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Asking for accessibility gets you nothing but grief. (lightgetsin.dreamwidth.org)
154 points by ColinWright on Sept 3, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 136 comments

That experience with acceessibility may be true for many websites, but certainly isn't the case for Microsoft products (and I assume websites but do not know for sure). I was on the Visual Studio Environment team, and we put an incredible amount of effort into making sure everything was accessibile. This meant not only screen readers, but also solid support for high-contrast or large font size OS modes (used by people who are not blind but have extremely limited vision). I spent many hours with my machine configured in super-low resolutions and large font+contrast mode or trying to use the product with only headphones and keyboard (monitor off).

I'm disappointed to hear that this person got such negative feedback from the companies they contacted. It probably sounds cheesy, but I fixed quite a few bugs related to accessibility and to this day I get a happy feeling remembering the feedback we got from the customers for whom this support was critical to their ability to earn a living as a software developer.

I just wanted to say thanks. :) As a person with low vision (and a heavy VS user), I'm grateful that there was so much attention to detail in the development of VS with respect to accessibility.

I don't know if it has to do with US government ADA requirements or not, but I'm glad that across the board Microsoft tends to build accessible software.

> I don't know if it has to do with US government ADA requirements or not, but I'm glad that across the board Microsoft tends to build accessible software.

For Visual Studio 2005, at least, this certainly didn't hurt, but we also had an incredibly dedicated and passionate group of people working on this issue, putting together brown bags educating developer division on MSAA and building accessible software, bringing in the creators of JAWS, logging bugs against every nook and cranny of the product, etc. etc.

I wish I could remember the names of everyone who was involved in this, but Sara Ford was instrumental. I'm glad I got to be a part of the whole thing, even though my contributions were focused on project management-type stuff.

Ah, good times! It's always great to hear kind words about the accessibility work with Visual Studio. When i first joined the Accessibility effort back in 2001, I coded in Visual Studio for 3 months without a monitor. I'll never forget the nightmares of hearing VS talk to me in my sleep :)

I'm embarrassed I can't remember their names either. It was a great group of people. (Hey Arron! Hey Lars!) But yes, the accessibility virtual team consisted of about 50 people across the division all using JAWS, Window Eyes, and other programs to open bugs. Really good times.

Hi Sara! :)

Thank you! And just so you know, this comment made my weekend.

The ADA requirements are pretty minimal -- it just has to "work." All the work we did to, for example, make the reader's navigation order sensible within the tree views for the solution explorer and class browser was because we wanted it to be good.

And because Sara Ford would just open another bug if we didn't fix it right, as mentioned in one other comment :-)

Hats off to Microsoft's Greg Lowney, who, in the early '90s -- working pretty much by himself -- pioneered this corporate focus on accessibility. A great example of intrapreneurship within a big company.


+1 I was on VS as well for a while and this is very true. Accessibility, and localization were a big deal because they were a relatively small investment and opened up big markets: other countries and U.S. Government.

I get one of these emails every once in a while.

I understand that X Does Not Support Screenreaders is an imposition for folks who have issues with standard browsers, particularly because there are an awful lots of Xes. At the same time, X Does Not Support Screenreaders Because Of Y, and there are an awful lot of Ys, too.

You might think that scanning a menu and formatting a menu in HTML are approximately equally as easy. Not so much, no. There is an actual cost here. For a restaurant menu, that is likely to only be in the couple hundreds of dollars range. (<joke>I will entertain complaints about this from people who don't bill in six minute increments.</joke>)

For more complex applications, this can -- easily -- run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is easy to underestimate how expensive it is because you only see the element from the set of Ys that caused non-compatibility in the present instance, not the entire set of Ys which you have to a) avoid and b) rigorously test against.

Getting down to brass tacks, the population which benefits from any particular engineering effort to address a Y is generally very small and, often, far smaller in marginal value to the business than the cost of addressing that Y. It has occasionally been the public policy of the US that businesses are supposed to subsidize that population (see: Americans with Disabilities Act, etc). Reasonable people can disagree on whether that is a justice-maximizing policy.

I see it not as a subsidy but more of an insurance premium. We all put in a little bit of extra effort in exchange for not being royally screwed if it happens to us. The progress of civilization seems to go hand-in-hand with these sorts of arrangements. That's probably because there are so many ways to be royally screwed that, if we didn't look out for each other, everyone would be screwed in one way or another.

But there needs to be economic incentives for this to work (and regulation is an economic incentive). Asking a business to be altruistic is like asking a bear to not eat your trash.

Asking a business to be altruistic is like asking a bear to not eat your trash.

I get kinda annoyed by Capitalism Means Being A Heartless Bastard, because it doesn't. Businesses are routinely altruistic for the same reason that businesses are routinely greedy: like soylent green, they're made out of people.

