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Is Blind Inaccessability Discrimination?

Discussion in 'HTML & Website Design' started by mdvaldosta, Mar 15, 2006.

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Is website inaccessablity to the blind discrimination?

  1. Yes, it's discrimination

    10 vote(s)
    23.3%
  2. No it's not

    27 vote(s)
    62.8%
  3. I'm not sure

    6 vote(s)
    14.0%
  1. the_pm

    the_pm Peon

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    #81
    (Just got some more anonymous negative rep based on this post - http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?p=715612#post715612 - the one where I called the guy/girl out for his/her ignorance. So, now we have an ignorant coward. Are there a lot of these on DP?)

    Summer, please take a look at my post a couple before yours and tell me how a screen reader is supposed to interpret the very basic, common situation I've laid out, discerning the names of two people in a picture given no alternative text. Maybe your friend doesn't like to be patronized, but do you think he would take offense to someone purposefully making the door to their business too narrow for him to come in? Again, it's not about accommodating a small percentage of the audience. It's about accommodating an even larger percentage of your audience than you are already!
    SEMrush
     
    the_pm, Mar 16, 2006 IP
    Dekker likes this.
    SEMrush
  2. dkalweit

    dkalweit Well-Known Member

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    #82
    The screen readers are obviously taking the wrong approach. They are reading html instead of browser-interpretted text. If they were to render the html, they could then read it in a left-to-right format, just as we do. Tables and all.

    As someone else said, it's always easier to pass the buck than accept you have a difficult problem to solve, and solve it. I haven't seen/used a screen reader obviously, but based on the reports here, it sounds like the technology is extremely inferior, designed by non-innovative programmers that depend way too strongly on people following rules in a non-regulated environment like the internet-- which is just foolish. Can you imagine how many things would break on the internet if fault tolerance wasn't built in? If browsers didn't show anything except 100% perfect html? If tcp/ip packets were assumed to be correctly formed and complete? If all hosts were considered 100% accessable? It's a wild world out there on the internet, and even programmers writing screen readers need to accept that and deal with it with innovation and ingenuity and not finger pointing.


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    Derek
     
    dkalweit, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  3. dkalweit

    dkalweit Well-Known Member

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    #83
    And what exactly is a description of that image going to do for the person who can't see it? Hopefully, if they're on the site, there's actual textual content on the site for them to read, as blind people browsing photo albums just doesn't make sense...

    The issue with "reading images", is reading computer-generated text inside the images, as is sometimes used on websites. There is very advanced OCR techniques that can do this with many different colors, fonts, background colors, etc. I used to work with 2 bright engineers who developed such a technology and it worked almost flawlessly in almost any situation. Don't tell me it doesn't exist...

    As for the 'security images' argument, that's bunk. Those are created to keep automated robots that work on a pure ascii/text level from reading the text. They actually have to make some of the letters extremely poorly formed, and almost indistinguishable by ME(a human) to be secure enough against OCR technologies.


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    Derek
     
    dkalweit, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  4. the_pm

    the_pm Peon

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    #84
    If eyesight is a requirement of what you serve on your site, then you are absolutely right. Your need to make your site accessible to someone with visual impairments is not high.

    Would you? According to this thread, this is the first time you were even aware of the existence of such requirements and standards, and you wouldn't even read them. From that standpoint, you don't even get the chance to bid, let alone accept the contracts.

    Maybe, maybe not. But making sites accessible is a lot more than making them screen reader friendly. That's just one item on the checklist to consider. That's my only point.

    Then there you go. You're off the hook. You create what you feel you need to create. That's fine. From the very, very, very beginning of the thread, I never said all sites and developers should be held accountable for accessibility requirements, only that choosing to ignore them limits the scope of what you can do in terms of customer engagements, and the act of making that choice is the exercise of discriminating, not necessarily in a good or bad sense, just according to the definition of what it means to discriminate (and I laid this out earlier).

    I think you're clinging onto that past experience too tightly, which is why you're having such a harsh reaction to the reality that things are shifting. In the past, these were non-issues. You are right. Times are changing.

