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Posted: 10/25/2006 9:13:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 2:06:31 PM EST by Special-K]
From Yahoo News.

news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061024/ap_on_bi_ge/business_of_life


Blind Web surfers sue for accessibility By SETH SUTEL, AP Business Writer
Tue Oct 24, 1:45 PM ET



NEW YORK - "Links list dialogue." "Links list view." "Your Account — Two of 164." This is what the Internet sounds like to Chris Danielsen. Danielsen is blind. He's using a software program called Jaws that converts the text on a Web page into a computerized voice that comes out through a speaker, allowing him to surf the Web using keyboard commands instead of a mouse — the same way lots of blind people use the Internet.

In this case, his computer is listing all the Web links on the page he's on and telling him that the highlighted link his cursor is on now will take him to the "Your Account" section on Wal-Mart's Web site.

Danielsen, who writes a blog called "The Voice of the Nation's Blind" for the National Federation of the Blind, says accessing the Internet has been a "huge boon" for blind people. It's allowed them to accomplish a great number of tasks on their own that would otherwise present difficulties or require the help of a sighted person, such as banking, buying plane tickets and shopping for things like groceries and music.

But like any evolving technology, accessing the Internet has hardly been a smooth ride for the blind. Some sites can be difficult to navigate, particularly if they contain relatively few text links and rely more on graphics and other visual elements that screen-reading software such as Jaws can't interpret.

That's why the NFB, an organization that represents blind people, is suing Target Corp., saying that its Web site is inaccessible to blind Internet users.

Last month a federal judge in California allowed the NFB's case to proceed, rejecting Target's argument that its Web site wasn't subject to the Americans With Disabilities Act, a 1990 law that requires retailers and other public places to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Target argued that the law only covered physical spaces.

The case, which is entering a pretrial phase called discovery in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, could set an important precedent for applying federal accessibility law to the Internet.

Target said in a statement that its Web site was "committed to providing an online experience that is accessible to all of our guests. Despite the lawsuit brought forward by the National Federation of the Blind, we have always and will continue to implement new technologies to our Web site."

John Pare, a spokesman for the NFB, said most Web sites are far easier to navigate than Target's. In a demonstration of screen-reading software for The Associated Press, Danielsen showed that many links on Target's side were unintelligible to the Jaws software, and that the final purchase required the use of a mouse, something even the most sophisticated blind Web surfer would have trouble with. However, he was able to navigate other sites and purchased a CD from Amazon.

Jaws, made by Freedom Scientific, is a popular kind of screen-reading software, but there are others, including Window-Eyes, made by GW Micro, and Hal, made by Dolphin Computer Access.

Many Web sites already have made major progress in becoming accessible to the blind, and some, such as those run by the government, are required to do so by law.

Yet surfing the Internet is not always worry-free for the blind. Crista Earl, the head of Web operations for the American Foundation for the Blind in New York, said graphics that don't contain textual labels — which can be read by screen-reading software — are a common obstacle for blind Internet users, as are "forms" that are unlabeled. Forms are the little boxes where you insert data, such as a book title you wanted to search for.

The decision to hold Target's Web site to the same standards of accessibility as its physical store under the Americans with Disabilities Act was considered a victory by many advocates for the blind, but at the same time others worry that the ruling could be read too narrowly.

Not every business or Web site is subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act, said John D. Kemp., a lawyer with the Washington law firm Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville P.C. The ADA applies mainly to public places such as restaurants, retailers, movie theaters and health care institutions, explained Kemp, who has long worked on compliance issues related to disabilities, employment and technology.

For an electronic retailer such as Amazon.com, which has no physical store, the law is unclear, Kemp said. "There is no well defined policy in this area at all."

However, Kemp noted that many businesses, such as banks, see a strong business rationale for making their sites accessible, and have moved aggressively to do so.

Meanwhile, other retailers are also moving to adapt their Web sites to screen-reading software. Kelly Groehler, a spokeswoman for Best Buy Co., says the company has made a number of changes to its site since late last year, including incorporating "alt tags" — or text that labels items like graphics — into its site.

Best Buy also moved code for drop-down menus to the bottom of the page, where it's less likely to duplicate other elements on the page. "We're trying to be proactive here," Groehler said. Walmart.com spokeswoman Amy Colella says the site has made sure it is "reasonably accessible" to the blind.

