Another concern: as someone working on a large web development team, I think that maintaining a separate “non-visual” site would entrench a two-tier approach to quality and completeness (noticing and fixing issues, adding new features, etc). If you treat them as two separate applications they will inevitably diverge over time, despite best intentions. You might even end up with slightly different URL structures on each site, making it impossible for a blind user to find the corresponding audio version of a certain URL they found on social media, for example.
Can you please explain how the component paradigm is at odds with semantic markup? Is it just that developers are now satisfied with the semantics being in their component names and props, and don't care if it actually gets rendered as undifferentiated divs?
My own hypothesis is that React gave developers permission to question some things that were previously deemed sacred in web development, and developers went too far with that. Using a component framework like React or Vue is not inherently at odds with producing good semantic markup.
Basically, yes. Also, components often require extra div-nesting for robustness, and then there's the obfuscated classnames (CSS-in-JS), and the way responsiveness tends to be done these days (crude media query helper components that show/hide duplicated subsections of DOM for different devices). This all means the rendered DOM in devtools is bloated and hard to read anyway, so there's less point in caring about keeping it nice and clean.
Also, if you're mostly focused on building individual components, you probably don't feel as much ownership over the page as a whole, so you don't think about how your rendered DOM affects the document outline. Without that bigger picture, semantics isn't as interesting.
Are there any accessibility-first web design frameworks?
It's a well thought-out framework and from what I've read, accessibility was taken into account in the very first stage of the redesign of the new V2
Totally free since it's paid for with US tax dollars.
This is most obvious in the OneDrive online. The selectable list of files is implemented using Layout Grid, and thus is a single tab stop. Arrow keys can be used to navigate the grid and inline actions, and it's a single SHIFT-TAB to navigate up to the multi-selection actions.
There's ARIA controls and interactions that are defined in such a way that a non-sighted user can just hear what "type" of interaction it is and already know how to navigate it.
And by the way, it is very common that people can't find words to give me feedback - happens pretty often. So I encourage people to give me feedback - no need to feel like ass :)
If you make the browser window narrower the eye has a lot less trouble moving from the end of one line back to the start of the next.
I like wide screens because they make it better for having two apps side by side, rather than one app full width .
That is interesting. For source code, I've always preferred maintaining a maximum line length of 80 characters. But there are plenty of people who prefer significantly longer line lengths because they feel it's more readable that way.
You may also benefit from getting your vision checked. This may be early stages of something occurring, and the sooner it's identified the better.
And long lines are trivially helped by making the window less wide.
So you've provided a good demonstration about how vastly easier things are to adjust for someone that can see.
Did you make your comment 3 paragraphs ironically?
Then make your window less wide. It's not the writer's problem.
> Did you make your comment 3 paragraphs ironically?
No, but I don't think it would be hard to read if it was one paragraph. That formatting is to add in small pauses, not to make it easier to read when lines wrap.
But... The lack of pauses is exactly what makes a tall paragraph hard to read?
And if those §'s are your other ways of adding pauses, then those are entirely insufficient for inserting pauses for most readers, including me: we're not trained to read those characters as pauses.
Sure, there might be other ways. But they're not applied, making the comment harder to follow for some people than it would be had it been subdivided into paragraphs, and mrep was merely helpfully pointing that out in case mltony wanted to keep those people in mind in the future.
But good for you that you're not one of those people, I guess.
Pretend I said "indicator of separation" instead of "pause" then.
> Sure, there might be other ways. But they're not applied, making the comment harder to follow for some people than it would be had it been subdivided into paragraphs, and mrep was merely helpfully pointing that out in case mltony wanted to keep those people in mind in the future.
By talking about "other ways" to mark a logical separation, I think you're on a completely different argument than mrep. mrep is saying that it's physically hard to track the lines when reading, which is entirely a function of line length and spacing. mrep's problems would be solved if I started adding newlines in the middle of sentences, even though that would make things worse in terms of subdividing into coherent paragraphs.
Exactly. Not all we want and need to tell other people can be reduced to tweets. whoever has the windows maximised on a desktop has another option, and the paragraph was never a 140 character slogan.
Bring back MDIs (maybe)!
I never keep my browser maximized.
HN and other text based sites are more readable in narrower windows or on a phone.
HN on a phone suffers when comments are deeply nested (this one) and when somebody quotes text using spaces as of it was a block of code.
Bur it seems the ad delivery has the priority.
I simply have a separate browser window for “wide development” sites. I see nothing wrong with that.
You might want to get your eyes checked or read up on other disabilities that can impair reading ability even if your eyesight is fine. If you feel so impinged upon that it makes sense to you to ask a blind person to accommodate your needs and problems, you may have an unidentified handicap.
I greatly doubt it was anything more than mildy irritating and the grandparent never implied otherwise.
It's annoying for me to read and I have perfect vision.
Being blind doesn't make you immune to an expectation to be accomodating to others.
I already covered the fact that tracking problems can be due to reasons other than poor eyesight. I even provided supporting links for that assertion.
Part of my background is working for an educational organization that catered to the needs of gifted kids, including twice exceptional kids. It was common for early readers to have tracking problems and for parents to share practical tips on how to cope, as well as talk about at what point to get concerned and get the kids checked for something else.
I don't think anyone implied you were. :S
In the case of websites... two years ago I started adopting a11y into my front-end code. But while plugins like eslint-plugin-jsx-a11y make the job easier, it honestly was also a huge pain in the ass familiarizing myself with the grotesque state of affairs in web accessibility standards.
