WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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RE: Accessibility Observations


From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Feb 26, 2002 10:51AM

Oh, I am certain that a lot of people have opinions about text only pages.
I do.

You are correct. Linearization (is that even a word?) of a page's content
is beneficial for people using screen readers. However, I think "text only"
design tends to forget that there are people with other kinds of
disabilities for which a "graphical" page is beneficial.

My thoughts are that linearized content is just one of many important
elements to designing accessible pages. We also need to remember that
accessibility is much more than whether or not someone can access
information, but how efficiently someone can access that same information.

Linearized content may be more accessible, but it does create accessibility
problems from an efficiency standpoint.

If you have not had the opportunity, I would suggest to anyone (whether or
not they have a disability) to observe users with disabilities accessing
sites. Even the ones which are supposedly "accessible" can take someone
with a disability significantly longer to access information than his or her
counterpart without a disability. That may or may not be an issue with the
kinds of sites you are designing, though I expect efficiency is important to
your users even if it is unimportant to the site's owner.

Tim Harshbarger
Disability Support
State Farm Insurance Companies
Phone: (309) 766-0154