    That's a pretty wide brushstroke you're using to paint people in the development industry. Are you sure you want to go there?
     
    the_pm, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  5. ViciousSummer

    ViciousSummer Ayn Rand for President! Staff

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    #85
    If i saw a picture of you and your wife, I wouldn't be able to discern the names either. Like I've said before, blind people can't see pictures in real life, why should they see them on the internet.

    Well, if Target had purposefully made there door too narrow to allow a wheelchair to pass through, or if they has purposefully made their sight hard to navigate for screen readers, then there would be a problem (and a valid lawsuit). But, since that is not the case...

    If you polled blind people at random, how many of them do you think would care at all that they couldn't shop on Target's website? Maybe 1%?
     
    ViciousSummer, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  6. FeelLikeANut

    FeelLikeANut Peon

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    #86
    The best I can figure of what you mean by this is that screen readers should take what little text they do have, render it all into a picture, like a visual browser would, and then try to interpret the picture. Which, in summary, means to take a difficult job, and do a lot of work to make it extra difficult. You only uphold my conclusion that you have no idea how these technologies work and no idea what you're talking about.
    And it's easier to talk out of your butt than to learn about the things you pretend to know. People and businesses are trying very hard to extract text from pictures. Your assumption that the buck is being passed is wrong.
     
    FeelLikeANut, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  7. the_pm

    the_pm Peon

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    #87
    People see with more than their eyes, particularly if they don't have the eyes to see. Don't they deserve a chance to know what's on the screen, particularly if it requires nothing more than seconds of our time to tell them?
    FYI - having content on the screen that is reasonably associated with the picture it describes is considered to be a suitable accessibility action, according to WCAG, and this replaces the need for alt text for that image.

    So already you're describing how you would take actions according to WCAG documentation to make a site more accessible. Excellent!

    Whether purposeful or not, the end result is the same - people not being able to use something. But if the standard exists for accessibility, then it must be purposeful. There are building codes that mandate dimensions necessary to allow for wheelchair access. If Target builds a building with doors too narrow, then either they have unprofessional contractors (and they are still responsible for the error), or they have chosen to ignore a standard that would make their store open to more people and would make them more money.

    Likewise, the standards exist for accessibility online. If Target doesn't follow them, they have contracted with someone who has chosen not to follow those standards, or is unaware of them (and Target becomes responsible).

    We can guess all day long, or we can remove all of the guesswork and just give them something they can use. Did you know that the same day the lawsuit was filed, Target brought its site into compliance? The very same day! Talk about having been lazy! Thsi isn't rocket science.
     
    the_pm, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  8. dkalweit

    dkalweit Well-Known Member

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    #88
    Bullshit. I knew about these requirements back in 2000 and 2001. Then, as now, I didn't have a demographic high in blind, and could not justify spending the time on something that would do me no good. If given requirements for a project, I fulfill them irregardless of how I feel about something. If I felt so strongly about something that I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't bid in the first place. Personally, I make far more money long-term on my own sites than I can whoring myself out for any amount of money.



    This thread is very much about the legal implications(hence the lawsuit that started this thread) of not doing this. This thread is about forcing all websites to be accessible. This thread is the first one where you've admitted it's OK for sites not to be handicap accessible.


    The last contract I had, ended about a year ago. Not the ancient past. As for 'times changing', I was well aware of such things 5-6 years ago. It's just not good business for everyone to cater to it, in my opinion-- nor that of my employers/contractees.


    Bidding on contracts, being paid by the hour to do their deeds, etc. Whoring out. I've been a whore. I've been my bosses' bitch. I've been there, and I'm still forced to play that part sometimes. It's unavoidable except for the lucky few who have escaped from it. We all feel guilty about doing it sometimes, but ya gotta do what the boss says or leave.


    --
    Derek
     
    dkalweit, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  9. mdvaldosta

    mdvaldosta Peon

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    #89
    Anytime a big company gets sued, whether the suit has merit or not, they'll do what it takes to appease the plaintiff or settle the issue outside of court. Publicity like that is bad PR, whether or not the case has any merit.

    You know, sooner or later people will have to learn personal responsibility. You can't just go around suing people everytime you don't get your way.

    Should midgets be able to sue car manufacturers because they can't reach the gas pedal? Don't they have a "right" to drive? It's not their falt their short.

