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ADA Doesn't Apply to Web

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the changing-the-rules dept.

The Courts 827

djmoore writes "A federal judge has ruled that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) does not apply to the Web. U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz dismissed with prejudice a suit demanding that Southwest Airlines make its website more accessible to the blind, saying that the suit would create new rights for the disabled without setting appropriate standards. Judge Seitz also rejected plaintiffs' claim that the Web is a 'place of exhibition, display, and a sales establishment,' one of the twelve categories covered by the ADA, on the grounds that the law only covers physical places." Our original article has more details.

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fost priest (-1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506058)

ac for santos

Santos L. Halper? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506088)

Fuck you, moderator.

Your mom sure sucks a mean cock.

Re:Santos L. Halper? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506113)

actually i was reffering to my name in cs, which i stole from www.santosministries.com no one doowops like the san man
-gc-Santos owns all

satan's little helper, whats that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506150)

which one of you is the mailman? santos style

Cool! (4, Funny)

someonehasmyname (465543) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506064)

Now I don't have to use alt tags! =)

Eyesight to the blind (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506068)

You're talking about your woman, I wish to God, man, that you could see mine
You're talking about your woman, I wish to God that you could see mine
Every time the little girl start to loving, she bring eyesight to the blind

Lord, her daddy must been a millionaire, 'cause I can tell by the way she walk
Her daddy must been a millionaire, because I can tell by the way she walk
Every time she start to loving, the deaf and dumb begin to talk

I remember one Friday morning, we was lying down across the bed
Man in the next room a-dying, stopped dying and lift up his head, and said,
"Lord, ain't she pretty, and the whole state know she fine!"

Every time she start to loving, she bring eyesight to the blind
(Spoken: All right and all right, now. Lay it on me, lay it on me, lay it on me
Oh lordy, what a woman, what a woman!)

Yes, I declare she's pretty and the whole state knows she's fine
Man, I declare she's pretty, God knows I declare she's fine
Every time she starts to loving, whoo, she brings eyesight to the blind
(I've got to get out of here, now, let's go, let's go, let's go now)

That's too bad (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506074)

Because this qualifies as disabled in my book:

404 File Not Found
The requested URL (articles/02/10/22/177239.shtml?tid=123) was not found.

If you feel like it, mail the url, and where ya came from to pater@slashdot.org.

Re:That's too bad (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506270)

Isn't it even more revealing that the government uses the archaic and obsolete PDF standard for documents? What about all of the poor people without PDF?

It's god damn TEXT people : USE HTML. PDF is the letterhead/jazzy businesscard of the era: Wankers thinks it makes documents look more professional. It doesn't.

Umm.. (-1, Troll)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506082)

View->Text Size->Largest seems to make things easier. Also, doesn't one of the accessability options in Windows include a magnifying glass?

Re:Umm.. (2, Insightful)

A.Soze (158837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506104)

If you use fixed font size tags, this won't change a thing in the browser. Its akin to assuming the table will stretch and shrink when you tag it with a fixed height and width. It s just not gonna...

Re:Umm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506127)

That would depend on the browser you are using. Some will enlarge/shrink event fixed sizes.

Re:Umm.. (1, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506116)

Ummm...

None of that matters if you are BLIND.

Re:Umm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506251)

There are varying degrees of blindness. some people (commonly known as 'legally blind') can see things, given magnifiers and such.

In fact, most blind people can see _something_, but not well enough to do much of anything with.

Re:Umm.. (0)

PaybackCS (611691) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506138)

Well, that's fine and dandy, but what if you're completely blind? There are solutions out there, like a brail strip on the front of the desk that can be read line by line, but I'm willing to bet it's either expensive or very propriatary, or both. As far as I Know, there isn't a really viable solution to help the blind use computers and the internet.

Re:Umm.. (2, Informative)

djmoore (133520) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506232)

What if you're completely blind?

Gumson, the original plaintiff, uses a text-to-voice converter. He claimed that the lack of text alternatives to graphic icons made navigation difficult, while admitting that it was possible. (That admission hurt his case.)