And I'm sure the author of the article routinely encounters perfectly accessible web sites, but charity is not something we can rely on at scale, nor can we rely on there being some person who feels responsible for everything every business does or doesn't do.

I don't think the most important social progress happens spontaneously.

That ignores the fact that some of those people, usually the ones in power, are either heartless bastards or, more often, sufficiently involved in making the company succeed to forego altruism. Making sure your employees keep their jobs often counts for more than being kind to strangers.

However, there is another way in which capitalism makes things better: it does its best to find markets for everything. For instance, Unilever sells very small packages of washing powder in India, which is optimized to be used in rivers. Previously, people in India did not have access to washing powder (the regular large packages were too expensive and the stuff wasn't very useful in the river). Now they have access to washing powder, which improves hygiene.

However, instructions on packages of washing powder are not printed in braille.

Previously, people in India did not have access to washing powder [...] Now they have access to washing powder, which improves hygiene.

What an awful example.

Before washing powder, people used a bar of wash soap: cheaper, more convenient, purpose-designed and doesn't come in single-use packages encouraging you to use more than you need. (Wash soap also does a much better job than any powder I have tried when hand-washing, although YMMV.)

This sounds like a classic case of a large corporation's marketing department convincing people to buy a product that is more expensive and no better (and possibly worse) than what they currently have.

For the definitive example of this, see Nestle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestl%C3%A9_boycott#The_baby_mi...

I don't think an explanation involving 'YMMV' and 'sounds like' is a sufficient support for your opening statement that it is 'an awful example'.

They have simply entered a market with a competing product. Unless you have evidence that their product is inferior to competing solutions and that they know it, but intend to overcome that problem by outmarketing the competition, then you really don't have any support for your position. Nestle has nothing to do with it until then.

You're being ridiculous. I don't have access to Unilever's internal marketing materials, and I doubt that you do either.

You're the one accusing them of immoral behavior.

I'm only relaying what I've heard an employee tell and I assume good faith: they changed their product such that it would be suitable for a new market and a nice side effect is that the product becomes available at all (which is nice because it improves matters). I have no stake in this and will readily revise my ideas, but not based on an unsupported accusation.

(They're amoral, if anything.)

which is nice because it improves matters

But you haven't actually demonstrated that it improves anything, you simply asserted it without proof.

And this is not something that can just be assumed to be true, because the pre-existing solution really is very good.

Microsoft, which seems to do decently, is said to make most stuff accessible. Of course, their commitment to doing stuff right (right = no bugs, no compatibility issues, secure, tested, fully I18N and accessible), even at the cost of a bit of agility (and a lot of developer time) is part of what made them successful.

OK MS does screw up, but much less than pretty much everyone else they have competed with. Google, Sun, post-Jobs's-return Apple, and Canonical are also good at doing stuff right.

I'm mostly with you, but how can you say Google is boot st this stuff when many of their products aren't accessible or don't work in Opera?

Businesses aren't made of people any more than they are made of bricks or telephones. Businesses employ people, and are owned by people. Assuming that businesses will be nice because they are largely composed of humans isn't any more reasonable than assuming that they will stink because they are composed of garbage cans.

I see it not as a subsidy but more of an insurance premium.

Indeed, we're all going to get old. Being "able-bodied" is fleeting; enjoy it while it lasts.

The optimal way to solve this is to invest more money in screen-readers. Unlike robotic wheelchairs climbing stairs, software can be copied for free once it's developed. If the government wants to step in, they can provide purchase vouchers to the disabled and let them drive the direction of screen-reading innovation.

Also, that's the best way of putting of the problem for the future to solve it. We have really good ways of dealing with it /right now/, as long as people pay attention to it early in the process of building/creating/designing something.

In a perfect world, we'd do both things at the same time. When people thing about accessibility now they think about people with mental or physical problems, but what about when our generation gets old? The only reason this is not a very widespread problem is that there are very few people with accessibility problems, this will not be the case 10-15 years from now.

Incidentally, the robotic wheelchair that can climb stairs (the iBot) is now discontinued [1]. Based on the bevy of comments, users are sad to see it go. Also, I believe Deka (and now J&J) have extensive patents in this space. They should release into the public domain so that others can build on the technology.

[1] http://www.hizook.com/blog/2009/02/11/ibot-discontinued-unfo...

I've done accessibility work for large sites/corps and yes, it can cost to retrofit. Getting to the point of basic accessibility for most users is not that hard if you actually -think- about it during the design and development process!

Even the basic steps of using alt text, and seeing if your pages are readable with no CSS, and with different browser font sizes takes care of a huge number of issues that people encounter every single day. There are many more users affected than you think, and it's insanity to blatantly alienate customers.

