Presentations Web/Tech

Seattle PI Interns

Notes on workshop for Seattle PI Interns.


UK sites flunk accessibility

According to an article in the Guardian today, “almost two thirds of the UK’s top 100 firms fail to meet even the most basic recognised standard of accessibility to disabled people.”

I don’t get it — basic accessibility is reasonably easy to build-in (ALT text) but only 41% of the sites even did that!

The UK has laws not unlike the US, like the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act. The disabled community is not small and not necessarily impoverished. It seems in companies’ best interests to make the “storefront” as open as possible.


What’s happened to the egalitarian Web?

When Tim Berners-Lee developed HTML and the browser, his goal was to free us from the constraints of software and hardware incompatibility. This is the essence of free market “perfect substitution.”

During the height of the browser wars, Microsoft and Netscape sought market share by offering features not compatible with the other browser — a tactic specifically designed to introduce imperfect substitution.

In the U.S., the federal government has developed accessibility guidelines; the goal is that any web site built with taxpayer money should be accessible to every taxpayer. Businesses, unless they have to meet ADA laws or receive federal grants, are exempt.

So I guess I should just swallow my frustration at my latest “technological incompatibility” — courtesy of But I’m not going to.