Other retailers are making similar efforts, but it remains a challenge due to the continuing evolution in the technologies used by blind people to surf the Internet, says Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation for online retailers.

"As the retailers' Web sites continue to evolve to stay competitive in the marketplace, sometimes the technologies necessary to do that are a little bit ahead of where the screen-readers are," Silverman said. "It's a very fast-moving environment. Retailers want to serve all their customers, including blind people."

Internet search giant Google Inc. is getting into the act as well. In July it launched a project to identify and rank Web sites that offer significant accessibility to the blind.

As more information and services migrate online, keeping access open to it is of paramount importance to advocates for the blind.

"The blind have more access to information than they ever had in history — but that's only true to the extent that Web accessibility is maintained," Danielsen said. "The technology is out there, and we don't need barriers to be put in our way. Give us a way in."






Personally, I think this is BS. While it makes business sence to make your websites as user friendly as possible (you make more money that way) I think it is horseshit that someone can sue and force you to make your website in the way they want it, or to make it compatable with someone elses website translation program for the blind.

Of course, it was in Commiefornia, so I guess it was to be expected.

-K
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:15:46 AM EST
Hey dumbass, your blind. Get a fucking book on tape and shut up. The world is not here to please you.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:16:18 AM EST
I absolutely abhor making any private individual cater to anyone elses needs, or wants.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:18:56 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 9:19:49 AM EST by osprey21]
I see... said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.


yes I know i'm going to hell
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:21:24 AM EST
I didn't know the blind had computers. I thought they were all in some lighthouse assembling pens.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:21:49 AM EST
I wonder how they do internet pron for the blind
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:22:03 AM EST
My wife's grandfather was blind the last 25 or so years of his life. I can't imagine him pulling some BS like this, he accepted his disability and made the best of it. He continued working as the director of a zoo and was an avid trap collector. Yes that's right, traps!
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:22:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By DV8:
I didn't know the blind had computers. I thought they were all in some lighthouse assembling pens.




Not funny.


However, I did manage to get booted out of borders once for trying to teach the SEC braille!
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:23:59 AM EST

Originally Posted By DV8:
I didn't know the blind had computers. I thought they were all in some lighthouse assembling pens.


I heard they test new lightbulbs.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:24:02 AM EST

Originally Posted By DV8:
I didn't know the blind had computers. I thought they were all in some lighthouse assembling pens.




I thought it was odd that they assemble wall clocks, too. I half expected a few to be upside-down...
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:24:11 AM EST
they're private companies. They don't have to cater to anyone or any group that they don't want to.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:24:57 AM EST
I am legally deaf. Can I sue music CD makers for not making deaf friendly music CDs?

What, I can't hear you!
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:25:28 AM EST
"Activist" + sleezy lawyer = opportunity to extort cash.

Give us $10K and we will go away, or pay $250K+ in legal fees. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:25:31 AM EST

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
they're private companies. They don't have to cater to anyone or any group that they don't want to.


The Federal Government has said otherwise on many occasions.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:25:39 AM EST
this is a limitation of technology and its industry. you cant expect companies to dumb-down their websites so a program can verbalize them.
but heres another angle. they are only attacking COMPANIES!! companies sell something. a product, a service, whatever. companies have phones, usually staffed by real people standing by 24/7 to take your order. these companies might actually be satisfying their alleged requirments under ADA (even though that accusation is bullshit).
Dont bitch because you cant listen to a website. you can hear, and you can talk. pick up the phone and take advantage of the accomodations the company puts in place for you.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:26:34 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 9:28:05 AM EST by John_Wayne777]
Judicially reviewed web design....

Yeah. That's what the founders intended.

Next people who can't move their arms well will sue because places where you have to click with the mouse aren't "convenient" for them.

Epileptics will sue anyone who uses flash animation.

People with ED will sue porn sites for not providing more "stimulation"....
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:26:54 AM EST
They can read the braille on my ass. It says "KISS HERE"
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:27:58 AM EST
thats the good ole american way........sueing
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:28:10 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 9:29:42 AM EST by q3131]
blind people suck.
they are the worst of the cripples.
even worse than midgets.

ETA: anyone have the "I can't see shit" African pic?
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:36:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By Cazach:
"Activist" + sleezy lawyer = opportunity to extort cash.

Give us $10K and we will go away, or pay $250K+ in legal fees. Repeat, repeat, repeat.