However, one of the biggest gains might have been learning to properly leverage every HTML tag to its fullest. Modern day SPAs have all gone back to using wild div forests with no context or metadata available for readers. This also took much less effort than learning the rest of standards compliance. So start there!
After crossing that river, I think that accessibility is complex enough to warrant its own dedicated developer for almost any project if standards are to be achieved.
Still... until our bosses catch up, we do what we can. Here are some great resources for developers who wish to learn more about how to design for accessibility: https://a11yproject.com/resources/#further-reading
P.S. Is it a reasonable heuristic to assume a reader with no visual formatting in their comments might have a good chance of being blind?
As far as I can recall, most of the blind folks on HN don't post big walls of text. Maybe younger blind people who grew up with text-to-speech and never learned braille are more likely to do that. To me, that would be a good reason for screen readers to deliberately pause for a bit between paragraphs.
EDIT: found this Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List with 132 items listed! Anyone have advice on which ones are best?
If you have multiple series, you could have different sounds running in parallel - sin wave, square wave or perhaps musical instruments each denoting a different series.
That might actually be usable if there was an automated system for creating them on the fly.
There's also this kind of approach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9lquok4Pdk
https://www.highcharts.com/docs/accessibility/accessibility-... is a good starting point to learn more about the sorts of features and considerations they've made (you can find articles, demos, and videos describing more from there)
It offers a fast 5 minute scan for some of the most common/easily detectable issues, and also a much fuller assessment with a mix of automated checks and guided/assisted manual tests that aims to help web developers who aren't accessibility experts achieve full WCAG 2.1 AA compliance.
Happy to answer any questions about it!
WCAG is, from what I can tell, a reasonably good starting point and even attempting to do _some_ things and being generally aware is better than not doing anything at all. Give the guidelines a read, https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/
Online shopping experiences vary widely. I love it when the interface isn't even noticed/gets out of your way.
Lately I have been part of building a quite popular website in my native country, and this time, as I have had more autonomy than before, decided to go ahead and add as much accessibility helping markup and proper elements as possible. Eg. everything that can be clicked is now a button (no more divs with onClick-handlers) and by the way, is adding tabIndex to divs even sufficient for triggering clicks? Since by default the Enter-key is not bound to trigger the click-event for elements other than buttons and links (I assume).
Anyway, I went ahead and added as much accessibility I could, but some things were bit too much of extra work that I decided not to add them. So I was just wondering, how bad is it when modals don't automatically capture the focus and you can't really travel into them unless moving all the way to end of the document (where the element lies)? From what I glanced from the aria spec, the focus should immediately move into the modal and get trapped where you can only by invoking an action (eg esc-key, click x-button or submit) dismiss them.
Also how important are the aria-labels for buttons and such? Should everything worth noticing be annotated? Or can you guess from say the button text what they are for. Also I read somewhere that inputs should always have labels, but sometimes it's problematic to add them eg dates with three inputs with only one label "Birthdate". Can I supplement the label with some aria-property instead?
Sorry for asking so many long questions, these things have been on my mind a lot and I really haven't had anyone to tell me if the accessibility fields I have added were correct or not. It's quite annoying how confusing the spec is and how difficult it's to know if the aria properties are correct/make sense or not. Eg how many aria-haspopup etc properties should a dropdown have and which of its elements have which.
I'm just going though a web course on this which is pretty good.
I think moving focus into the modal is pretty helpful
Here's the video on focus
You can set tabindex="-1" on the header of the dialog, and move focus to that. (Also set outline: none on the dialog, but not anything else). Then you can just call focus() on it, which isn't too hard.
I think it's okay if you don't remove the ability to focus on all the background stuff if the focus is at least moved into the modal.
I think for aria-labels for buttons, the best way to check this is to either use chromevox/ a screenreader and see what it says for the button. You can also inspect element, and go to the aria tab in chrome dev tools, and see what aria name is computed. You can see the order it takes them from, with aria-labelledby, aria-label, then contents.
If the name is reasonable, then you don't need a aria-label at all.
How accessible is a basic, plain vanilla, semantic HTML document? I.e., a fully server side rendered HTML doc that uses paragraph and heading and so forth tags for what they semantically mean. Are those type pages accessible, or is more work required to make them accessible?
Unless it doesn't. Yes, it gives you an audio captcha. No, it's not a good solution, as it's in english only, and a pretty good command of the language is required to solve it, especially now.
If you use TOR for some reason (nosy admin in my case). They always ask you to solve the challenge, but when you click audio, you get a spoken prompt saying "this computer is sending too many automated requests, so audio captchas have been blocked". I don't know who you'd need to sue, though. Either Google for not providing you the audio version, Cloudflare from preventing you access (and outsourcing the verification to Google), or the website itself for getting Cloudflare protection.
I'd like to make sites I build more accessible, but I must admit I'm only familiar with the bare minimal guidelines I've read in a couple articles. I don't even know if they're correct or up to date. Nobody I've worked for has ever made this a priority, so I'm quite ignorant on the subject.
I'm merely a sighted user here, but I can personally attest that when you've mastered touch-typing, you can tell when you make a mistake and correct it without needing to look at the screen. It is a bit of an eerie feeling the first time you do it.
Full disclosure: I touch-typed this reply, and I made five mistakes when doing so, and fixed all of them without looking at the screen.