I think that generating a PDF of a menu is likely to be substantially less work than scanning a menu to get an image. Nobody types a menu on a typewriter anymore, it's all text on a computer at some point before it's ink on paper.

The argument about accessibility has essentially always been that processes and things being designed for accessibility from the outset doesn't really cost anything extra, it's bolting accessibility on afterwards that gets so very expensive.

The argument about accessibility has essentially always been that processes and things being designed for accessibility from the outset doesn't really cost anything extra, it's bolting accessibility on afterwards that gets so very expensive.

That argument is convenient for some advocates to believe in a way which is orthogonal to its truth about a statement of engineering reality.

I think that generating a PDF of a menu is likely to be substantially less work than scanning a menu to get an image. Nobody types a menu on a typewriter anymore, it's all text on a computer at some point before it's ink on paper.

What if the restaurant only got a final image from the graphic designer? I know it's silly and restaurants should ask for the proper files with layers & text etc., but lots of them don't know about this.

So if the problem with accessibility efforts is that the cost is relatively high and the benefit is relatively low, in that you only gain access to a small number of additional customers for a potentially large development effort, why not fix this dynamic?

Imagine a GetSatisfaction-type site where you publicly list and track accessibility issues. Apart from making these issues more visible, the upside to fixing an accessibility issue goes way up because now you have something embarrassing in your SERP for all to see instead of a few disgruntled non-customers.


In the UK its a bit different. No cases yet, but give it time.

iPhone developers: Never considered supporting Apple's VoiceOver technology before? Setting aside positive karma, here's an awesome reason to do it: your app needs to be accessible in order to work with the best functional testing framework out there, KIF [1] (https://github.com/square/kif)

Write tests with KIF, ensure that blind and low-vision users can use your app, ensure that your app is functional. What's not to love?

[1] i'm totally unaffiliated with Square, its creators. I just happen to be in love with it, that's all.

VoiceOver is crazy easy to integrate. If you use UIKit, you're already 95% there. The visually impaired community is very social and you'll be winning yourself some advocates if you do it right.

And, if you're not sure if you're doing it right, I bet it would be pretty easy to find some visually impaired folks who would be incredibly happy to give you a lot of very detailed, specific feedback.

Absolutely! Many of our very best and most involved beta testers are visually impaired; their involvement and feedback's been invaluable -- not just on matters of accessibility but also/especially when piloting new & experimental features -- we've been extraordinarily lucky to have their support and assistance.

Do you find low vision users to prefer text-to-speech instead of very-large-high-contrast-text? I would be uncomfortable walking around with my phone reading aloud to me and everyone else in earshot.

I imagine you would also be uncomfortable walking about with limited vision, not looking where you were going and staring at your phone. At least a headphone can solve the former case.

It sure does. Also, if you search hard enough any site will breach some accessibility guideline for a deaf, blind, mentally handicapped or epileptic user.

For example http://validator.nu/?doc=http%3A%2F%2Flightgetsin.dreamwidth... shows some possible WebAIM accessibility guidelines breaches.

- non-valid mark-up.

  4.1.1 Significant HTML/XHTML validation/parsing errors are avoided.
- mixing of inline styling with external styling.

  4.1.2 Markup is used in a way that facilitates accessibility. 
  This includes following the HTML/XHTML specifications and 
  using forms, form labels, frame titles, etc. appropriately.
- Using &nbsp;&nbsp; and <br> for visual spacing

  See 4.1.2
- using tables for layout

  See 4.1.2
- not providing a label, description or fieldset for the searchform

  1.1.1 Form inputs have associated text labels or, if 
  labels cannot be used, a descriptive title attribute.
And, not a WebAIM guideline, but still a good accessibility guideline:

- Use a modern doctype (of the strict variant if not HTML5)

- Don't use deprecated tags like <b> for article headings.

- Provide an option to skip large lists.

If you start wielding all these guidelines and specifications like a D&D guide you are sure to bump into hostility here and there. :)

I've spent about four years as a medical tech working with epilepsy in a neurology lab. Sorry, but this just gets up my nose.

Please stop using 'flashing images' as a way to co-opt epileptics into defense of the issue-of-the-day (that's the only thing I can think of as to why you included it). Yes, some epileptics do respond to flashing images (~15% have the kind required, less actually respond), but the parameters are pretty tight for the bulk of them. The kind of flashing that can trigger a seizure is also monumentally irritating to regular users, and generally hasn't been used since the 90s.

I spent four years in a full-time job where I sat in the dark flashing lights at epileptic and suspected epileptic patients, 4-6 times a day while recording EEG, so I've got a reasonable subjective feel for the kind of flashing that fires it off. I've spent a lot of time on the web, too, and the only thing that even comes close in general use are the flashing-style 'you are the 999999th visitor' ads, and even then they usually subtend too small an arc of the visual field.

