Techcrunch reported today on a potential ruling in the state of California that all web sites need to be accessible to the visually impaired. The article singles out AJAX sites (and other script-based sites) as potentially coming up very short of standards that may come from such a ruling. Flash-based sites and apps could be hit the hardest.
The case stems from a lawsuit against Target and argues that a site’s inability to cater to visually impaired users limits their right to enjoy its goods and services. I don’t disagree that there are measures that can be taken universally to make sites friendlier to users with certain disabilities. I wonder if we can place some responsibility for a solution here on the browser. If browser’s today are smart enough to filter out RSS and various tags, perhaps they can enhance the site experience for certain users. Still, that wouldn’t solve the problem for most RIA’s today.
A long time ago when I was pushing Flash to execs at Fidelity, one of my arguments was Flash’s accessibility features, which could become very advantageous to the aging/retiring customers, the target market of their retirement income business strategy. I wonder if it’s time we bring such abilities of Flash to the forefront again.
With all the buzz about new features in Flash, we seldom discuss enhancements to accessibility features. Is this a lost feature set, I wonder? This potential ruling by the state of California (and beyond) could make us take a more accessible application development approach much more seriously… and fast!
I’m curious… do any of you have experience with coding accessibility features? It would be nice to see some examples.