Weblogs: Web Accessibility

A List Apart and Accessibility

Thursday, January 02, 2003

After being redirected into Jeffery Zeldman's website while looking for an accessible and standards compliant drop-down menu, and admiring the new look Zeldman had introduced, I followed a link to something titled Access @ ALA (Pity it forces a new window instead of letting me use the current browser window.

A list Apart caters for webdesigners, and with the current focus on webstandards, it was naturally only a matter of time before accessibility got the focus it deserves. While reading through some of the articles, there are a few relevant points worth jotting down.

From Access: Everyone wins: 750 million people on this planet are disabled, and 15 percent of the population has a disability "severe enough to interfere with work or otherwise constitute a serious handicap.". Although one criticism in the statement: "As a creator of web sites, I feel a responsibility to make my sites accessible to as many people as possible. This includes the disabled as well as those who may not have the latest browser version." -- accessibility and webstandards isn't merely for the disabled and older browsers, it also provides advantages for new browsers, such as those running on mobile devices. There are some extracts from the American Disabilities Act (ADA) which show that the Internet is included - contradicting the Judge of the Southwest Airlines case. Also the USDOJ ruling that businesses websites are included.

Although there is absolutely no argument in the pronouncement: "The more important the content the more accessible it needs to be.". Typical problems and solutions is a summarised list of the WAI's Web Content Authoring guidelines.

From a UK perspective: "Companies that provide inaccessible Websites could be in as much trouble as shops that don't have space for wheelchairs. (Internet Magazine, July 1999 ISSN-6428)"

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