For the record, the usual range for photosensitive epileptics to respond to flashing images or lights is 12-20Hz, with a peak different for each patient and with some rolloff at each end. Above 25Hz epileptic responses are extremely rare - I've not personally seen one, but they do exist.

Yes, there are some epileptics that can have a seizure from a single camera flash, and I've seen them, but they're reasonably rare amongst flash-responsive epileptics (themselves an uncommon group). I've also heard of an epileptic whose trigger was orange circles - not orange other shapes, or other coloured circles (anything can be a trigger for a seizure). At what point do you set the bar for rarity?

Sorry, but it gets up my nose - almost every time I've seen someone 'defend epileptics' online, they don't actually know much about epilepsy, and seem more to be using common mythology about epilepsy in order to co-opt the illness to strengthen a point being made.

Of course, two other common forms of trigger, depending on the kind of epilepsy, are stress and hyperventilation (strictly speaking, these are less triggers and more threshold-to-event reducers). In this case, one could argue that frustrating site design works against epileptics...

I included it to make the following point: Accessibility is more than catering for the deaf or blind. It also includes color blindness, mental handicaps or going by the standard:



Which have the following guidelines (or myths?):

  - allow users to control flickering, avoid causing the screen to flicker

  - allow users to control blinking, avoid causing content to blink

  - allow users to freeze moving content, avoid movement in pages

  While people with epilepsy are browsing web sites, they 
  may encounter pages that have blinking texts and 
  animation that may trigger seizures. Sudden loud sounds 
  and repetitive audio in some web pages can also cause 
  epileptic seizures.
I do not know much about epilepsy, so I will believe your experience, but believe me when I say I am not using it as a way to further a point. I believe in above guidelines, regardless if they help for epilepsy, because in this case they help other users with a mental handicap or ADHD and so remain good guidelines. Or do you rather have we don't mention epilepsy all together when making sites accessible and just call them common sense? It is easy to ignore even a common sense guideline when there are so many different ones.

It seems you have an uphill battle to fight if mentioning epilepsy and accessibility in one sentence gets up your nose. Like my quotes show, I am not the fringe 'defend epileptics' spreader of myths here, this is part of the accessibility topic.

It's fair to say that I overreacted a little, but I did admit it (via 'sorry, gets up my nose'...)

What I was really reacting against was if you search hard enough any site will breach some accessibility guideline for a ... epileptic user. The other three, sure. But I just do not come across any kind of website offering a service that violates these principles. You could throw a brick and find any website that violates guidelines for people with blindness or mental illness. You'd have to search for specific audio-based sites to find ones that discriminate against deaf folks (I can't see how HN does so, for example, but I may be missing something). But you'd have to go through a lot of service-offering sites to find a serious one that caused problems for epileptics.

The only kind of violation of these principles I could think of is a bug anyway - the issue where a mouseover changes the shape of a menu, moving it out from under the pointer, reverting the menu back to original shape, repeat ad infinitum.

Apart from that, I just don't see websites that cause problems. Served ads on some low class websites, perhaps (999999!), but not the content that the website itself is providing.

Solutions for epileptics to use poorly designed sites (if they were a real problem like they are for the blind) are here anyway - [Esc] in pretty much every browser cancels image animation. Flashblock kills flash dead, allowing you to throttle it to your needs. If you're really, really susceptible to simple movement as an epileptic (I've never heard of it, but it could happen, I guess - see the orange circle guy), you can install noscript, which breaks a lot of websites, but kills non-image animation dead. But if you're that susceptible, you're extremely rare and the web probably shouldn't be designed around your use case.

It seems you have an uphill battle to fight if mentioning epilepsy and accessibility in one sentence gets up your nose.

Please read my comment again. It's not 'mentioning them in the same sentence', that's a strawman.

This is true, but Dreamwidth is a blogging platform (it's a fork of Livejournal), so those errors weren't caused by the post's author. Presumably it's accessible enough for the user in question to be able to navigate and post at, though, since they say they're using a screenreader; I assume the "disabled and disgruntled" tag means this wasn't just an academic exercise.

The optimal solution is to find or create some tool that lets you bypass these options. This is a bit of a tangent, since that's really not what this post is about, but it's worth mentioning.

If you're stuck in a wheelchair, it's good when people build ramps, but it's far, far better to have a wheelchair that can go up stairs.

The former makes you dependent on the consideration of others, and sometimes that consideration is really not a reasonable thing to ask or expect.

