to ensure, as you're writing HTML, that your images all have alt tags?  And yet, as one example, some companies like to have an entry page completely composed of graphics, requiring you to click somewhere to continue, and with no alt text.  Something like that is inaccessible to the blind, and quite pointlessly so, since having an all-graphics page doesn't confer any benefits besides flashiness.  Using an accessible style would most likely be _less_ expense if anything.

Kyralessa
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Again, is it compulsory that every one *must* be able to buy from me? Why cannot I choose my own market segment and say explicitly refuse others?

.
Thursday, June 03, 2004

The corollary is that *public* buildings require access ramps, not *all* buildings (your house for example).

This ruling would be the equivalent of saying *all* houses should provide access to *all* individuals (visually impared, wheel chair access, access to people with no hands, etc).

Having said that I don't think it's that big a deal to implement -- stop whining and code.

~ ~ Dave

DaveG
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Why cannot I choose my own market segment and say explicitly refuse others?"

You can in certain areas, but not in others.  You can refuse to sell to people in certain countries, for instance; but (if you're in the US) you can't refuse to sell to people of certain races, or certain religions, or with certain disabilities, or with certain ethnic backgrounds.  That would be discrimination.  Certainly your marketing can subtlely _target_ certain groups among those, but that's different from actually _refusing_ to service certain groups.

Common sense does apply.  Anti-ADA people like to bring up the case of a blind man who sued because the city wouldn't hire him as a bus driver.  What they don't mention is that this is simply a suit that was filed--you can find some lawyer who will file suit about anything these days--and it was quite naturally thrown out of court.

Kyralessa
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Some comment I came across about building access was "Wheelchair access seems like someone else's issue until you have a large heavy parcel on a sack-truck to get into the building..."

Katie Lucas
Thursday, June 03, 2004


"Is it a huge expense to ensure, as you're writing HTML, that your images all have alt tags? "

No, it's not a big expense and it's probably a good idea to do it anyway.

But what chaffes many people is having this imposed by the government, rather than the market.

If my company chooses to ignore blind people then let the market dictate that I change it. Let the blind people go to my competitors.

But rather, we'll have another faceless government agency filled with semi-competent career bureaucrats policing an industry that they know nothing about.

Libertarian
Thursday, June 03, 2004

I agree with Philo in general, but I have seen some strange outcomes from ADA. They removed a water fountain from our floor because it didn't meet ADA requirements. So, instead of there being a water fountain for the vast majority, there isn't one of anyone. The building had to pay to have it removed and the wall patched up.

MilesArcher
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"If my company chooses to ignore blind people then let the market dictate that I change it. Let the blind people go to my competitors."

You, and people who think like you, are a perfect illustration of why the ADA was passed.

Kyralessa
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"You, and people who think like you, are a perfect illustration of why the ADA was passed. "

Hardly.

Are you even aware of the impetus behind the ADA? I'm curious only because you seem to have no grasp of the facts of the ADA.

The ADA was passed because "Barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, and telecommunications have imposed staggering and social costs on American society and have undermined our well-intentioned efforts to educate, rehabilitate, and employ individuals with disabilities"

Much of the ADA deals with the workplace. Providing equal access to jobs and public services is an entirely different thing than requiring that private companies make sure their websites are usable by the disabled.

And I'll add that people like you are the reasons we have burdensome government filled with fat, talentless trolls who subsist off the backs of those who actually do the work. So yes, let's just keep expanding government bigger and bigger until all aspects of our lives our controlled by people who are only marginally qualified to work the deep fryer at McDonalds.

Libertarian
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"And I'll add that people like you are the reasons we have burdensome government filled with fat, talentless trolls who subsist off the backs of those who actually do the work. So yes, let's just keep expanding government bigger and bigger until all aspects of our lives our controlled by people who are only marginally qualified to work the deep fryer at McDonalds."

I used to respect the views of libertarians...and actually I still do, but first I had to remind myself that most of them aren't this paranoid.

Kyralessa
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Which part is paranoia?

The part about an ever growing government? That's hardly paranoia. I'll leave it to you as an intellectual excercise to examine the rates of growth of both the Federal government and the US population. What you'll find is the a government that is growing at a much faster rate than the population is supposedly serves.

Or is it paranoia to assert that the average government employee is only marginally intelligent? There's plenty of truth to the saying "Those who can; do. Those who can't; teach. Those who can't do either work for the government."

Libertarian
Thursday, June 03, 2004

I'm amused, because:

(a) My wife works for the county government, and I have other family and friends who work, or have worked, for various government entities in this country; despite your stereotype, they're all of average or better intelligence (though on the other hand, none of them are elected officials; perhaps that's who you were referring to, in which case I won't disagree with you).

(b) I usually vote Republican, which means I should be right there with you in opposing big government.  And usually I am.  But not when it comes to the ADA.

(c) If you read further down the page your quote came from, you'll find this:

"Q. What are public accommodations?

A. A public accommodation is a private entity that owns, operates, leases, or leases to, a place of public accommodation. Places of public accommodation include a wide range of entities, such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors' offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers. Private clubs and religious organizations are exempt from the ADA's title III requirements for public accommodations."

It applies to a lot more than just government buildings.

Kyralessa
Thursday, June 03, 2004

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