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Comment by juha, on 7-May-2012 14:46
Agree about Stuart - very, very helpful.
You make some very good points about accessibility. As an aside, locking textual information into graphics and Flash objects limits its dissemination and usefulness to everyone, from machines to people. It's so easy to avoid as well...
Comment by gzt, on 7-May-2012 16:18
I agree. Accessiblity is part of good web design. Btw - your post made the Technology section of Google's NZ news page. : ).
Comment by Kyanar, on 7-May-2012 16:44
I couldn't agree more. Too many companies seem to consider accessibility as an afterthought (refer Sky TV finally launching closed captions) and it would be good to see them finally seeing it as priority. I have the good fortune to be able to see fine (with expensive lenses, but you get the point) but it could very easily be different.
As a side note, this post actually ranks above every single other post about the shared data plans. You actually managed to monopolise the top news spot.
Comment by Jo, on 7-May-2012 16:52
Really interesting post, thanks.
Comment by hellonearthisman, on 7-May-2012 20:03
Great post, Slingshot is also a very bd site when it comes to Accessibility.
Comment by Will, on 7-May-2012 23:23
I'm not blind, but I do like things done right - which means the crappy flash 2 degrees website also annoys me a great deal. It also doesn't work properly on mobile devices. It seems like they just got someone's 12 year old nephew to build the site for free :P
I do use and like 2 degrees for the other reasons you mentioned though.
Comment by Mark, on 8-May-2012 13:29
Nicely written article, but ....
You can't label a company as being inaccesible to those with disabilities just because you have been inconvienenced (sorry no idea how to spell that word .. or if it's a real word even!). People and companies cannot think of every single circumstance and have them all covered off, it's just not possible!
I'm sure 2Degrees (and most other companies) do their best to cater to as many people as they can, and the minorities that they miss I'm sure they will do their best to assist ... like you said you could just ring them up and ask, in which case a real person will be spending time helping you directly ?
Comment by Mark, on 8-May-2012 14:39
Meh ... I'm trying real hard to word this so I don't come across as a complete uncaring tosser, so please do excuse me if some does leak out.
You say the law says businesses cannot discriminate .. fair enough, but nothing you've written shows that they are discriminating, have told you to sod off they don't care about blind people ? Does their website have that written on it ? No they don't, they've just overlooked that not everyone who has the capability to visit their website can actually read it!
Should they also provide a Hebrew translation of the website ? Failure to do so would be discrimination to orthodox jews after all ... you have to have some leeway ... (and this is the tosser part) .. you are after all the minority and it is not reasonable for the entire world to have to be adjusted so that you can do what everyone else has to do, the world can try it's best but there have to be cut off points and things will always get overlooked.
Comment by chiefie, on 8-May-2012 20:05
The lack of persona profiling and reaching out to disability group for help on testing their website functionality, or cutting corner to cut cost.
Not acceptable and certainly lots of room for improvement.
Comment by stuartm, on 9-May-2012 10:48
Mark - your attempt to not come across as an uncaring tosser failed... :-)
Your opinion on whether or not the disabled should have the same rights as able-bodied humans is irrelevant, the law is pretty clear on the matter.
Comment by richms, on 10-May-2012 13:06
They cant even make your 2degrees work on a mobile - the very devices and service they are selling, using the cop out excuse to visit it on a computer.
the whole site seems to be written in some horridly inflexible broken framework. I recall once when I was looking at phones I did what I normally do and opened things I wanted to compare in tabs only to be bitched at by the website for using the back button. That seems to have been fixed somewhat but layout is still broken on mobile and many desktop configurations.
Comment by jonb, on 10-May-2012 16:02
I'm sympathetic to the problem, but I think singling out 2degrees isn't particularly helpful. They've fixed the show-stoppers like only accepting a Drivers License, and there are alternative methods to communicate such as calling them or going into a shop.
Universal design is a set of guidelines, and not a legal requirement. That is either a good or abd thing, depending on your point of view. A website is primarily a visual medium, and the ability to use tools to scrape the information into an aural medium is almost a happy side-effect, especially if you compare websites to print as a medium. Universal design, for a lot of projects, will unfortunately be put in the 'nice to have' category for most companies, I suspect.
There are hundreds of shops in Auckland alone that have no wheelchair access. Wheelchair users are forced to be 'informed consumers' and not shop at those places. I have a severe stutter at times but many places only allow me to interact by phone. There are many books that are never printed in braille or audio-books. Now with iPads lots of e-magazines are published as a series of image files only, and loads of e-mailers are sent mainly as images - Noel Leeming to name just one. Images on websites are often used as a method to try and stop screen scrapers from gathering product and price information for price comparision/shopping/competitors - in that scenario using might universal design be actively discouraged as part of the design process?
I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make, just that there are other issues to consider aswell as just changing a gif to a html table.
Regards, and don't give up the campaigning.
Comment by Nik Rolls, on 12-May-2012 10:56
A very well written article, and some very valid points.
I do feel like you're taking it a little too personally, however. Using images instead of text is not singling out those with a visual disability -- it is simply bad web design.
In actual fact is that it has only been widely considered bad web design in the last few years. Previous to that it was the norm as designers moved from plain-text websites to image-based ones, with image headers, buttons, etc. I still come across websites on the internet that are little more than baked JPGs.
Furthermore, it is still a fairly common practice for designers to build full-flash websites which are hit-and-miss when it comes to screen readers, because when designing in flash there is less of a feeling of obligation to use actual text.
So you could call this bad web design, you could call it work by an out of touch web designer, or you could call it an oversight. But I am pretty certain that there was no thought of cutting corners on accessibility for visually impaired customers when one designer decided that the easiest way to show a good-looking cross-browser table was to bake it into an image.