Even in this apparently simple case, as others have pointed out, it is not easy to make everything accessible to screen readers. Also, what about older websites and archives of scans and so forth? It's far better to focus on tools that let one be as independent as possible.

I understand the annoyance. And I really hate it when people respond to requests like this in a hostile manner. But at the end of the day it is better if the person with exceptional needs can take on the responsibility for making these transactions possible themselves. (Also I'm sure there's loads of money to made developing these tools.)

Ramps are not just intended for persons in wheelchairs. They improve access for people with less serious mobility issues such as those with knee or hip problems or elderly people who simply lack the upper body strength to confidently support themselves using a handrail. Forcing such people into stair climbing chairs is absurd...and of cost far more costly than a few ramps or proper architectural design.

On modern buildings of course you want to build a ramp. But the cost of adding ramps to every already-built place accessible only by stairs is extremely high. At any rate, that isn't to say that it shouldn't be paid, in many cases, just that it's better (when possible and feasible) to develop technologies that let the disabled deal with it themselves. There are buildings with stairs and ramps or elevators. If you're disabled, it's good to be able to access these buildings when you come across them.

Along the same lines, the purpose of accessible digital text isn't only to help the blind, it's also to help the dyslexic and who knows who else, and generally facilitate content extraction software of all types. It's good when to do when it's feasible, but it's better to not have to rely on people doing it.

And they're a lifesaver when handling a couple of large suitcases! I can't believe how many cities and places neglect to soften the edges for bicycles, travelers, or people carrying stuff. The train stations that have plenty of stairs and no ramp to go around are especially annoying.

Up voted this because it is an interesting perspective. Eye glasses enable me to read the fine print in technical manuals, so point taken. I also like the point about independence, and access to archived/legacy content.

Perhaps in the future online information will be pushed in formats like rss and our client device will do far more rendering? We will all access content in a way that suits us?

FWIW, the two places I've inquired about accessibility (just because these things piss me off) have actually responded "we know it's a problem and we're working on a fix," and have since been fixed. These were the City of Worcester (Java menus) and my former employer, a public high school in Rhode Island (entire paragraphs as JPEGs).

I'm sorry, but "I was disappointed" and "I wish you would take steps" probably gets you grief. Asking usually doesn't. "Please" also helps (and its absence doesn't).

I mean, come on. I'm sorry company X site was all but useless to you. It would be nice if they made an extra effort to make it more accessible. But they don't have to. They spend their own money, time and effort to build the site, and they get to decide what their priorities are. Asking is okay, but so is refusal.

I agree. If I got an email with "lawyer pomposity" in it, I would likely pretend I never got it and deliberately push back any accessibility plans out of spite. You don't have to stick "please" in every sentence, but you have to phrase things correctly. If it's phrased as a request, I would see an opportunity to make people happy and gladly go along. If it's phrased as an order, I would probably perceive it as an affront to my individual sovereignty and would be motivated to fight back rather than capitulate.

Aside from the bigger companies, I can see why some of the smaller ones wouldn't want to do this, like the restaurants or his vet. Most of the time they just hired someone to create the website, and be done with it. They don't know how to implement the accessibility functionality themselves and hiring someone to do it may cost several hundred to thousands of dollars.

I was interning in a government related web development job, and it took several weeks to properly remake a site to conform to WCAG AA level standards. Unfortunately, that was just for the templates. The dynamic content generated by the CMS usually breaks the conformance. Making websites accessible is not an easy task, and could cost a heavy amount for small businesses.

"# Google (for the search engine) – Google Instant crashes Jaws, and the current “solution” is to have a link to turn Instant off. Except it only works for a single pageview at a time, ARRRRGH)."

How is this Google and not Jaws fault?

Most people would consider it Google's fault if their main page crashed Internet Explorer, even though it would technically be IE's fault. The internet is full of compromises.

Also in this case, even if Google Instant wasn't crashing Jaws, Google Instant plays havoc with screen readers (yes, I have experience of this), and as the article says, Google haven't provided a global off option, which would be really useful.

All most screen-readers want is a really basic HTML interface, preferably no AJAX at all. Even if it is slow and needs to re-load a lot, that is still preferable to no access.

> basic HTML interface, preferably no AJAX at all

This mode is step one, just basic competence in authoring. If your content isn't available in a self-describing form at a stable URL (regardless of any presentation you may layer on top of that later), you are building a lowly client/server app that leeches off the Web rather than contributing to it.

What's wrong with [gear icon] -> "Search settings", select "Do not use Google Instant"? I accidentally kept Google Instant off for months by selecting that option.

Try that one with VoiceOver and your eyes closed. Then, consider that you know it exists.

Most people would consider it Internet Explorer's fault if it crashed on the majority of webpages.

If people, and in particular libraries like jquery, didn't specialise for IE, many websites would be unreadable and leak so much memory they would rapidly crash IE.

