Mighty E asks: "It seems that Corporate America (and Corporate The World) has not yet come to the realization that the Internet is no longer limited to techies. I am a techie working for a global pharmaceutical, which is about to go through a merger to make it into the largest pharmaceutical in the world, Aventis Pharmaceuticals. The new Web site depends solely on images for navigation, and there is not a single alt= tag on the site. Therefore, blind users cannot use the site." This practice bothers me. Not only does it make browsing difficult for the disabled, but it also interferes with text-only browsers and text-to-speech engines. Not a smart practice. (More)
"Since I work for the company, I have complained about this problem to the powers that be, and they have replied that they do not believe that this is that big of a problem. How many blind people could be using the site anyway? Well, although I'm not blind, I feel for them. Discriminating against them like this is like discriminating against any other minority.
As absurd as it sounds, if there were a page that required you to validate what race or gender you were before you could visit the site, and denied access to certain groups, there would be huge moral outrage at this. This is essentially what is going on here.
I have seen it happen again and again with smaller companies' Web sites, but there can be some excuse there. For example, smaller companies may not be aware of the full implications of doing things this way, or have the money to support it properly.
But when it is a major pharmaceutical like this, the largest in the world, in fact, there ceases to be an excuse of any sort. Really, there is little effort to making a site blind enabled, and in fact most are. Ironically, it is those sites on which the most money was probably spent, that are usually not the ones that can be accessed by the blind.
I think that it is time, as morally responsible individuals, that we make it known to these corporate beasts that we will not tolerate discrimination like this.
We have a responsibility, as conscious-wielding individuals to make our technologies reach out to each and every person, just as those technologies reached out to us."