We had a similar financial opportunity from a professional 'victim' and his personal lawyer. They cruised thru the county and sued every restaurant without ADA compliant bathrooms. They managed to close 3 restaurants that were teatering on the $ brink. Put alot of people out of work. I think they put about $50,000 in their own pockets -- a pretty nice haul.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:38:07 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 9:39:03 AM EST by Cazach]

Originally Posted By Partisan:

Originally Posted By Cazach:
"Activist" + sleezy lawyer = opportunity to extort cash.

Give us $10K and we will go away, or pay $250K+ in legal fees. Repeat, repeat, repeat.


We had a similar financial opportunity from a professional 'victim' and his personal lawyer. They cruised thru the county and sued every restaurant without ADA compliant bathrooms. They managed to close 3 restaurants that were teatering on the $ brink. Put alot of people out of work. I think they put about $50,000 in their own pockets -- a pretty nice haul.


Are these the guys John & Ken have been talking about for several weeks? $4000 extortion because the mirror in the bathroom was an inch too high, etc.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:39:20 AM EST

Originally Posted By q3131:
blind people suck.
they are the worst of the cripples.
even worse than midgets.

ETA: anyone have the "I can't see shit" African pic?


I hope you're joking.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:42:10 AM EST

Originally Posted By Cazach:

Originally Posted By Partisan:

Originally Posted By Cazach:
"Activist" + sleezy lawyer = opportunity to extort cash.

Give us $10K and we will go away, or pay $250K+ in legal fees. Repeat, repeat, repeat.


We had a similar financial opportunity from a professional 'victim' and his personal lawyer. They cruised thru the county and sued every restaurant without ADA compliant bathrooms. They managed to close 3 restaurants that were teatering on the $ brink. Put alot of people out of work. I think they put about $50,000 in their own pockets -- a pretty nice haul.


Are these the guys John & Ken have been talking about for several weeks? $4000 extortion because the mirror in the bathroom was an inch too high, etc.


Possibly the same guys. Their base of operations is somewhere in the South Bay ( Campbell maybe? ) but they are a hit and run group. I've heard stories of them hitting anywhere in the entire state. Parasitic lawyer scum should be hunted to extinction.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:43:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By q3131:
blind people suck.
they are the worst of the cripples.
even worse than midgets.

ETA: anyone have the "I can't see shit" African pic?


Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:45:25 AM EST
Some years ago at the museum downtown, I saw a piecwe of plywood with a huge hole in it. To board the submarine there you had to be able to go through the hole.

There was a group of 5 guys there, one of whom was wheelchair bound.

The guys that were capable horsed the wheelchair bound guy through the hole and told the museum people that they'd take care of him. The guy got his tour.

That's what things SHOULD be like.

Years ago, I had a blind neighbor. He taught me the meaning of real courage. I took him to the polls a couple of times.


I ought to post about him sometime.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:46:43 AM EST
The blind can't drive on the information superhighway!
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:56:03 AM EST

Originally Posted By macman37:
The blind can't drive on the information superhighway!

Oh God I LOLd
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 10:01:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
they're private companies. They don't have to cater to anyone or any group that they don't want to.


The Federal Government has said otherwise on many occasions.


Are you talking about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Doesn't that only apply to emplyers/employees?
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 10:11:05 AM EST

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
they're private companies. They don't have to cater to anyone or any group that they don't want to.


The Federal Government has said otherwise on many occasions.


Are you talking about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Doesn't that only apply to emplyers/employees?


No. Quick glance at Title III of the ADA.

Real world scenario: when we purchased and remodeled a building 7 years ago, we were required to build a bathroom that would be handicap accessible(ie, wheelchair). Wide doorway, hand rail on the wall.

Don't even get me started on 'illegal' hiring practices.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 10:16:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
they're private companies. They don't have to cater to anyone or any group that they don't want to.


The Federal Government has said otherwise on many occasions.


Are you talking about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Doesn't that only apply to emplyers/employees?


No. It applies to all businesses and it's the reason in most places one person can take a dump in a stall the size of your living room while the second person can't sit on the fucking pot straight and has to step in the toliet to turn around.

That was one of the worst laws I have seen passed. Of course everyone was falling all over themselves with glee to "help those folks", as long as it was 'those rich guys' that had to foot the bill. Now that more and more people are getting to brush up against the 'handicaped entitlement act' they are finding it isn't quite so great.