We've been using NVDA (http://www.nvda-project.org/) for a while now and it works (for our screen reader needs) better than JAWS. Plus it's free and open source.

Interesting, I may begin contributing to that. I strongly believe this a problem to be solved by technology, not heavy-handed legislation that will add billions of dollars of costs to web development and innovation.

The same way that it's your fault if your new building doesn't provide adequate wheelchair access, not the wheelchair's fault for not being able to climb stairs.

> How is this Google and not Jaws fault?

Not making it easy to disable is definitely google's fault.

I find interesting the notion that web apps ought to be written to support screen readers instead of screen readers being written to work with extant web apps.

I also suspect any hostile response would be due in part to the concern that someone is going to swing the big bat of government at them.

If you are worried about the government getting involved, then for the love of whatever you hold holy, do not be hostile. That response will be shown in court to add damages and will be plastered on the news reports.

More people need to be like this guy and complain when sites are not accessible. It might make my bosses and clients actually care when I want to take time to make a site accessible. I can make noise about an issue, but nothing brings it to the forefront like an angry letter from a user.

Philosophical question - why do people with disabilities have the right to higher priority than everyone else? Let's say you've calculated that there are 4000 blind people who might be interested in your website, but 11000 Spanish speakers, 9000 Korean speakers and 7000 Portuguese speakers. If someone comes to complain about accessibility for the blind, won't it be perfectly reasonable to answer (in more polite terms) "no, we won't handle you, we're going to do a Spanish translation first, then implement UTF-8 so we can do a Korean translation, then do the Portuguese translation, and only then maybe get to you"?

The Spanish speakers might be only a niche in the case of this one website, but they don't face being a niche practically everywhere they turn. I'm not going to weigh in on how that difference should affect how you deal with accessibility, but it's a real one.

I learned one thing from this post - Wow, blind people are pissed off.

In the past I've made a few websites where the owner required images incorporated into the menu. I've spoken to owners about accessibility, countless times, but more often then not I end up having to do some retarded flash intro coupled with a graphic heavy menu. Owners don't care, they want it to match their vision, and of course they don't want to pay extra to have everything made accessible to the blind as they are probably some percentage of a point of their customer base.

Interesting. Is this a civil rights issue or a libertarian issue? The libertarian in me says, "let the restaurants that don't comply lose their business". But then I think, would I feel the same about businesses (and government agencies!) that disallowed blacks/jews/gays/etc? I lean to the latter, accepting that changing everyone will take time.

The problem with the libertarian view that businesses that purposefully exclude some customers will lose business, and so eventually disappear from the market, is that it only actually works that way if the businesses exclude a large customer base, and there aren't compensating factors to make up for the loss.

That's why economic forces didn't do much to open up things for blacks in the south between the Civil War and the era of Federal civil rights law. If you have a "No Coloreds" policy, and the store down the road does not then yes, they'll get the black business you are giving up--but they are giving up to you the business of people who do not want to shop around black people. The latter is worth more to the bottom line than the former, so you'll actually likely come out ahead economically with a "No Coloreds" sign hanging out in front of your shop.

Then that business down the road decides they'd rather have half of the whites-who-don't-want-to-shop-around-blacks business rather than all of the black business, and out comes the "Whites Only" sign on their store. Yes, they have less total customers after the change, but the white customers are wealthier than the black customers and that makes up for the difference in quantity.

Now it gets interesting. The mathematics of this kind of discrimination turn out to be the same as the mathematics of a boycott of a small country by the rest of the world. (I don't remember where I saw this--it might have been in Posner's "Economic Analysis of Law"). Unless the small country is completely self-sufficient, it loses badly. The net result is the discrimination keeps the blacks poor, and so they don't as a group rise to the point where the stores gain by integrating.

Humans in small groups of approximately equal status and means where everyone knows everyone else simply do not behave the same as humans in very large groups of widely varying status and means where people only know a small part of the group. Libertarianism probably works great in the former case, but not in the latter.

>That's why economic forces didn't do much to open up things for blacks in the south between the Civil War and the era of Federal civil rights law.

Perhaps, though the fact that states felt the need to enact Jim Crow laws lends some doubt to that claim.

I hear you and agree very much. Gladwell had an interesting article posted here recently about the racism of the Red Sox owner.

The challenge is what to do about it? It would be VERY hard to regulate since the internet is so dispersed.

Could a non-profit offer to help?

Do you think there is a similar explanation as to why Scotland's economic fortunes haven't actually improved over the last 304 years despite being in a union with England which promised and still promises that there is economic benefit for Scotland to be in a union with England. Is it possible that they are deliberately or through their own ignorance/incompetence be keeping Scotland poor.