It has its limitations: It doesn't help you spell better, only correct typing mistakes.
It’s not a substitute for real-world testing, but it should help you appreciate the basics without having to learn a full screen reader.
We’re also working on some accessibility games right now (scores challenges for you to complete in a browser with a simulated disability), which sound a lot like what you’re suggesting.
TBH we call it "myopia" in the plugin because it's short and what we think most users would understand. Many visual disabilities cause a similar blurring effect, such as cataracts.
Toolbar seems a lot easier to to use for sighted developers. Less of a learning curve.
Oddly M doesn't seem to jump to the main content for me. I wonder if I've done something wrong. I'm going to play with it.
Thanks for developing this!
If you use a Mac, just enable VoiceOver:
If you use Windows, I suggest NVDA - it's a free screen reader that's similar to the most-popular-but-expensive one (JAWS):
IMHO the best screen readers are on your phone / tablet. This might sound crazy (how can a touchscreen work when you can't see it?) but they're much better designed than their desktop equivalents. Mobile software tends to be simpler, resulting in a better experience:
If you work in web tech and take 1-2 hours to learn one of these you'll be able to dazzle others with it for the rest of your life.
As a note, for any sighted developers (like me) reading along: I'd highly recommend you to spend half an hour to learn and practice navigating software with a screen reader some time. It's a relatively easy step that gives you a lot of insight into low-hanging fruit in terms of accessibility improvements.
(Also, keep in mind that accessibility is not just vision impairments. Things like small click targets can make things a lot harder for people with motor issues, e.g. many elderly people.)
For small businesses I imagine the biggest problem is that they only have only one engineer to support a web site, and he is not familiar with accessibility standards (justifyably so, because there are so few blind people out there), and he'd have to learn these standards and test the web site for accessibility problems - all these actions require time.
And my other hunch is that using standard HTML elements is actually a less expensive way to build websites. But I'm not sure on that. I haven't touched front end in a long time.
Fewer errors from people mishearing you too.
And also every now and then I need to read a science paper in PDF format - somehow they still haven't figure out how to make accessible formulas in Latex-generated PDFs, so I'd have to use an OCR called InftyReader to OCR this PDF to get the formulas.
In my experience the worst offenders are drivers for printers and scanners. Every time my printer runs out of ink on my computer it'll show me a dialog, that my screenreader doesn't recognize at all. So by the presence of empty window I'll have to deduce that it's running out of ink. Scanner driver is completely inaccessible, so I had to get a linux box just to use my scanner - at least all the command-line tools are accessible.
I want to do more than just run sites through validators. Is JAWS still a good accessibility program to test with? Are there other major accessibility programs I should be testing with?
I've typically only tested with one, so it'd be good to ensure there's nothing weird with others.
No Coffee: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nocoffee/jjeeggmbn... is quite useful to get a non-scientific empathy hit for graphic decisions and how that interacts with common sight problems (98% of people by age 51 have presbyopia) and Sim Daltonism: https://michelf.ca/projects/sim-daltonism/ will give you a more accurate representation of all the most common colour blindnesses (1 in 12 men).
I also urge everyone to turn ON tabbing on their Mac (System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts tab > All Controls) and tab into their sites (unplug your mouse). I also often do a run through with Vimium: https://vimium.github.io/ which gives me some aspects of a voice interaction type system.
These tools will get you some of the way there, though there are established ways to build components which will solve 90% of all known access problems. The main solution is simply to write native HTML. A major issue is how hard it is to style native form elements (like datalist) -- it means developers can't get it past design/clients.
IIRC, the screen readers will read back texts you just typed as well, but I'm not sure that is as necessary since most folks can get by with typing just fine.
What do you think of the multiple voice assistants out there? Do you think that would be an acceptable alternative or tradeoff if Domino made a bot to take orders?
When the nerves that make my eyes work stop behaving correctly, it's also normal for the nerves in my throat to flip out so that speaking feels like breathing razor blades.
Making a call isn't an option, but using a web browser still is, if they haven't gone out of their way to break all the ways a web browser is supposed to behave.
I either use Kurzweil 3000 (Windows|Mac|Browser) (paid)|JAWS (Windows) (paid)|Voice Dream Reader (iOS|Android)| VoiceOver (iOS) (free)| Talkback (free), depending on what I am doing and how my much my eyes are affecting me at that moment.
I taught myself braille and I have a couple of refreshable braille displays, which I use, depending on how well my eyes are working.
I can digitize printed material well, including STEM material, using a program called InftyReader (Windows).
It is no fun, but you have to do what you have to do.
If there was an online system that only worked with screen readers and the company said "sighted users can just call instead" I wouldn't use that company, and if they had the best price offering I'd be very annoyed. Making an inaccessible website is exactly the same.
There are many, many indignities that we encounter, even nearly constantly due to the way society ignores our needs.
If you go and check out some disabled activists' Twitter accounts, you may be shocked at the anger and the lack of "decency". But, put yourself in their shoes, and realize that they have been forced to deal with systematic and near-constant indignities, and many of them have been forced to fight for their mere existence as human beings.
While I don't claim to know what such disabilities are like, I feel I have experienced analogous frustrations. Back when Linux on the desktop and Firefox were catching on, I remember it being a crapshoot about whether critical sites (like banks and tax filing) would play nice with non-IE browsers, and I had to have a PC/Windows/IE setup as a fallback. Same issue: the use the meth-addled design that breaks any non-mainstream clients.