Re:Umm.. (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506267)

That makes sense.

But, its true tho that on application-like sites (ie, obfuscated URLs) with img-only menus and no alt tags, itd be a bitch if you were blind. Fortunately, the very nature of graphical menus usually means there arn't *too* many choices, so I suppose trial-and-error becomes the fallback in those cases?

Re:Umm.. (0, Troll)

PhilipMatarese (609325) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506148)

Maybe if blind people walked around with a magnifying glass, they wouldn't have to use those silly red and white sticks.

Or, maybe the trouble is that the blind people can't find the option to make the text bigger... that's gotta be it.

HAHAHAhA! MOD PARENT UP!! (2)

mekkab (133181) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506174)

BWAAA HAAA HAAA!

Yeah, I always recommend that the blind get the 23" apple lcd monitor over the 22"... "you really get to notice that inch difference..."

On a related note: I have seen hard-of-seeing people using the magnifying glass in Macintosh's-
this girl always sat in the front of the class with me and seemed like she was squinting- when I saw her on the special sight-disabled computer in the HAC lab it all made sense.

Another related note: My wife paralegaled (that's "legal assistant" to you!) for a mostly blind guy with photographic memory.

I'll just let that last one sink in.

Re:HAHAHAhA! MOD PARENT UP!! (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506228)

Another related note: My wife paralegaled (that's "legal assistant" to you!) for a mostly blind guy with photographic memory.

what, did someone xray his film or something?

Re:HAHAHAhA! MOD PARENT UP!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506237)

My wife paralegaled (that's "legal assistant" to you!) Another fact she told you while preparing the defense for your "indecency with a minor" case, I'm sure.

Quite Right (3, Troll)

drhairston (611491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506087)

Finally, common sense from the bar. A new law is needed to define the rights of the disabled in cyberspace. Like the Digital Millenium Copyright Act defined how Copyright functions in cyberspace, a Cyber-ADA needs to be passed by Congress to define how (and whether) the handicapped shall access cyberspace.

Re:Quite Right (1)

Infernus (619328) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506117)

I totally agree...anyway, how the heck could you make a website accessible to the blind??? A CRT that projects Braille dots sounds quite impossible...

Re:Quite Right (0, Flamebait)

rudedog (7339) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506160)

Were you born that stupid, or did you have to work to do it? Or do you honestly believe that there are no blind people who are using computers?

Re:Quite Right (2)

foistboinder (99286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506180)

I totally agree...anyway, how the heck could you make a website accessible to the blind???

Very simple - make sure all the information on a web site is available as text, then a text to voice synthesizer can easily read it.

Re:Quite Right (4, Insightful)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506181)

The web isn't about pretty graphics and groovy flash movies, it's about sharing information, this is very easy to do to even for the blind. But, few go through the extra effort to do so.

Re:Quite Right (1, Flamebait)

loply (571615) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506238)

You can do what you want on the web.
Its not "about" sharing information.
Its about doing what you fucking want, got it?
Dont you come on here and tell me what I must do with my web access: Ill share the information I want in the way I want, and if I choose not to share any information at all, then I shall be respected for that decision.
Christ, the hyprocricy around here is laughable.
"Were all for freedom, but if you dont use open source and share your information with blind people we call you names".

Re:Quite Right (2, Informative)

lkk17 (10176) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506246)

Just in case this wasn't a troll after all -- yes, the blind can use screen-reading software to browse the web. But the software needs text to read; it can't handle _images_ of text. So images that convey important information need "alt" tags, etc.

There's more to it than the above, of course -- see the guidelines on www.w3c.org for more information.

Re:Quite Right (2)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506216)

Like the Digital Millenium Copyright Act defined how Copyright functions in cyberspace, a Cyber-ADA needs to be passed by Congress to define how (and whether) the handicapped shall access cyberspace.

Don't ever do that again. Don't look to the DMCA as a source of inspiration for any new laws governing computers/the internet as it is most definately one of the worst.

Absolutely!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506233)

Any complicated situation is made better with more legislation.

I know, I know (Score: -2 Troll)

Re:Quite Right (3, Interesting)

MrWa (144753) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506268)

This isn't modded as funny?