Sorry, but that's simply not true. From http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/43481/print :

The Treasury data shows that public sector spending in England was 15% lower than that of Scotland last year.

England bends over backwards to do things for the Scots, but they still can't pull their weight.

Thats due to the barnett formula which was introduced in part to deal with poverty north of the border. It was meant as a temporary measure and was soooo effective that we still use it. Are you bending over backwards doing the wrong things? Its not a question of simply giving money to Scotland - that doesn't help Scotland. It keeps us poor just like keeping people on benefits isn't actually good for them but helping them get into work and to create their own money is good for them. Its the little and big decisions that may have nothing to do with what money is spent where that keep Scotland where it is. Is the barnett formula continuing so that unionists can say look we're trying to help but your still not pulling your weight, whilst making bad decisions that actually keep Scotland poor?

do you have a source or reference for this effect? I'd love to be able to reference it, but this HN post might be stretching the definition of a reference...

Thanks, great point! :)

Actually, the economics didn't work out to favor discrimination. The change was not as slow as many people liked, of course, but the change was there. Where discrimination was really entrenched and difficult to change was in government. It was racist government policies that really kept segments of the population down, and in fact, many of those racist policies still exist today. For instance, the primary motivators of the anti-drug and anti-gun laws were racist. "Saturday night specials" were regulated because they were popular among poor blacks for self defense. The sawed off shotgun, which is actually safer (because the shorter barrel means wider shot spread and makes the firearm less lethal) ware popular among italians who wanted protection from the mob, so the mob leaned on white politicians and got them banned, good for the mob, and served white political ambitions, etc.

Where there has been no supply (the small country example) blacks, for instance, often would band together and form businesses that served their community. This was inhibited by government regulations that would often deny them the "license" needed to operate that business... but it was not economics that kept those businesses from forming, it was regulation. (And where there wasn't regulation, the businesses would form.)

I'm handicapped (different issue). I spend a LOT of time online and do a lot via internet. For someone who has physical limitations, being able to do things online is a godsend. My life would basically not be manageable without it. So I think if you have a physical limitation of a sort where the web is basically saying "fuck you and the horse you road in on", I imagine that's a real serious problem. I imagine it's about like being invisibly restricted to the Dark Ages while everyone around you enjoys modern life. I would probably be postal rather quickly.

Having done A LOT of accessibility work I've come to the conclusion that it's extremely difficult to achieve universal accessibility. At first it seems like a it's all about alt tags, but those don't help users with poor reading comprehension, for example. (Dyslexics, some deaf.)

Lately I've been wondering if a better approach would be to provide an API to functionality, and let the disabled or their advocates build interfaces for themselves. That way they'd get exactly what they need. Mouse-free versions, high-contrast versions, simplified text versions... All could be built ane everyone would be happy. Companies could even support these efforts with open source or donations or training.

What do you think? Could this work in practice?

I have been thinking alot on this approach the last few months. I would like a "smartphone" that had a custom interface for my low vision problems. I think it would be very useful to have an iPhone sized device (all touch screen, no keyboard) with a custom UI for my needs. It doesn't need an app for everything. Just competing in the "feature phone" space would be very useful to me. Large fonts, high contrast, a dashboard that only shows info that has changed, not "a widget for everything all the time". This is on my short list of projects to investigate. Contact me if you have some input. thanks

I honestly am not technically skilled/knowledgeable enough to know how to answer that. I did homeschool my special needs sons and have concluded that supporting "diversity" in some manner tends to widen your audience without specifically bringing up the issue of whether or not someone is handicapped. Many people who would qualify for some label or other have never been formally diagnosed and in many cases they do not want a formal diagnosis (because it is stigmatizing, could hurt their career and so on). Allowing for and supporting a wide variety of personal preferences can make things more accessible and convenient for a great many people in a way which does not make handicapped people feel singled out. Blending is often very psychologically important for people with handicaps and has significant social/practical benefits.

What business is there to lose?

For example: No restaurant will go bankrupt or even perceptibly lose money because blind people can’t read the menu on their website. There are too few of them.

Also: Getting accessibility right would be costly and complicated for those restaurants. The vast majority of restaurant owners knows nothing about accessibility in the web, they would have to hire someone who does.

Creating a successful product means more often than not picking the commonly used stuff and leaving everything else out. The same dynamic is at play here, the only difference is that the affected people have no choice.

The incentives are set up in a way to favor inaccessible websites. I don’t see how the market can solve this problem.

For example: No restaurant will go bankrupt or even perceptibly lose money because blind people can’t read the menu on their website. There are too few of them.