I also use Tridactyl (and before it, Vimium and pentadactyl), an extension that lets you click links from the keyboard, which is a huge UI improvement and (along with other keyboard input methods) speeds up web browsing significantly. It's generally good at detecting links, but the same sloppy design and over-clever features make clickable elements undetectable and frustrate this enhancement.
And for the kicker ... often times, these improvements "for the disabled" end up benefiting everyone else even more, but designers/buisdev people don't get it! See my previous comment about the Curb Cut Effect .
The web was designed with screen readers in mind. It is a serious regression to find major sites telling blind users to call in. This isn't the 60s.
Are those standards sufficiently complete as to be referenced by regulatory agencies?
If so, what's keeping us from adopting standards or at least recommendations for legal compliance?
I think that Domino's assertion is that the current framework is too vague, but I regularly see the argument that there are standards to follow. So... What are those standards, and why aren't they law?
But, just for the sake of your curiosity, American Airlines charge $35 per ticket when you call them to book.
Source: former multi-store, multi-Rolex winning Domino's franchisee.
Once the coupon left, he went to the competition. I used to spend about $1,000 a month in advertising just to get a few new customers to call. Keeping the ones you have is orders of magnitude cheaper, even if they complain about "cold pizza" once a month or so to get a free pie.
Rather than working with community groups to help each other find a workable solution.
Or they just mistype something and leave it... but your screenreader reads it and you hear/know how to spell it so you introduce bugs because you're using correct or localized spellings of a variable name when everywhere else in the code uses the incorrect or other-localized version?
You could see where there could be some major nomenclature issues.
Of course a good design policy could help, but someone still can mis-spell something, or even just caps in the wrong place.
Someone might make: const Sidebar and someone else calls it SideBar.
My main question is how do blind programmers deal w/ these sort of issues, I think that would be the hardest thing not being able to see.
Hell, I've mis-spelled something before and took me awhile to figure out that was what was breaking things.
Of course maybe using statically typed languages and things could help.
I'm sure their also tooling I'm unaware of, but definitely curious how they navigate these type of scenarios.
My father is an amazing salesman. He used to sell for Schwan's food in the 90's (those big yellow trucks that delivered frozen food to your door every 2 weeks).
He had a blind couple (husband and wife) that were on one of his routes, and they bought a little bit of food every time he came by. But they could never read the menu, because Schwan's only had printed brochures. One day, he had me and my siblings record on audio cassette the entire menu and their prices.
His sales from that couple shot through the roof! All of the sudden, there were all of these options for sale that they didn't even know about before, and now they wanted to try them. From that time forward, they were very faithful and consistent customers. And, of course, they were very appreciative of the gesture!
Every 6 months or so, when Schwan's updated their menu and/or pricing, we would re-record the menu, until Schwan's finally figured out an audio offering of their own.
A few years ago, my father ran into the couple when he happened to pass through their town (my father no longer sells for Schwan's, but now sells insurance and investments). The couple remembered and asked about each of us children by name, these decades later.
It's neat to see how just a little consideration (and a bit of extra work) can make a huge impact on someone else's life!
- Force businesses/streets to add a curb lip for wheelchairs -> Stars above, suddenly it's easier to accept deliveries and bring in luggage!
- Optimize site for slow connections, suddenly you have a torrent of previously-unserved customers. 
Edit: Turns out it's called the Curb Cut Effect:
 Summary at this HN discussion, follow through to the story for more details. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13601977
Honestly, I don't remember how they took care of the cooking details, but I remember my father telling me that they talked about one of the hardest things that they had to learn to do in the blind school was to be able to cook meat, because they had to go by the sound it made while cooking in order to determine how done it was.
Truthfully, I don't have an agenda.
I can see, though, how easy it would be for someone to use this story to back up their particular viewpoint, when, in fact, it was just a memory about an experience that I had as a child... A memory that I didn't realize had such a big impact until decades later.
Domino's tried to claim that their due process rights were being violated since there is no federally-mandated standard for accessibility. But the ADA is clear: businesses have a legal requirement to ensure that disabled customers have "full and equal enjoyment" of their goods and services. Domino's made the tenuous argument that the lack of a specific standard meant that they didn't receive fair notice.
Robles, the plaintiff, argued that the appropriate standard to apply was WCAG 2.0. Instead of offering a different possible standard (which would have been a defensible legal rationale), Domino's position was basically, "fuck off".
It's really not hard to make your websites accessible at a basic level. Follow the standards. Make sure your content and markup are reasonably semantic. Use standard form components for data entry. Where more complex, visual-first designs are employed, make sure there are text-based fallbacks.
If you are a professional software developer, doing this is not just your legal responsibility, it's your moral responsibility.
Do you follow the standards? If you show me a web site that you've developed I'll show you a site with multiple violations of WCAG 2.0. Hell, JAWS' own site is littered with WCAG violations! Yes, "accessibility at the basic level" is easy but WCAG 2.0 is not "accessibility at the basic level". It's a huge set of rules that are often unclear and ambiguous. And that's fine because WCAG 2.0 is just something that you should aspire to. But if you start defining accessibility by whether a site conforms to WCAG 2.0 or not, then I can guarantee you that every single popular site is non-accessible.
We got sued and believe me it has nothing to do with blind people. Our site is of zero interest to them. Companies are sued by scumbag lawyers, who have made a nice little racket out of this thing. It's really unfortunate that the HN crowd is siding with them, as if they are championing the rights of disabled people. It's all about money.