Oh and the deaf are suing theaters to force the installation of some kind of HUD for subtitles, as fat people sue them to provide 4-ass wide seating.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 10:16:47 AM EST

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
they're private companies. They don't have to cater to anyone or any group that they don't want to.


The Federal Government has said otherwise on many occasions.


Are you talking about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Doesn't that only apply to emplyers/employees?


No. Quick glance at Title III of the ADA.

Real world scenario: when we purchased and remodeled a building 7 years ago, we were required to build a bathroom that would be handicap accessible(ie, wheelchair). Wide doorway, hand rail on the wall.

Don't even get me started on 'illegal' hiring practices.


hmm, that sucks. My gut reaction is that that is unconstitutional. But I don't sit on the supreme court, so oh well. Are you sure that it wasn't some local buiding reg that forced that, though?
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 10:20:30 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 10:21:01 AM EST by Grunteled]

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
they're private companies. They don't have to cater to anyone or any group that they don't want to.


The Federal Government has said otherwise on many occasions.


Are you talking about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Doesn't that only apply to emplyers/employees?


No. Quick glance at Title III of the ADA.

Real world scenario: when we purchased and remodeled a building 7 years ago, we were required to build a bathroom that would be handicap accessible(ie, wheelchair). Wide doorway, hand rail on the wall.

Don't even get me started on 'illegal' hiring practices.


hmm, that sucks. My gut reaction is that that is unconstitutional. But I don't sit on the supreme court, so oh well. Are you sure that it wasn't some local buiding reg that forced that, though?


It isn't local code, it's federal law. Don't you remember when neveryone all at once was making curb cuts, ramps, installing lifts in buses and so forth?
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 10:28:19 AM EST
Seems like Skillcraft needs to tell their workers to shut the fuck up.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 10:32:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By PromptCritical:

Originally Posted By DV8:
I didn't know the blind had computers. I thought they were all in some lighthouse assembling pens.




I thought it was odd that they assemble wall clocks, too. I half expected a few to be upside-down...
And the toilet paper in every MRE, and any number of other objects the .gov uses.

Kharn
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 10:33:04 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 10:35:06 AM EST by daveisadork]
To approach this from a little bit of a different angle, I don't agree with the litigation but people should be more conscious of their site design. The technology is in place to have all the uber-cool seizure inducing animated graphics while maintaining a site that works properly with screen readers, text based browsers, search engine indexing robots, etc. It's really just irresponsible and/or lazy design and programming to not take advantage of it.

ETA: Also notice that at the very top of this page is a link to a "lite version" of this site. While not the ideal solution to the problem, it does make the site accessible to blind folks and people with dinosaur computers.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:19:26 AM EST

Originally Posted By daveisadork:
It's really just irresponsible and/or lazy design and programming to not take advantage of it.


Nope. Cost vs benefit. There is precisely no benefit to me recoding my site to benefit the deaf, dumb or blind.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:21:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By daveisadork:
It's really just irresponsible and/or lazy design and programming to not take advantage of it.


Nope. Cost vs benefit. There is precisely no benefit to me recoding my site to benefit the deaf, dumb or blind.




The deaf, dumb and blind will cause you 97.3% fewer problems than the stupid.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:22:32 AM EST
…more of that "the world owes me" attitude.

How about the blind guys either raise money to have the websites retrofitted, or they shut up. Website access isn't a right.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:25:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By osprey21:
I see... said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.


yes I know i'm going to hell


I see said the blind man as he pissed into the wind

...

It's all coming back to me now.








Sorry. I have a friend who is blind.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:29:03 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 11:29:41 AM EST by GetDown_M4A3]
Nothing will come of this. You can't make the Web blind friendly completely. That would make web sites just text documents (like in the beginning when Al Gore invented the net). You can't convert images into sound (many Web menus are really images - just look at this site for example).
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:32:26 AM EST

Originally Posted By Grunteled:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:

Originally Posted By go3:

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
they're private companies. They don't have to cater to anyone or any group that they don't want to.


The Federal Government has said otherwise on many occasions.


Are you talking about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Doesn't that only apply to emplyers/employees?


No. Quick glance at Title III of the ADA.

