Saturday, April 16, 2005

Is your blog PC?

Politically correct, that is.

Do you have an obligation to make your blog accessible to the handicapped? What if a blind person wants to read your blog. Do you have a way to reasonably accommodate your blind readers? It isn't as far-fetched as you might think. Southwest Airlines has already been sued because they have not made their Website accessible to the blind.

This isn't the first lawsuit alleging that the ADA applies to the Internet. In 1999, the National Federation of the Blind sued AOL alleging that its service was inaccessible to blind users. Earlier this year, Access Now sued Barnes & Noble and Claire's Stores alleging that both websites violated the ADA. Both cases settled out of court. WiredNews

But here's the question I've not been able to get answered after looking at these pending lawsuits: how exactly do you make a site accessible to the blind? I mean, come on, what technology are we expected to employ?

Apparently, all you have to do to be able to sue is make the claim that a site discriminates simply by virtue of the fact that the visually impaired cannot see it. So what suggestions are made for ways to make the Internet accessible to those who cannot see it? None that I can find. I suppose if you required all Web site to have streaming audio for everything that is displayed, including audio descriptions of all graphics, maybe that could work. Of course, it could also put the Web pretty much out of business as ways to handle the bandwidth demands and the expense are dealt with.