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Comment: Re:The market can't solve everything (Score 3) 544

by benenglish (#1563209) Attached to: Blind Sue AOL for ADA Non-Compliance

As the maintainer of a government web site, I can only say how much I agree. Those repeatedly posting that the web is a visual medium are just flat wrong. The web (and to a greater extent and more importantly the internet) ain't about pretty pictures or fonts only the designer of them can read. It's about ideas. It's a mechanism for communicating those ideas. And anyone who says "They're blind! Let 'em eat cake!" is not only heartless but ignorant. It is simply unacceptable for society to take a group of people who "see" the world in a different way and shut them out. Isn't that what all the Hellmouth uproar has been about? Saying "Blind people? Fuck 'em!" is the moral equivalent of saying "Plays Doom? Put 'em in isolation!" Neither condition is a good reason to cut people off from the rest of the world. And folks, I believe that the 'net has reached a level of importance, of validity, and of ubiquity that cutting people off from the online world is nearly the equivalent of shutting them out of the physical world.

I know my blind users appreciate the fact that I'm not trying to win any design contests. I'm just trying to communicate. Just like any other Any Browser proponent. :-)

As for the nuts and bolts, it's not all that hard to make sites useful to everyone. Check out the IRS web site for a look at a huge site that works in text only mode. And if you're open to making the sites you design more useful, try the basic information available from the Department of Justice page on this topic. There's even a fine page on the topic from the General Services Administration. Just because they're government sites doesn't mean they're bad.

On the flip side, of course, I think the folks filing this suit could have chosen a better place to try to make available for the blind than AOL. Suppose they get everything they ask for and AOL becomes totally accessible? What then? A whole new group of folks gets to look at the service and decide that it's crap?

:-)

Sorry. I couldn't resist the cheap shot.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

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