Supreme Court allows blind people to sue retailers if their websites are not accessible

Discussion in 'Managing an Online Community' started by R0binHood, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    I'd say the opposite. While it may increase your costs a little, people with disabilities have money to spend so it makes good commercial sense to try and make your products and services available to as many people as possible.
     
  2. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

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    The legal trolls are out trollollolling and scaring small businesses as expected!

    This a a business based in NY, shopify store, 25 different part timers, sub 40 hours a week total. 2 co founders.



    [​IMG]

     
  3. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    That's unfortunate for the small company. However, they could have avoided the issue by building an accessible site in the first place. Their web designer should have been aware of the legal requirements for the site and advised them.
     
  4. Zaphod

    Zaphod Aspirant

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    This is completely crazy if that happened, website is a visual thing ok it can have sounds or music etc. But, the whole experience is a visual one, otherwise how about suing a rock band or promoter because the deaf cannot hear the music and must provide giant screens to have subtitles and music notation displayed so they can embrace the music (I don't think so).



    I am all for accessibility but there are some things that cannot be done, I have a disability and do not try to sue local government for not flattening hills that I cannot negotiate. Although laws are different here in England there are close similarities to US and other countries but this is ridiculous and should not even be considered. Just madness to me.
     
  5. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Administrator

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    There are literally tens of thousands of local, state and federal laws and regulations concerning businesses. You cannot reasonably expect a small business owner to know everything he should seek in a web designer. Over-regulation is a serious issue for small businesses and often works to the advantage of large businesses.
     
  6. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    While subtitles and music notation is probably not something you'll see at a concert, the use of sign language or ASL interpreting is becoming the norm.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3bd35y/inside-the-world-of-concert-sign-language-interpreters

    As far as I'm aware this has come about not because of any particular legal action, more a universal effort to make music accessible to a larger audience.
     
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  7. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    No. A website is not a visual thing. It's an information thing. Visually impaired people can use websites as well as anyone, providing the website is built to allow it.
     
  8. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    I can't argue with the fact of over-regulation. Nor do I expect a web designer to know everything about business and law. However, someone working as a professional in that field ought to be familiar with the legal requirements of business websites and how to comply with them. I expect the same level of knowledge as I would from a plumber or electrician.
     
  9. overcast

    overcast Adherent

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    I wonder what we need to design for blinds. I mean buttons all over the place where pressing it creates sounds that can guide them to order?
     
  10. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    That's opposite to what's required. Visually an accessible web page should generally 'look' the same regardless of whether it's viewed by someone who has full vision or no vision.

    HTML is accessible to screen readers by default so a good start is to use it correctly. A simple example is to ensure all image based content has a suitably descriptive alt attribute. Screen readers will list links on a page so they need to have context. They will also create landmark menus so it's important to use elements like <header>, <footer> and <main>.

    I'm not an expert in this area but I don't believe it's particularly hard to create accessible web pages.
     
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  11. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

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    That is a tricky one as a lot of web designers have clients all over the world and each of these countries have their own laws and regulations as to how they should do their job. It is different from a plumber or an electrician who is only going to realistically service people in their area.
     
  12. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    As zappaDPJ pointed out, HTML is accessible when used correctly. It's all the addon Javascript code and such that can really mess things up. However, there are fairly simple ways to work around that, so your visual appeal doesn't have to suffer. In most cases, making a site accessible will actually make the site structurally better overall.
     
  13. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    True. However there are many types of consultants who regularly work with clients all over. They must become familiar with the pertinent legislation in those areas. At a minimum, they should know there are likely to be laws and regulations that may impact the project. This is not something that lies only on the shoulders of the consultant. The client needs to be aware of her legal requirements as well. That is part of the cost of doing business. As someone who spent many years as a consultant, one of my early questions was always about requirements.
     
  14. Wes of StarArmy

    Wes of StarArmy Adherent

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    So I wrote this page for my site back when this discussion started...

    Turns out this is a thing. See https://www.w3.org/WAI/planning/statements/

    It's kind of like a privacy policy but for accessibility.

    I'm going to update my accessibility page to go with the guidelines on that page.
     
  15. Paul M

    Paul M Limeade Addict

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    I suppose they'll be sueing car manufacturers soon, becasue they are not blind user friendly o_O
     
  16. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    Technology allowing blind people to drive within acceptable safely margins has existed for years. The car isn't the issue, it's the absence of a legal licence that's the problem.

    That said, on a less pedantic note, as long as there's awareness and an effort to make things like the Internet available to as many people as possible, I don't see the need to ambulance chase.
     
  17. haqzore

    haqzore Devotee

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    As a long time motorcycle rider, I'd take a legally blind person in a self-driving car over a sighted person driving themselves 11 times out of 10.
     
  18. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

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  19. haqzore

    haqzore Devotee

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  20. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

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    How many of those are there on the road? Twenty? And the algorithm is already falling apart.

    Millions of miles is very easy to cite when you're driving down coast-to-coast on highly predictable, well-illuminated roads in rather "typical circumstances" rather than the complexity that cars will face in reality. This AI mistook a human being, for a plastic bag, and killed her on the spot. If some idiot gets drunk and runs someone over, then they go prison for their poor decisions, it's not like an AI which just takes in pixel data, bounces it around a bunch of weights that even the designers of the AI don't understand how they work and spits out something that could be what you want.

    The whole process of "training" an AI roughly resembles getting it to do random things, while giving it feedback on whether it's a random thing you want, until it happens to do something that happens to look like what you want. You don't know how it is doing that, it just happens to be. You don't know if it makes decisions on something that makes sense or some bizarre alien principle that breaks down on contact with reality.

    If you give it very carefully crafted noise, then you will notice that it doesn't follow human principles at all, it is just a very good pattern matcher. I'm sorry to say that I actually know how AIs and their algorithms actually work.

    A lot of this nonsense about it being "right around the corner" comes from marketers and salespeople who have a vested interest in keeping the stock prices of self-driving start-ups high. Uber wants to convince people they have self-flying flying cars right around the corner (a step way above even this), when the thing can't even differentiate between a human and plastic bag.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019 at 2:43 AM
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