Why should new laws need to be setup when there exists one already designed to permit disabled persons the same rights as everyone else?

If anything, we need to evaluate laws on a one-by-one basis and determine if it makes sense for them to apply in cyberspace. In this situation - effectively eliminating an entire segment of society from participating in web commerce - it makes sense to me that we should allow handicapped access. What needs to be done, though, is draft an extension to the ADA that specifies what types of sites require access - a shotgun approach would only cause more problems.

Re:Quite Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506278)

I don't think that post should be modded Flamebait. The whole point of the judge's ruling was that the existing law does not provide enough guidance to deal with accessibility on the Web because the ADA only applies to physical spaces. It's important to understand why the judge did this--he wasn't just being cruel. Instead, he saw that there was a gaping whole in the existing set of laws, one that was inadequately covered by the current ADA.

There should be a new ADA, explicitly detailing the rights of people as they pertain to the Web and other Internet media. I'm sure, if applicable had been on the books that he would have proceeded with the suit and probably ruled for the plaintiff.

This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (1, Insightful)

Faggot (614416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506093)

In my opinion, web design which makes a site inaccessible to impaired people is rude, discourteous, and even odious. It's not like disabled don't have enough problems. If you can't view it in Lynx, you're a bastard for writing it.

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506175)

Puh-leeze

I agree that its rude to not make it accessible.

I also agree that web-site designed that use flash should be made to fill up cars in the metro DC area.

But mandated?

Why? The phone is still available for reservations. And web sites that are blind friendly should get the bulk of the blind business.

But why force web sites to simplify content and access so that another .00001% of the population has the same access?

Lets use some common sense here!

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (1)

Faggot (614416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506194)

But mandated?

I didn't say anything about mandates. I just said that web designers who do not take accessibility into account deserve a kick in the nuts. To me it's a personal/corporate responsibility issue.

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506212)

I agree with you in principle, that the gov't should not mandate this... but the gov't IS making it relatively easy.

You can design your pages to do whatever you want. Any possible horrid flash stuff can go in there. But if it's a gov't sponsored / paid for page, you have to have that same content in another form that is easy for the disabled to use.

I don't have a problem with that, for the most part...

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (4, Troll)

loply (571615) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506204)

In my opinion, web design which makes a site inaccessible to impaired people is rude, discourteous, and even odious. It's not like disabled don't have enough problems. If you can't view it in Lynx, you're a bastard for writing it. Excuse me, but with all due respect, youre completely wrong.
For starters, the website I run (which neither works in Lynx nor is it accessible by blind people) is solely oriented around visual arts, so no, Im not rude, discourteous or odious.
And for your information, Lynx is a terrible browser which doesnt conform to the HTML standard with any degree of accuracy - Nor does it support most of the techologies which have enriched the internet: Java, Javascript, Flash, Graphics, Animation, streaming media.

You need to get real. Calling people names because they dont go to the huge effort of making their website for both visual, blind people and text mode people is ignorant.

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (1)

angelo (21182) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506245)

Do you run an airline? No. Sit down.

Blind people may not look at art, but blind people certainly fly on airplanes.

My site may not be used by blind people, but I was certain to write in xHTML so they could read it.

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (5, Insightful)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506205)

this is BS.

The web, and the world for that matter, should not be designed around the lowest common denominator.

Yes there are times when you want to consider disabled people in what you're doing - but it should not just be a default requirement. This will lead to people thinking that airplanes should have their cockpits designed around [Insert Disability Here] or any other thing.

Why not have firearms designed for people who have no arms?

The world is designed around people - as they should be. You think that the NBA should be required to modify the rules of basketball to allow people with no arms? No. you wouldn't even consider that - so your statements that "If you can't view it in Lynx, you're a bastard for writing it." is shortsighted (pun intended)

Certain aspects of technology can and should be adapted for people with usability issues - but it should not be one of the fundamental design requirements - unless that is the primary market for said technology.

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506262)


Yea, right, and they need to design expensive hotels and clubs with access to the monetarily disabled...