In the US, the choice was made instead to create a private right of action and to allow legal fees to be recovered. That means that lawyers who make this their business have to aim high to cover their costs (including from cases they lose) and are no incentivised to let a company off with a compliance notice and a deadline to improve.
As a result, there are a certain percentage of ADA cases which are not brought in good faith but that is the system the people have decided they want.
The people haven't decided anything. As usual, someone comes up with an absurd law, or an absurd interpretation of the law and there are not enough people affected to bother challenging it. But that doesn't mean "the people have decided".
Fighting the status quo is immensely more difficult than keeping it, even if the effect of that status quo is provably harmful.
The majority is not neutral but assumed to be in favor of their representative's (!) proposals.
Of course, politicians can and do deviate from this, in particular where legal bribery (lobbying) is involved, but that is the base assumption of representative democracy.
On the other hand, regulators pouring bleach on food for the homeless and secret homeless rescue operations to avoid regulators are a real thing. As are hairdressers being shut down, fined and even jailed for things like not having a license to braid hair, or giving free haircuts to the homeless. Excessive regulations also kill jobs and productivity from overzealous and power-tripping regulators. There are horrors on both sides.
Honestly, I'd bet that after you calculate the fixed costs + variable costs + opportunity costs + economic deadweight loss of all of these solutions, it'd be better to just take the total costs--what is likely 10s to 100s of thousands per person per year--and actually just give it directly to the disabled in the form of a check, and be done with this circus.
How do you know? It's not like blind people are all the same. They're just people with the same wide range of interests as everyone else.
As for paintings... there was really zero information on the site other than pictures of paintings? Nothing about the artist, the size, or the price? You apparently don't realize that a lot of people who rely on screen readers are able to see to some extent. They may use the screen reader to navigate your site or make purchases, but they may still be able to see the paintings (sometimes by magnifying the screen greatly and looking closely at the details) if not in exactly the same way that you do.
I don't disbelieve that shakedowns like you describe happen. But there is a reason for the rules that you are apparently breaking. It also sounds like you don't really believe that disabled folks deserve any consideration.
You say you don't hear from them, asking questions or complaining, probably because the vast majority just give up when they encounter websites like the ones you create. They are likely very tired of contacting website owners (assuming they can figure out how to do so--not easy if the site isn't accessible!) who send back insults about how they can't possibly be interested in the contents of the site or accusing them of trying to shake the website owner down.
The sort of thinking you are putting on display here is exactly why the ADA is so important.
No, that's not at all what I believe so let me clarify what my objections are. First, by its very nature "accessibility" is open to interpretation and allowing people to sue companies for non-accessible sites gives way to frivolous lawsuits. As far as I remember, there isn't even an attempt to define "accessibility" in US law. Currently it's something like "Go look at WCAG and see what you can do". This is further exacerbated by the way these lawsuits work - it makes sense to settle even if you think everything is OK with your site. The plaintiff doesn't pay anything, his lawyers work on contingency so even if you "win", you'd spend a fortune on defense and you're not allowed to recoup those expenses from the plaintiff.
Second, these are private businesses we're talking about. They should be allowed to weigh in the ROI of investing in accessibility vs the potential income from disabled customers. I'm a reasonable guy and I was happy to fix some legit issues that the lawyers pointed out. They were relatively easy to fix and I would have done it even without any threats. Not in the least because they could have affected sighted customers as well. Other issues are completely out of whack and could take man-years to sort out fully. I don't have that kind of time. So, let me reverse the question. Do you believe everyone with disability must be able to use any service, no matter the expense to the business? Do you draw the line somewhere? What about people with nut allergies? Should we force restaurants to offer guaranteed nut-free food along with their other products? Why should a blind person be able to enjoy a pizza from Domino's but a person with nut allergy shouldn't?
> I don't disbelieve that shakedowns like you describe happen.
You seem to think that the shakedowns are the minority and most cases are legit. It's the other way around if you do a quick "ADA lawsuits" search. Here is good article about the practice:
There was a bipartisan bill that passed the House 2 years ago (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/620/...) that aimed at closing drive-by ADA shakedowns. The bill required claimants to give 120 days to business to fix issue. It seems the bill hasn't been signed by the Senate (not sure why, if anyone knows more let me know). This is a good bill, hopefully it will pass.
edit: Found why it didn't pass the Senate. Democrats in Senate promised to filibuster any attempt to bring the bill to the floor. https://rewire.news/article/2018/04/03/sen-tammy-duckworth-s....
I suspect the main reason for the bill was the "substantial progress" wording, which would let businesses get out of becoming fully compliant.
Their first argument is that because state laws exist, there should not be a federal reform. I thought federal laws were there to set a default law for states. If they don't agree with the abuse they should work and reforming the federal law first.
Their second argument is that it 'let businesses get out of becoming fully compliant'. I don't understand. A 120-day heads-up isn't a way to get away with penalties.
And what is missing (and maybe they did say it but it is not mentioned in the article) is what they suggest as an alternative. Surely if you vow to block a reform but agree on the problem they should come up with solutions. There should be a way to both make more businesses compliant and prevent ADA shakedowns.
I am discovering how hard it is to make our laws evolve :)
What were these?
Sure, why not?
But I'm confused here. Does your website somehow feature both paintings and car insurance?
