So the blind may see

If you ran an internet consulting company, which of the following would you do?

  • Purchase software or extensions to make your web pages accessible to everybody.
  • Send your staff for courses on how to build usable, standards-compliant and accessible websites, instead of living with code that is archaic, bloated and difficult to update.
  • Alternatively, give your staff time off to experiment on their own and encourage them to learn newer technologies and languages such as XML and even FML.

Or is this something you never considered before, or don’t see as important? After all, you’ve a business to run. As long as the work’s done quickly, the images are nicely spliced up and the web page looks fine on Netscape 4, you’re happy. Training is expensive, and your employees can do without it.

As for accessibility, a web page is a web page, after all, and handicapped people really shouldn’t be on the Internet. Why bother spending more time improving on things the client won’t appreciate?

The last answer was a response my chief web coordinator from Project Eyeball received from a local designer / businessman (I can’t remember exactly) over two years ago. Of course I have no idea if anyone’s using a text-to-speech reader to view this site, but I do intend to make it more accessible to all even as I learn about accessibility. I haven’t quite passed the Bobby test yet, but I’m determined to get it right one day.

There’s one thing I agree with the US Government on, and that’s section 508. People can and have been sued for making inaccessible websites in (where else but) America.

… [ Apart from Federal employees, ] 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. Source.

Check out also the W3C’s Guidelines on accessibility.

Happy Easter, everybody. Let’s make the world a better place in the best way we can.


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