Get a grip dude...
Lynx, will you please let it go? If all software was designed to be compatible with old crud nothing would ever advance, see how it helped win95 / 98 / ME? Each one was larger and worse than the previous....

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506274)

Well, in regards to that, I don't bother doing anything to make my website accessible for the blind. Why? Well, I can't see the blind having much need to access my site, but that's not the point... My site would already be accessible. alt tags are usually there for when they are links, but if they are graphics, what's the point? Most of my site is text, so that's easily read by a reader program.

Lastly, one of the things about technology is if you want to use the bleeding edge, you've got to PAY for it. So, that means having the latest readers that can handle frames, tables and the like. The power of the $$ speaks to software developers who make these software programs, and when you make sure that you're updated to the latest version, you're voting with that $$.

Either that, or maybe there are some kind-hearted GPL'ers out there who would love writing a really great reader for everyone.

Yes, there is sense in the ADA, but some of it goes just a wee-bit too far. Braile on drive-through ATM's? (I know, it is cheaper to standardise them all to have it than to have different versions for drive-through and walk-up to ones.) However, the point is still made.

I feel empathy for those who are blind in regards to missing out one one of the greater of the human experiences, but their disability shouldn't require the rest of us to pay in some grand fashion to accomodate them. Putting a ramp on a building for those in wheelchairs is great. It's cheap, it gives access. Having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to retrofit an elevator to a building that has 2 floors with 1 or 2 small businesses on that second floor is absurd.

It's not about being an arse, it's not about attempting to deny access, it's about being SENSIBLE. If the access can be provided cheaply, then I'm all for it. If the superstructure needs to be changed to do it, FORGET IT.

Moderation... decency, and common sense are all that are needed. Use your voting $$ by buying from those who accomodate you. Customer Service *IS* an issue at hand here..

Re:This doesn't exclude the Web from courtesy (2)

sporty (27564) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506279)

Ok, that's just an extreem view of things. Mind you, alt tags aren't going to save the world, so that will NOT be the end all solution.

Designing a page for the visually impared isn't easy. We have those with no sight, a text only page? Designed no less?

Plus a site that consideres the colourblind.

Plus a site that accomodates N other factors.

So now we don't have one site to maintain... but N sites. Now the business world have to turn a visusal device for most into one for all.

With TV, it is easy, just have the script printed on screen. The web isn't so easy. If the blind want to know what is going on the news, they cannot use the conventional news paper. I'm sure the same can accomodate the blind -- provide another medium for them to use to reach business, such as customer service, etc etc...

For now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506094)

It can still end up before the Supreme Court, and they can still decide otherwise.

This is SO yesterday. (-1, Offtopic)

viper21 (16860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506095)

News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.
(Only a few weeks after MSNBC)

-S

Must be that other Internet... (4, Funny)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506101)

"Judge Seitz also rejected plaintiffs' claim that the Web is a 'place of exhibition, display, and a sales establishment,'"
Perhaps I should forward some spam to Judge Seitz. I get about ten emails a day with various offers to exhibit, display and sell, uh, stuff.

Re:Must be that other Internet... (1)

polyphemus-blinder (540915) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506187)

And which internet do you know of that you can call a place? And wow, where is it?!

When is a horse not a horse? (5, Insightful)

mekkab (133181) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506107)

When its talking out of its ass.

I think the area of online jurisdiction is going to be a legal gold mine of study in the near future. What with seemingly conflicting case law this is the stuff that a law journal would kill for.

Personally I think the ADA had a point if only becuase I believe in simple sites with good designs (however if you check my URL you will see something ugly, dis-organized, and "stoopid")

but it will be interesting what precedents this sets or if this gets overturned by a higher court later on.

Look at marick's post (2)

mekkab (133181) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506249)

Marick [slashdot.org] has done more research than I on this...

Re:When is a horse not a horse? (1)

einstein (10761) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506271)

Personally I think the ADA had a point if only becuase I believe in simple sites with good designs (however if you check my URL you will see something ugly, dis-organized, and "stoopid")



ooh, ooh, let me look at that!