    Why can't handicapped people sue Wal-Mart because they don't sell wheelchairs? It's not they're fault they're handicapped. Wal-Mart should appease them whether theirs profit in it or not, because that's the 'right thing to do'.

    What about nearly all restaurants not having brail menu's? Don't blind people have a right to eat? What's so hard about printing out a braille menu?

    What about TV manufacturers not selling TV's with braille buttons on them? Pffft... more descrimination.

    Where do we draw the line? This isn't about 'rights'.... this is about businesses deciding whether or not it's economically viable to cater to the needs of a small group of individuals.
     
    mdvaldosta, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  10. kk5st

    kk5st Prominent Member

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    #90
    That you and your Mac can't use a site is because the site developer is an idiot. You have to go out of your way to make a document inaccessible, especially to lock out a perfectly normal browser because its cabinet color isn't the proper shade of beige.

    Simply marking up the site according to the recommendations is sufficient to make the site available to all html-aware UAs (browsers), even Macs. :)

    If you are a professional web developer, how can you not be totally PO'd at the ignorant developers who give the profession a bad name by flaunting their stupidity by creating inaccessible websites, whether they discriminate against the vision impaired or the PC impaired.

    Hmm. 9-1-1 vs. knick-knacks. What about clothing and housewares along with the knick-knacks? Maybe they don't need to wear clothes, they're blind, after all. Do you even consider that shopping via the internet is the option of choice, maybe there is no option? What about the bank? Is it OK to discriminate there? OK, it's alright to to keep'em out of the store but not the bank? Just which fight do we take up?

    You're taking an insupportable position on this issue. If you are, indeed, a web developer, you are potentially causing hurt to a significant number of people.

    gary
     
    kk5st, Mar 16, 2006 IP
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  11. dkalweit

    dkalweit Well-Known Member

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    #91
    Nice strawman argument. I said nothing of the sorts. Do you know how a browser works? They interpret layout code(html) and turn it into human readable code, putting it where it's supposed to go. Why would the screen readers not either let the browser put things where they need to go and THEN read it, or maybe even interpret the html in the same way a browser does to put it where it goes? Linear interpretation of the raw HTML is ridiculous.


    And how many OCR engineers have you known personally? How much OCR software have you used or programmed personally? Have you even seen the code for OCR software? Do you know what OCR stands for? I can insult to-- but the reality, is I'm a software engineer that has worked with very intelligent OCR engineers, seen their code, used their software, etc.


    --
    Derek
     
    dkalweit, Mar 16, 2006 IP
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  12. dkalweit

    dkalweit Well-Known Member

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    #92
    Oddly enough, there are braille buttons on the drive-up ATM's, though... ;-)


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    Derek
     
    dkalweit, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  13. the_pm

    the_pm Peon

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    #93
    Umm...let's review my past posts:

    **********

    **********

    I've made concessions from the very beginning that it is both unpractical and unnecessary that all sites meet accessibility guidelines. I've only said that to ignore them when they make sense to follow is an act of discrimination through negligence and not good business sense.

    But by not having familiarized yourself with those standards, your words make it clear you are unaware that accessibility guidelines go well beyond the blind demographic. You don't cater to people who are blind, so you never bothered to learn the guidelines. That tells me you never knew that the guidelines are much bigger than how to create a site that functions for blind people as well as for everyone else.

    Who sayd I have a boss? Do you run sites that make money? Does that not mean that you whore out your creations for cash? I'm not asking you to answer this, I'm asking you not to belittle the people who offer development services to others for a living.

    Businesses turn to Web developers to create for the Web because these are areas of expertise where they need advise from experts. Define what you do however you want, but do not slap labels on the people who create for others for a living.

    mdvaldosta, there are answers to most of your questions for how alternatives have been found that suit the needs of people with disabilities. We're talking about making the choice to develop in such a way that everyone is catered to, and at no additional cost. It takes just as long to learn to do something the wrong way as it takes to learn to do it the right way. From there, creating something the right way in no way plays into feasibility.
     
    the_pm, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  14. dkalweit

    dkalweit Well-Known Member

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    #94
    You explicitly choose to ignore the legal part of the question, yet the original post was regarding the legal implications. At no time have you disagreed with the notion of laws to mandate accessibility.

