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#37206 - 10/15/02 10:37 PM Web Accessibility
Andy_Z Offline
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Another suit on Web accessibility. How many of us have tested our sites against screen readers, or even looked at basic accessibility standards? What risks do we have?
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#37207 - 10/16/02 11:24 PM Re: Web Accessibility
BANNED BY BOL MANAGEMENT Offline
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Andy, WOW! That's the first I've heard of suits relating to Web accessibility. There is no way to go beyond accessibility via the available browsers, as far as I'm concerned.

One of the basic problems with most web pages is that the coding is sloppy and the "screen readers" that blind people use don't read the printed material, they read the coding, so a real good plan at this point is to periodically test your web site for coding errors as a first and helpful step.

HTML and other coding error checking probably should be incorporated into an audit routine.

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#37208 - 10/17/02 01:23 PM Re: Web Accessibility
Andy_Z Offline
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There are defined requirements for Web accessibility, most of which were discussed here before. Government sites must conform to 508 standards and there are many sites with common sense guidance. There are also sites that validate your accessibility.

The reason so few have heard of this is because it is generally enforced through litigation. Your regulators don't have oversight for the ADA. But as the Net becomes an integral part of life, I believe compliancy will have to improve.

How much of an untapped market is out there?
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AndyZ CRCM
My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
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#37209 - 10/17/02 08:22 PM Re: Web Accessibility
Richard Insley Offline
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Just for grins, run a few of your pages through a review page like Bobby and see how many issues kick out. It's virtually impossible to produce a site that is up to the latest HTML specs and is also 508 compliant.
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#37210 - 10/21/02 07:38 PM Re: Web Accessibility
MackenzieS Offline
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Andy,
How would one go about performing this type of compatibility test?

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#37211 - 10/21/02 07:59 PM Re: Web Accessibility
Andy_Z Offline
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There are excellent validators such as Bobby, which Richard mentioned. You can enter a single page's URL and see if it meets ADA or the government's 508 guidelines. Bobby will give you the output of what is wrong and suspect.

There are software programs to test entire sites (one was offered on Bobby and I think later offered for sale) and to help as the site is authored.

Dreamweaver has a plug-in, but I don't know about FrontPage, Netscape or other programs. These help prevent the author from adding "problem" code. Some standalone programs are also available to test a site all at one time. Reports are generated specifying what is wrong and where.
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AndyZ CRCM
My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
R+R-R=R+R
Rules and Regs minus Relationships equals Resentment and Rebellion. John Maxwell

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#37212 - 10/21/02 08:28 PM Re: Web Accessibility
MackenzieS Offline
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Wow! From the go our site failed miserably! Let me ask you this, the 508 guidelines: If we had a vendor create our website, would they not be responsible for compliance with any government requirements?

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#37213 - 10/21/02 09:50 PM Re: Web Accessibility
Andy_Z Offline
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The vendor will be doing whatever you contract with them for. If YOU are a vendor to the government you may be subject to the 508 requirements and would then contract with the Webmaster/vendor to ensure compliancy. The Webmaster/vendor would not normally do this without instruction.
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AndyZ CRCM
My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
R+R-R=R+R
Rules and Regs minus Relationships equals Resentment and Rebellion. John Maxwell

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#37214 - 10/21/02 10:32 PM Re: Web Accessibility
Andy_Z Offline
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While I still believe this is the right thing to do, the judge disagreed with DOJs opinion and said Web sites do not have to comply with ADA.
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AndyZ CRCM
My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
R+R-R=R+R
Rules and Regs minus Relationships equals Resentment and Rebellion. John Maxwell

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#37215 - 10/21/02 10:44 PM Re: Web Accessibility
Lestie G Offline

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I agree - it's still the right thing to do. I'm glad the judge saw the potential for a horrendous number of lawsuits over all this though!
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#37216 - 10/23/02 11:50 AM Re: Web Accessibility
Richard Insley Offline
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Before anyone jumps on the 508 bandwagon unnecessarily, you need to realize that 508-compliant sites are hopelessly BORING. It's nearly impossible to make cutting edge visual devices satisfy both a sighted and blind audience. Govt. websites are SUPPOSED to be battleship grey, but marketeers will die if you tell them they're stuck with page designs that must pass the Bobby tests.
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#37217 - 10/23/02 02:41 PM Re: Web Accessibility
Andy_Z Offline
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Richard, agreed. But it also is not an all or nothing affair. Some things can be done to improve accessibility while not eliminating all the whiz bang bells and whistles that make the Web fun. So you can help without being completely compliant with 508 or passing Bobby.

When you see mom pushing a baby carriage up a sidewalk ramp, remember that people without disabilities use these "features" too. Some folks turn off graphics when they surf. On a dial-up in Baltimore recently I had to do that to speed my surfing. Graphics loaded slowly and I didn't have the time to wait. When the graphic has the proper ALT tags, I know what is there and whether I want to see it or not, as an example. So ADA compliancy, in whole or in part, can benefit many users.
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AndyZ CRCM
My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
R+R-R=R+R
Rules and Regs minus Relationships equals Resentment and Rebellion. John Maxwell

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#37218 - 10/23/02 08:31 PM Re: Web Accessibility
PatrickG Offline
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The judge in the Gumson case ruled in favor of Southwest Airlines. The judge ruled that the ADA does not apply to websites; the ADA only applies to physical spaces.

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