*click*
--

Thats like.... (2, Insightful)

sheepab (461960) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506109)

Thats like filing a suit against Ford for not making their cars drivable for the blind.....

Re:Thats like.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506168)

your analogy is idiotic. I would expect as much from someone who has automatic +2 posting from karma whoring.

Anyway, your analogy is spurious because the ADA calls for 'reasonable' accomodation. At this point, cars which drive themselves, or which can see for the driver, are not reasonably availiable.

Re:Thats like.... (2)

LiamQ (110676) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506188)

The difference is that it's easy and inexpensive to make a Web site accessible to the blind.

I don't think these people should be rewarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506197)

Most blind people got that way by playing with sticks, or running with scissors, or masturbating.

Why should we reward that kind of behavior?

Re:Thats like.... (3, Insightful)

mehip2001 (600856) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506281)

So...just send a polite letter to web master to make a change. A lawsuit over something like this is just silly. It is a private company and if they choose to ingnore potential customers than let the market sort it out.

Not to mention..southwest does have an 800 number.

Re:Thats like....Indeed (2, Insightful)

marcus (1916) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506196)

My lawyer friend mentioned billboards.

If this had made it through, everyone that displayed *anything*, *anyway* would be liable.

If you are on the radio, you must make a visual display for the deaf.

If you display a sign on the front of your store advertising a special, or even own a billboard on the side of the highway, you must accomodate the blind.

The list of possible extremes is endless.

Re:Thats like....Indeed (2)

ZaMoose (24734) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506225)

Reminds me of that bad, bad Helen Keller Joke:

Q: How did Helen Keller lose a hand?
A: Trying to read a street sign at 55mph.

Re:Thats like.... (0, Flamebait)

Didion Sprague (615213) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506209)

Or fining a state's highway commission for putting curves in highways, thus making it difficult if not impossible for blind folks to drive successfully.

Tsk. Tsk. So tasteless.

But I *do* wonder if the ADA problems vis a vis the web have more to do with the inability of screen readers to successfully parse complex pages than with "defiant" pages that refuse to limit themselves to simple "See Bob run. Bob runs fast" type text.

Who the fuck made text-based browsers king? Who the fuck says it *has* to be displayed on Lynx?

Why aren't people bitching at JAWS and other screen reading software to fucking GET WITH IT and understand that technology is a complex beast.

I sure as heck know that "lynx" compatibility is not the end-goal of any of the web's future vectors ...

Must ... fight ... urge ... (1)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506286)

(oh well. i couldn't hold it back.)

Thats like filing a suit against Ford for not making their cars drivable for the blind.....

uhhh... no. It's not anything like it. (well, except for the fact that it has to do with people with disabilities.) Being blind, there currently is no safe way for you to drive a car. (with the exceptions noted in articles such as this [wired.com] ) BUT blind people can still read braille with their fingers, no? They can still hear with their ears, no? Why is it dumb for blind people to try to get cmpanies to make their information accessible to them?

Darn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506114)

And I thought this might be an avenue to shut down pr0n sights...

Am i the only one that thought of the language (2)

mbyte (65875) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506119)

... that the language ADA does't work well with apache and modern browsers ? :)

Becuase its too strongly typed... (2)

mekkab (133181) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506207)

so it isn't very flexible for web work.

P.S.- the punch line is the subject. If you didn't get the joke, don't worry. It was a bad one. In the same way that "Programmers like swimming in the C!" is a bad joke.

im blind (2, Funny)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506122)

I demand Slashdot offer a braile version.

Re:im blind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506211)

You're not blind, you're dumb. Slashdot should work just fine with a Braille tactile feedback device.

Re:im blind (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506224)

if you really were blind, you would already be reading this in braille. You are a liar. and a karma whore.

insane ruling (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506123)

There is no reason Southwest could not make their website blind-accessible.

1. graphical buttons should have names (you know, the things that pop up when you hover your mouse over a graphic) so the blind can tell, w/ a text reader, what the button is supposed to do.

2. people put up "text only"/"low bandwidth" versions of their pages up all the time. It is not difficult.