But by and large, blind people don't buy auto insurance because they don't drive and they don't buy paintings because they can't see them. Forcing these businesses to invest excessive efforts to serve 0.0001% of their potential target audience is idiotic.
And no, I'm not going to say what we sell because it's not important and this was clearly an extortion case.
It seems to me that what you sell is the central issue here, as you're claiming that blind people wouldn't be interested in it. I'm not really willing to take your word for it, given the other examples you've used.
In the case of car insurance, it's obvious that people don't only buy insurance for cars that they drive. Consider e.g. an employee of a company looking to buy insurance for company cars.
There are also lots of blind artists and blind people interested in visual arts, as you can discover from a simple google search.
It's worth remembering also that many "blind" people are partially sighted, so that they may be unable to read text but still appreciate visual arts in a direct perceptual way. On top of that, there are people who have lost their sight, and who may still have a keen interest in the visual arts formed when they were still able to see.
Is he right because you agree with him? I don't think he's right. The law also doesn't think he's right.
There's also quite a few assumptions that you seem to have made in not very good faith, because how could you know how much effort it would take to fix accessibility for a website that you don't even know what sells? You've also assumed some exaggerated fraction of a percent, and assumed that a lawsuit that you don't know anything about was frivolous.
Based on what information did you assume all those things?
Is that frivolous enough for you? That's the same law you're defending here and when that article came out, it was universally decried here on HN. Funny how things change, huh? But I guess it's not ok for someone to sue UC-Berkley for providing free non-accessible lectures, while it's totally ok for a private business to be sued for having a non-accessible website.
I also have a hard time answering for an anonymous group of people, as I am not HN.
You seem very eager to assign very clear and simple intentions to large and complex groups of human beings. Blind people don't like this kind of stuff, these lawsuits are frivolous, HN had this collective opinion on X but has now changed its mind.
For the record, I think it's fine for someone to sue UC-Berkeley and other private businesses for not following the law. Do you have a labeled box for me?
At the same time, all you've been doing is disingenuous interpretations of my posts and dismissing other reports as "biased", while not providing a single datapoint yourself.
"GASP! How dare you say blind people are not interested in paintings! The horror and the arrogance!"
Sure, there are blind people buying paintings and interested in art. How does that invalidate anything of what I said? The point is not that there are literally zero blind people buying paintings, the point is that they are very very far from the target audience and hence it's not worth investing a significant effort to cater to those people. People from Africa are not my target market either and I make zero effort to make sure the site is accessible there. Am I now a racist too?
> For the record, I think it's fine for someone to sue UC-Berkeley and other private businesses for not following the law.
Are you fine with a frivolous suit against UC-Berkeley too? Because it is possible that lawsuit is frivolous and UC-Berkeley is breaking the law. In fact that's exactly what's happened - UC-Berkeley is in technical violation of a botched law, they got threatened with a frivolous lawsuit and decided to just remove the free content. As a result everyone loses but I hope the ADA defenders are happy.
Can you source this claim? You didn't provide any data point for that. You've claimed a lot of things that you just know and seem to take offense to that being challenged.
In fact, UC Berkeley case is the only data point I've seen from you here; which feels sparse given the blanket statements you've made about the intentions of various groups of people. You won't even say what product you are selling that you know for a fact that blind people are not interested in at all.
Can you also provide a data point on the UC Berkeley lawsuit being frivolous? What are you basing that on?
> "The point is not that there are literally zero blind people buying paintings, the point is that they are very very far from the target audience and hence it's not worth investing a significant effort to cater to those people."
That depends on how much value you place on following the law.
> "People from Africa are not my target market either and I make zero effort to make sure the site is accessible there. Am I now a racist too?"
Could you please stop inventing arguments to rebut, because it's not really helpful. We're talking about ADA here, not whatever you're making up here.
You've been too busy twisting my arguments and you might have missed the link I posted earlier:
> Can you also provide a data point on the UC Berkeley lawsuit being frivolous? What are you basing that on?
Are you now trolling me? I can't believe I need to explain this but I'll make one last attempt:
UCB posts free video lectures online. UCB is technically violating ADA by not having captions.
Someone says "You're breaking the law, your free content must be available to everyone with disabilities or I'll sue you". UCB complies with the law the easiest way possible by shutting down the free lectures. You say you value the ADA law so you should be happy - UCB is in compliance now. Everyone else lost, including actual people with disabilities who might have had partial access to the videos one way or another. I'll leave it to you to decide how desirable this outcome was, nitpicking "frivolous" definition notwithstanding.
> Could you please stop inventing arguments to rebut, because it's not really helpful. We're talking about ADA here, not whatever you're making up here.
My argument is perfectly valid. I was talking about ADA until you implied that I'm bigoted and trying to tell blind people what they should be interested in. That has nothing to do with ADA. If want to go in that direction, go all the way and tell me that I'm racist because I'm not ensuring my site is accessible in Africa.
"I simply don't believe" is not a great argument, when the previous car insurance and painting analogies proved to me that you can conjure up a hypothetical interest of a blind person about anything.
These aren’t hypothetical! Blind people really are interested in both these things, as you can easily find out by googling — or just using your common sense.
Like OP, you’re illustrating exactly why we need the ADA. People often have wildly inaccurate perceptions about what people with visual disabilities can or can’t do and about what they may or may not be interested in. If “I don’t think blind people would be into this” were a valid excuse, then virtually nothing would be accessible in practice.