Real world scenario: when we purchased and remodeled a building 7 years ago, we were required to build a bathroom that would be handicap accessible(ie, wheelchair). Wide doorway, hand rail on the wall.

Don't even get me started on 'illegal' hiring practices.


hmm, that sucks. My gut reaction is that that is unconstitutional. But I don't sit on the supreme court, so oh well. Are you sure that it wasn't some local buiding reg that forced that, though?


It isn't local code, it's federal law. Don't you remember when neveryone all at once was making curb cuts, ramps, installing lifts in buses and so forth?



my issue with the ADA isn't the tens of thousands of dollars businesses have to come up with to ensure compliance, but the fact every public restroom in the country has the mirror angled so that i can see my fly, and not my face


[spock] the needs of the many....[/spock]
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:33:02 AM EST

Originally Posted By jchewie:

Originally Posted By osprey21:
I see... said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.


I see said the blind man as he pissed into the wind

...

It's all coming back to me now.




My father used to say:
""I see" said the blind man to his deaf daughter, who nodded in agreement."

Where did you guys get yours?
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:38:03 AM EST
How the hell is he supposed to shop at target online?

He can't see what he's buying! Does he just take a shot in the dark (lol) and buy something and not know what it looks like?

Nuts.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 11:56:03 AM EST
AFAIK it's the law... the whole American Disabilities Act thing.

problem with it? Think about the guys losing their sight in Iraqistan compliments of IED's, then talk trash.

As long as they're not sueing for a cash settlement but just to make Target fix their website.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 1:55:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 1:59:02 PM EST by Mister44]
As a webdesigner - I have to consider accessabiltiy standards all of the time.

While it seems kinda silly that a blind person is on the internet, think about how much you use the net for right now. In 10, 20, 50 years it will be something one simply can not live with out - blind or not.

The way blind people surf is very similar to us - only they have the computer "read" the site to them. So if one is looking for information or a product to buy, a blind person should be very capable of using the internet.

Believe it or not - its pretty easy to design for the blind if you adhear to web accessabilty standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (www.w3.org). Standards are in place so that the web will look and function correctly reguardless of what browser you use to surf it. Designing a site that is not standard compliant is short sighted and down right lazy.

ETA:
While the I dont support this practice of suing to get access - its the squeeky wheel that gets the oil. People dont act or take one seriously until they have to. They have been asking nice for years. AND - often times it is as easy as adding [alt="Picture of a car"] into your code to be compliant.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 2:01:56 PM EST
Reminds me of a comapny that I worked for that built apartments....unfortunatley they madde some passageways too narrow by an inch...A disbled individual measured the corridoor and called the justice dept...Yep the company was investigated and fined by the fed for not providing access...on top of the fines was the remodel of countless apartment buildings that were not in compliance.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 2:11:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 2:12:31 PM EST by Special-K]

Originally Posted By crurifragium:
I wonder how they do internet pron for the blind



I got slapped once for asking a stripper if she would have let me see her in braille if I were blind.



-K
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 2:25:07 PM EST
I'm sorry. I didn't realize the rest of the internet was OBLIGATED BY LAW to cater to blind people. Newsflash it isn't. STFU!
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 5:58:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By GetDown_M4A3:
Nothing will come of this. You can't make the Web blind friendly completely. That would make web sites just text documents (like in the beginning when Al Gore invented the net). You can't convert images into sound (many Web menus are really images - just look at this site for example).


That's not true. You can make ADA compliant web sites easily, you just have to a)use American workers who b)have been working with user interfaces for c)more than 18 months and d)outside of their college dorm room. The catch? You have to pay them a living wage. You can't get kids or the H1-B with the incomprehensible accent to do it for you.

On a related topic, computer programming used to employ a lot of blind people. That got outsources to places like India. But of course -- it's cheaper, so we should be grateful, right?

Anyone remember the president who thought that the ADA was such a great idea? Anyone? Anyone? How about just the family name?
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:04:42 PM EST
But wait a minute! This sounds like a problem with the software being used ("Jaws"). So, any company that has a web site is supposed to tailor their site to "Jaws"?

What about other software? Certainly "Jaws" is not the only such software on the market. And what if tailoring the website to work with Jaws prevents other software from working?

Sorry, I just don't get it.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 9:08:23 PM EST
Jesus, let's get them some driving licenses too.

So, how do they know if the little hourglass is making them wait for the computer to finish something?
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