In short, southwest doesn't want to be assed to hire competent frontpage monkeys.

Re:insane ruling (5, Insightful)

PaschalNee (451912) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506272)


2. people put up "text only"/"low bandwidth" versions of their pages up all the time. It is not difficult.

I don't agree. Maintaining and testing two UI's on your product is considerably more difficult that maintaining one. Especially if your content is dynamically generated in multiple languages. I get that with a well designed architecture with good separation between the presentation and logic layers makes this easier but it still requires a considerable effort for very little incremental gain (i.e. you will not see a considerable jump in people accessing your site)

Good, but... (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506128)

While I'm glad the court didn't make a blanket judgement compelling businesses to maintain dual website versions, we DO need to consider ways in which to make the web more accessable to the disabled in order to more completely fulfill its promise. Kudos to the judge for making this decision though. Another heavy handed mandate was not what is needed for this problem.

Well, DUH. (4, Funny)

Masque (20587) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506130)

Of COURSE ADA doesn't apply to the internet. perl has long since dominated in that area. The government -just- noticed this?

Awwww... (4, Funny)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506135)

And I was JUST about to sue Playboy.com because I can't get it up...

Re:Awwww... (2)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506169)

You need to blame that weird one-legged hooker for that problem, not playboy.com. Your boys told you know, but that 5 bucks was just burning a hole in your pocket.

Re:Awwww... (2)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506190)

Told you no, even.

Me fail english? That' unpossible.

1-800-IFLYSWA works for blind people (5, Insightful)

lorcha (464930) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506137)

I know this was said on the last thread we had on the subject, but it's worth repeating. The guy was in no way prevented from buying tickets or flying. If the website was too difficult to navigate, he could simply call Southwest on the phone.

The best analogy I can think of is a building with both stairs and a ramp to access it. If this lawsuit was successful, it would be like compelling the owner of said building to make the stairs accessable to disabled people when there is a perfectly good ramp. Why should Southwest have to change their website when there is a perfectly good phone number?

Re:1-800-IFLYSWA works for blind people (5, Insightful)

dinivin (444905) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506185)

The real issue is that SouthWest offered special web rates for people who ordered on-line.

Now, if the guy had called, complained that he couldn't navigate the website because he's blind, asked for the reduced rate anyway, and been denied, then he might have a valid complaint.

Dinivin

Re:1-800-IFLYSWA works for blind people (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506248)

Good post.

Re:1-800-IFLYSWA works for blind people (0, Redundant)

disappear (21915) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506201)

I know this was said on the last thread we had on the subject, but it's worth repeating. The guy was in no way prevented from buying tickets or flying. If the website was too difficult to navigate, he could simply call Southwest on the phone.

Of course, the Web site offers low fares that you can't get when calling Southwest on the phone. So it's OK to take money from blind people, just so long as you take more money from them than you do from others.

Reasonable Accomodation (1)

Jedi Paramedic (587254) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506254)

While it would still behoove Southwest to make a no-frills version (read: Lynx-viewable) of their page available, I have to agree - PICK UP THE PHONE!

And why didn't they pursue the "reasonable accommodation" argument on the theory that dialing the phone number is just as potent as using the website, and is functionally equivalent when you look at the end result.

Web method:
1.) Go to web site
2.) Scroll through things, select flight
3.) Purchase tickets.

Phone method:
1.) Dial number
2.) Talk to human or push buttons, select flight
3.) Purchase tickets.

Am I missing something here?

Putting a tollbooth on the ramp. (2)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506275)

Why should Southwest have to change their website when there is a perfectly good phone number?

Easy. Southwest Airlines tickets sold over the phone are sold at slightly higher prices than the same tickets sold over the web site. To continue your analogy, it would be like making the stairs free as in beer and putting a tollbooth on the ramp.

Similar case, different result (5, Interesting)

marick (144920) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506139)

"A federal judge ruled that the Atlanta mass transit agency violated the ADA by constructing a website that was inaccessible for people with visual disabilities."

Read it here [sedbtac.org]

I guess what makes these cases different is that one is a private company, the other a public service organization.