As the OP has already demonstrated that they have mistaken ideas about blind people, I’m not willing to take their word for it that they have some kind of special product which couldn’t possibly be of interest to the visually impaired. They are free to reveal what they actually sell, if they think they have a slam dunk case.
It's a perfectly valid complaint from someone that sells a product which is generally not interesting to blind people (you seem to think this is an impossibility, or that one edge case outlier invalidates this reality), to not want to do this if it will bring no new business and make no-one's life easier.
But if you went around saying that really it isn't important to fix vulns since they don't affect that many people you'd be rightly raked over the coals.
"It is expensive" isn't an excuse.
I don't know why you keep referring to "edge cases" and "outliers". The two actual examples that the OP has given do not meet this description.
I'm really sick of the argument by outlier where a generally true statement is countered by an outlier case as though that invalidates the whole statement.
By which you mean, you decided without actually asking any of them or doing any investigation that a certain group of people don’t appreciate visual art.
The vast majority of people using screen readers have some degree of vision. I would not assume that they have no appreciation of visual art.
The ADA is needed because people have so many assumptions about people with disabilities that they don’t bother to verify.
You don't need to convince me that it would make some people's life better. That could be said of any expense made on somebody's behalf. You have to show that the cost-benefit ratio makes sense.
If you wish to continue making unwarranted assumptions about what blind people are interested in buying, that's your call. But the law doesn't (and shouldn't) back you up.
Why? No one is saying that it's always a sound business idea to accommodate people with disabilities. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. But not everything is about the business owner's bottom line.
Firmly agree. It's amazing to see how many cling to the view that people with disabilities are this alien group of "others" that think differently and are probably only interested in things for disabled people.
Like, how can anyone state that "blind people aren't interested in this" seriously? Like there exists a bullet list of things that blind people like.
I believe it should be his right to just simply say my product is not for blind people, and dedicate no resources to servicing this hypothetical user base.
It's very easy to tell others to do something a certain way with a condescending tone from behind your screen if you've got no stakes and don't have to do any of the work involved.
Fortunately, in America we don't believe discrimination is acceptable, and we've codified that principle in the law.
Apparently, in America, its more important to appear to be virtuous than to actually do good.
The law of unintended consequences.
>On average over the post-ADA period, employment of men with disabilities was 7.2 percentage points lower than before the act was passed. In addition, wages of disabled men did not change with the passage of the ADA.
This one is long, and they do mention some positive impact on education later. Didn't read that far though.
>while relative disabled employment declined significantly just after the ADA’s enactment in states in which these provisions were a substantial innovation relative to the pre-ADA state-level employment discrimination regime, relative disabled employment was stable in states with ADA-like employment discrimination regimes in place prior to the ADA’s enactment
Non-exhaustive search, but the data seems to indicate that ADA reduced employment for the disabled shortly after inception. I'm not certain on the longer term effects (those are also much more annoying to model here).
Again, Law of Unintended Consequences.
It's perfectly acceptable to not allow someone to rent an apartment because they have a criminal history, or a poor financial or employment history. It's also acceptable for American Express to not issue black cards to people who don't make a million dollars a year.
We have codified some traits that we do not allow discrimination based on, but generally speaking, discrimination is acceptable. Unless you change the general definition of "discrimination" to the legal one, which would seem to make the argument circular (i.e. we have banned discrimination where discrimination is the things we have banned).
You might believe it, but the law apparently says otherwise. It’s ok to disagree with laws while still complying with them, and if you’re so passionate about it... it’s ok to work to change them.
I might believe that my healthcare business shouldn’t have to comply with HIPPA but if I don’t comply I should expect to be sued.
I might believe my online store shouldn’t need to be PCI compliant and that it’s unfair, but if I don’t imply I should expect to pay for it.
Through (imperfect) representative democracy, the public has decided that being sloppy with health information, improperly protecting credit card information, and providing access to your business to disabled people are important enough to enforce via the law. It doesn’t really matter what the business owner’s beliefs are at that point.
Anyone who really thinks it’s so important to deny blind people equal access to their web site is free to run for Congress or find a politician who agrees with them to vote for.
Isn't this exactly what you're doing here, condescendingly name-calling people and dismissing their opinions?
As but one example: there are blind people skiing now, with echolocation and other methods. I bet ski lift operators would have argued that they have nothing to offer to blind people, making that particular expansion of freedom more difficult.
"It's a website, which you look at, so clearly blind people aren't interested."
I'm sorry you got burned, but this is not the best way to make your point.
A unanimous denial of certiorari (declining to hear the case) sends a pretty strong message to lawyers and their clients. It only takes 4 votes (1 less than majority) to hear a case, so the fact that there were zero justices interested is a clear message. While it is technically possible that there could in the future be a circuit split, which could then be appealed to the SCOTUS, it is unlikely SCOTUS would hear that case.
And given what happened today, it is even less likely that a competent lawyer would counsel their client to appeal a similar case up to a federal appeals court (because it looks like it would be a loser of a case).
So while the SCOTUS did not affirmatively speak today, their unanimously declining to hear the case does actually say something new, and this is being hailed as a landmark-ish case in the legal accessibility community.
FWIW, IAAL, and I run an assistive technology startup.
That is, this case presented a novel issue, and it was at a stage where the questions were legal in nature (not factual). That's the perfect opportunity for SCOTUS to take the case if they planned to interpret the ADA as not applying to business' websites. They could hypothetically weigh in on the case after Dominos has a full trial with all the facts, but if they planned to say that as a matter of law the ADA does not apply to Dominoes' website, why would they wait to do so?