    Using your own 'descrimination by negligence' argument, I can say you support this by lack of saying you don't.


    What other handicapped demographic other than the blind/visually impared is effected by web accessability? Text browser users? People who can't operate a pointing device?

    You have refused to give a basic summation of the requirements for debate, yet reference them, insisting that we all spend the time and go read the bloated W3C doc.


    If you're working for someone, either on contract or otherwise, you have someone that tells you what to do. Someone signs the checks.


    I absolutely do run site for money. I absolutely do whore them out for cash. As everyone else in this biz(and many), we're whores to the cash, either direct from customers or through employers/contracts. If you can't see that, maybe I'll need to go read those accessibility standards to help you out a bit...


    Grow a skin. Whoring out is an analogy as you're so fond of.



    --
    Derek
     
    dkalweit, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  15. the_pm

    the_pm Peon

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    #95
    Yes, my answer to the original question was "Yes" and "I'm not sure." Is that sucha crime? The poll question had nothing to do with legalities, and I addressed this as well.

    People with limited sight (not blind), people with colorblindness (not blind), people who are deaf (there are sections on multimedia accessibility), anyone with JavaScript partially or fully disabled in their browsers, people using non-traditional browsing devices, a whole lot of people and browsing circumstances are covered by WCAG.
    And my point was that it was an analogy that did not help this discussion. Stick to the topics, debate like a grownup.
     
    the_pm, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  16. FeelLikeANut

    FeelLikeANut Peon

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    #96
    Yes, I do know how a browser works, and your presumptions are wrong. Your primary fault is your misunderstanding of HTML as layout code. For instance, do you know XML? If so, you know that XML tags describe what information is, not how it will look. Various browsing devices take the information of what the data is and render it appropriately: a visual browser might render a chapter tag as big, bold, stylized letters, while a screen reader would render a chapter tag with long pauses before and after and enunciating more than usual. HTML is designed to work in much the same way. HTML tags describe what information is, not how it should look or visually layed out. A visual browser may render a top level heading as big bold letters (as we know from experience); a screen reader would take a much different approach for rendering a heading. A PDA might render a top level heading in a much smaller font than a normal visual browser would due to the limited screen size. And so on. Semantic HTML is accessible through all browsing devices because each can make intelligent decisions of how best to render the information for that particular medium. When you use misuse HTML tags because you like the way a visual browser renders it then you are destroying that portability for everything else.
     
    FeelLikeANut, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  17. Dekker

    Dekker Peon

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    #97
    The problem with it reading 'left to right' is that in most cases with table based designs, the main content is one <td></td> unit and the sidebar is in it's own <Td></td> all in the same row..so what you would get is

    The first sentence of content - first entry in the sidebar - second sentence of content - second entry in sidebar.

    So try making sense of Iraq's new parliament meets AUTOS Nasdaq 2303.52 -85.32 GO Careers and Jobs Illinois sues nuke plants over leaks Fiance Fights S&P 1,3062.12 +3.10 Dating and Personals
     
    Dekker, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  18. ideas_man

    ideas_man Active Member

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    #98
    How far has technology come in the past one hundred years? If people like you were taken seriously, the world would rest on its laurels and we wouldn't progress. The "it can't be done" crowd end up eating their words when some innovator comes along and actually creates it.

    As I said, it is a tough task... but someone will achieve it.They always do.

    As for it being my responsibility to ensure my work is interpretted correctly. I disagree. If I visit a site with Flash animation... it is my job to get flash player. Flash player being the tool in this instance, that I need in order to appreciate the content. If someone cannot physically see my work, then they need the right tools in order to appreciate my content. I have yet to see a site that lays on animated gifs on the off-chance their visitors do not have flash player.... the attitude always is.....if you haven't got it....get it.
     
    ideas_man, Mar 16, 2006 IP
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  19. FeelLikeANut

    FeelLikeANut Peon

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    #99
    Except, for the debate in this thread, the user has no access, NONE, to the tool necessary to use your site.
     
    FeelLikeANut, Mar 16, 2006 IP
  20. ideas_man

    ideas_man Active Member

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    #100
    A point I appreciate.... but that doesn't mean you change site design. You make the tool.
     
    ideas_man, Mar 16, 2006 IP