Common Sense! (1)

SniffleBear (604984) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506140)

Thank goodness this judge has some common sense. Nothing against disabled people, but it's just impractical to provide everything for you just for convenience. And that's what the web mainly is. CONVENIENCE. You can do virtually anything without the web, except that it's not as convenient. Want a plane ticket? Use the phone!

Disabled people have been getting along fine before the web came. If they really needed it like the plaintiff in this case thinks, they would have proposed that the internet be invented.

web too young, etc. (0)

ayeco (301053) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506147)

Its good PR if someone write HTML/websites for accesibility. However, to federally mandate that all 7 year olds who have websites to make them accesible is a bit much. ...perhaps in time.

Can you imagine "html for dummys" with the accesiblity appendix?

I like big butts and I cannot lie (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506149)

My butt is too big. Does that qualify me for disability?

It is about standards! (1)

damu (575189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506156)

Although I find ADA making comliant sites a PITA, there are no clear defined guidelines, atleast in Texas there are not, specially in academia. We have been waiting for a year for some "rules" to come down, but nothing yet. Now this. It always seems that someone has to loose some money in order for the wheels to start moving. Perhaps we need a browser that doesn read the actual but "sees" the layout/navigation and it understands and reads that off to the user.

Of course it doesn't apply (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506163)

Why would dentists care about the web pages being accessible anyway?

Re:Of course it doesn't apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506288)

Did you even read the article? Dentists have nothing to do with the American Dairy Association!

I'm sorry to say I agree with the court ruling (5, Insightful)

noahbagels (177540) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506166)

Hi,

Let me start by saying that this comment does not make me feel morally superior - in fact the opposite.

The truth of the matter, is that there are multiple considerations (ignoring the specifics of the law for now).
1. The cost to existing and new websites would be extremely high to implement ADA standards. In addition, this could easily shut-down smaller businesses (i.e. those akin to yahoo stores etc...) and those serving small niche markets. A good example of this was a small Australian site selling serialR/C Servo controllers for less than 50% of the cheapest US-made part.

2. The web is not a physical space. I agree with this one also. While I really, really am sympathetic to the disabled, and wish to help-out whenever possible, at what point does the ADA/public-regulated support end? Should highways have bumper-car lanes for those with poor eyesight? Should the stock market have a slow motion exchange for those who need more time to think?


I would support a federally funded (not run) program to provide tools making it easier to design/implement/test sites for accessibility, but c'mon folks - we can't even get HTML compliant browsers...

what do you think would happen if the feds mandated a HTML-ADA spec???

No standard? (3, Informative)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506171)

What's wrong with this standard [w3.org] ?

Excellent Site for the Blind (4, Funny)

SniffleBear (604984) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506178)

http://www.zombo.com [zombo.com] (turn sound up)

this is great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506184)

I recently had to deal with pissed off managers who were screaming for blood. I work at a university and we've got blackboard [blackboard.com] installed (ugh). Anyway, there's a section where instructors can view the people enrolled in their classes, but if a student drops a class, or doesn't pay their tuition or is otherwise removed from the class their enrollment record is tagged as "disabled" with a little red X next to their name. Well it turns out some brilliant professor was sending emails to her students saying, "Please let me know the nature of your disability, so that we can accomodate any special needs you may have." It made its way up to the vice chancellor for IT and he demanded that we change it, because it supposedly because it violated the rights of people with disabilities or some shit.

Here's how to deal with this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506226)

leak this info to the local paper and basically make the "vice chancellor" (at my school, we never had chancellors for vice, we had to create our own) look like the ass he/she is.

In other news... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506195)

Winamp was sued because its music was inaccessible to the deaf.

Well isn't that just dandy... (4, Insightful)

E-Rock-23 (470500) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506202)

Either this goes to the Supreme Court and gets fixed, or we have to take it upon ourselves.

Being a web designer, my main goal is to get my work "seen" by as many people as possible. This includes anyone with a disability, as they're people, too. I say bad form. The ADA should apply to ALL situations, allowing ALL people to do whatever they can within any given limitation. If software exists to help a blind person "view" a website via audible text playback, then they should not be singled out like this.