And since both "sides" (liberal and conservative) of the Court have at least 4 justices right now, either could have independently granted cert. This is especially true for the conservative wing, which is typically viewed (or typically caricatured, depending on your perspective) as being more business-friendly — and which has 5 justices.
Regardless, thanks for raising this point. You're right that the absence of a cert. denial dissent does not strictly indicate a unanimous vote.
Which is to say, even if the entire court (both liberals and conservatives) thought the lower court decided wrong they probably wouldn't want to hear this case until a couple other lower courts also wrote something - just in case some argument that someone comes up over the next few years points out an angle they hadn't thought of and so they would reverse.
That is a preference though. They can of course do what they want.
There is a clear difference between 'discriminating' against someone because of their disability, and a person's inability to participate in something because of a disability.
Later in the law discrimination is defined, and it gives an exception that auxiliary aids must be provided, except when providing them would be an undue burden.
If I were Dominos (I'm not a lawyer, so I probably have this wrong), based on a reading of the law, I would argue that since Dominos offers pizza ordering through the telephone it is not depriving anyone their services if the website is not accessible. The service Dominos has to provide access to is delivery of pizzas, not the use of their website, which only exists specifically for the purpose of ordering pizzas. Could a library be sued because a specific book doesn't contain braille, when the same book is available in braille? What if Dominos had two phone numbers, one that offered teletype and one that was voice only? This judgement seems to imply that they could be sued unless both their phone numbers offered TDD, because they are depriving people of the use of the other phone number?
I'm all for making websites accessible, but I find it hard to believe someone who orders a pizza over the phone is being deprived of 'equal enjoyment' of the pizza.
IANAL, but you definitely have this wrong, in terms of the history of this case, at least. The DOJ has made clear since their first guidance in 1996 and courts have held repeatedly that the ADA applies to websites in the service of public accommodation.
Domino's absolutely has a defense if they are able to demonstrate that their services are "equally" and "effectively" provided to all. The lower court held that they didn't even need to look into the facts at issue, i.e. they don't even need to find out if the phone line provides such service. The court of appeals rightly said that, in fact, it is important to find out if there's evidence of discrimination.
Why not? A blind tourist in the US shouldn't be able to order some Domino's? What about a blind person who has temporarily lost their voice (e.g. due to laryngitis, or a bad cold)? A sighted person in this situation would not have had a problem, so clearly the "full and equal enjoyment" requirement is not being satisfied here.
A blind person who has lost their voice could avail themselves of the text<->speech service I mentioned. If they also don't speak English they may need to employ a translation dictionary or some other translation service as well, but I'm not aware of any legal obligation for private businesses to provide translation services in the US.
Would they know how? They wouldn't normally be accustomed to using those tools, right? A sighted person with laryngitis doesn't need to bother with learning text-to-speech for the 2 weeks they don't have their voice because they can just use the website. If blind users have to learn the tools, that's adding an extra burden on them. (And yes blind users have to learn how to use screenreaders, which sighted users don't, but that's a permanent requirement associated with their disability)
> because not being able to speak English isn't considered a disability under that law.
That's not what I said. I've added parentheses to my statement so it's easier to parse as a boolean "(blind and (speech impaired or unable to speak the local language))".
> I'm not aware of any legal obligation for private businesses to provide translation services in the US.
But Domino's provides access to their website in multiple languages. So a blind non-English-speaker isn't enjoying the "equal and full enjoyment" of Domino's services that a sighted non-English-speaker would.
That's all true, but I feel like there's a missing "Therefore..." at the end.
> > because not being able to speak English isn't considered a disability under that law.
> That's not what I said. I've added parentheses to my statement so it's easier to parse as a boolean "(blind and (speech impaired or unable to speak the local language))".
I know that's not what you said. It's what I said. I don't see what your second sentence has to do with it.
> But Domino's provides access to their website in multiple languages. So a blind non-English-speaker isn't enjoying the "equal and full enjoyment" of Domino's services that a sighted non-English-speaker would.
Yeah, they got sued because blind people allegedly can't use their website. Language has nothing to do with it.
The person I was originally responding to was arguing that blind people could simply order on the phone and that was an acceptable substitute for the lack of web accessibility. I was pointing out the reasons that it's not as good. Language absolutely is pertinent here.
> That's all true, but I feel like there's a missing "Therefore..." at the end.
Therefore websites should be accessible. Phone ordering isn't a good enough substitute in these other situations and the blind are placed at a disadvantage compared to the sighted.
On a basic level, yes. But what does the law consider to be reasonable? There are so many degrees of compliance, some of which often go against brand guidelines, against common js libraries, etc.
I'm certain they can figure out a viable option with their APIs
I know there is a snarky comment about enjoying Dominoe's pizza...
But it is comical that Dominoes championed ordering pizza by tweeting an pizza emoji, but failed to address helping the bling order online.
What I find appauling is I need to be disabled to demand a website that doesn't require font.js and 600 trackers to run, that doesn't intercept my scroll wheel or make me use a Google product for captcha.
hyper text mark up language is dead. Long live the world wide web.
Well, now, as developers we have more ammunition to backup the moral obligation.
Now we can demand the time to validate that a site is compliant with WCAG 2.0, and point to this ruling as a legal mandate to do so.