Web sites already cater to the hearing impaired (duh), but does the ability to see entitle them to more? People with vision problems (blindness or otherwise) should be granted the ability to "view" whatever site they choose, be it with a text reader or otherwise. This decision will make those with disabilities that render Internet use all but impossible out to be second class citizens again, which is why the ADA was enacted.

If anything, we're going to see a whole mess of discrimination lawsuits come out of this. And we all know what kind of chaos can ensue when someone files a lawsuit. If you're in charge of web content, I'm urging you to ignore this court decision and go the extra mile for people with disabilities. If you do, at least one person out there will certainly appreciate the extra effort, and you'll avoid a costly lawsuit in the process (aka CYA)...

That's easy to say (1)

SniffleBear (604984) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506258)

But tell that to the web programmer already working on a large site with FUNCTIONALITY. Not just static web pages. Having to code around that functionality to make it work for the blind takes up more programming hours and more money, and some problems might also arise such as....How do you display a weather map, how do you display a shopping cart. Heck, why not make Visual Studio application usable for the blind programmer as well? It's possible! But will cost too much money and doesn't have any real value, other than the fact you might be a really kind and caring person with plenty of time.

Thank you lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506210)

Now I don't have to make any drastic changes on my goatse site to comply with ADA. Thank you... thank you...

--
Goatse guy.

palindromic acronym (2, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506215)

You know the acronym for the Americans With Disabilities Act is "ADA: instead of "AWDA"?

So the dyslexic can spell it right.

haahaahahahaahaha

I just made that up.

What happens to Section 508 for the Fed? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506217)

I'm currently working as a contractor for a branch of the federal government. We are having to make sure that all of our client/server apps and internet website are accessible to the blind via a text reader. This is due to a federal regulation known as Section 508. Does anyone know what implications this has for Section 508 and the federal government?

wow, who bought off the judge? (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506223)

sorry but it is poor design to ignore those that are disabled.. and it is very VERY simple to make a text only version of the site for them. It's too bad that this judge was either very dim-witted or bought off by a large industry player to ignore the basic rights of a disabled part of society.

if a store or even a private club doesnt have ramps or handicap access they are swarmed upon by the bees that are the ADA... but when it comes to accessability via electronic means it doesn't?

heck most of these places are required to have TTY phones and operators to handle calls from the deaf, why the decision to ignore the blind?

Re:wow, who bought off the judge? (3, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506289)

it's bad practice, and not a nice thing to do, to exclude the blind. but it's not illegal, since the ADA did not explicitly cover the web. that's the difference.

The web wasn't designed for the blind (2)

j3110 (193209) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506253)

It's a very visual place... there needs to be something better than HTML, or some better forms of reaching the blind. I can only imagine how hard it is to navigate the web in such conditions. You could hear and feel your way around the real world. There needs to be an equivalent for the web. TTS and telephone-like menus would be easier. I would certainly make any of my websites available in such a form.

Right now, it's like a blind man watching old projection systems that didn't have audio. Maybe they have software that describes what's going on to them, but there are no set standards to make a site disabled friendly. I think it's a good ruling as long as someone does something about it :) Which is what I think the judge had in mind.

I think.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4506260)

If you're so disabled you can't use the net, then you shouldn't be using it in the first place.
It's not the web designers problem to take into account that some people are blind.. those people should be using a text->voice program so they can hear the words or something.. or just not use the computer, either way..

Good! Some of the web is pure entertainment (5, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#4506276)

While most /. visitors probably use the web as an information medium, we may be in the minority. For example, my daughter likes to play the online games at Playhouse Disney [go.com] . Tell me, how would you make a screenreader-friendly, low-bandwidth, or Lynx-viewable version of a website that's designed strictly for interactive entertainment without any real information content?

Yes, it's sad that a visually-impaired person can't get the full enjoyment from that site. However, I don't think they should be able to sue to force ADA compliance, any more than they should be able to sue Sony for not making Gran Turismo accessible.

Remember, just because you primarily use the web as an information resource does not mean that everyone else does.
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