Old people often have money. They also tend to have eyesight issues and other physical limitations. At the moment, old people are underrepresented online. Give it a few years and that won't likely remain true. At some point, making it easier for people with eyesight issues to access your site may become a much bigger issue. Some businesses may not realize it is impacting them, but I strongly suspect it will seriously begin to impact them in the not too distant future.

A website that is accessible for (most) old people is not automatically also accessible for, say, the blind. I fear, however, that you might be overlooking the point and get lost in small details: If something is a lot of work and only brings very few more customers, market mechanisms are no solution.

The stars may align every once in a while and circumstances may create a situation where the same improvement also benefits a different and much larger group of people but you can’t take that for granted.

No, I'm well aware of that point. I'm also aware that what is easily accessibly for people with limitations is frequently more easy to use for "normal" people. As someone with a real serious handicap who finally was able to get a normal job (after many years of basically being unemployable), I am keenly aware of a) the ways in which my differences set me apart from others and b) the ways in which so many "normal" people are also handicapped but don't frame it that way. I'm strongly convinced that "personal preferences" are typically rooted in ease of use in the face of some issue or other which may not be fully acknowledged as a handicap. But that's a rather complicated discussion that perhaps would not be appreciated here: People who view themselves as "not handicapped" tend to get rather defensive if someone suggests they really aren't that different from someone like me.


I think you didn't quite understand me or else you are bringing up a point that has nothing to do with the discussion. I was talking about the viability of market mechanisms, not the difference between being disabled and not being disabled. I didn't use the words disabled, handicapped or normal once in my comment. It was completely abstract.

No, I understood you perfectly. It's me that is very frequently not understood at all. I don't happen to see my points (about changing demographics, the mental models we use to frame such issues, and so on) as unrelated. It is often hopeless to try to get others to see why those things can matter a whole lot. It's perhaps best to end this exchange here, as neither side is likely to learn anything or be swayed.


I’m really not sure what point you are trying to make. What do you want to tell me? What do you want to convince me of? I don’t feel very strongly about the points I was making and I’m certainly willing to be convinced, I just don’t know of what.

Let me just recap the point I was trying to make: If there are situations where something is not accessible to a small group of people (for whatever reason) and making it accessible would be a lot of effort (for whatever reason) then market mechanisms alone are likely not sufficient to make that something accessible.

I was not advocating alternatives to market mechanisms (I was trying to not advocate anything), I was trying to make no value judgments about that situation.

I wasn't trying to convince you of anything. I was merely trying to communicate that I am, in fact, aware of the point you are making and it in no way changes the point I was making. Others in this discussion have made the same basic point I was making -- that this is more widespread and relevant than many people seem to think -- without getting downvoted or argued with. I have no idea why my remarks got such a reaction. I have no idea what the disconnect is in that regard.

I now have a full-time paid job for the first time in my life and I have found that when I talk to people long enough, everyone at work has some issue or other. I have had conversations with someone at work who a) had previously told me they have a medical condition (diabetes) which can be significantly impacted by diet and then b) later essentially expressed pity for me that I must limit my diet as it was something they could not relate to because they "could eat anything". Yeah, they could -- and take drugs to deal with the consequences. Or, with a different mental model, they could be pickier about their diet and take less medication. They aren't as different from me as they think they are, they simply frame their own issue differently from mine and deal with their problem differently from my approach -- and then they frame themselves in their own mind as "normal, healthy" and me as "handicapped" when in reality we are both dealing in part with the exact same issue as we both have blood sugar problems. I have also seen parents admit they have some of the same traits as their kids but they swear they don't have Asperger's while labeling their child as "having Asperger's". Why? Because it's stigmatizing and would hurt their career to self-identify as a "handicapped" person worthy of a label. Such parents are typically pretty hostile towards me and my attempts to say "so if you and your child are not so very different, why does the child deserve a stigmatizing label but you do not?" I have two kids who both fit the profile for ASD. I do not say they "have Asperger's". For one thing, that makes as much sense to me as saying "they have male" or "they have Caucasian". No, they are male and they are Caucasian and they fit the profile for certain traits that some people would give the label "Asperger's Syndrome". Not labeling them or stigmatizing them has been a significant part of how I have helped them learn to play to their strengths and accommodate their weaknesses without winding up mentally and logistically trapped into being "the pathetic handicapped person".

Personal limitations are very widespread. We all have them. As we grow older, we tend to acquire more of them. Making things more generally usable is not really about jumping through hoops to make big accommodations for a small number of people. And when people finally wrap their brain around that and do something about it, it begins bringing down barriers in a way which allows "handicapped" people to live more normally without anyone focusing on their handicap. Yes, some handicaps, like being blind, won't be as easily remedied or readily supported as others. But vision problems are more widespread than people seem to think. And making things visually accessible tends to also benefit "normal" people who don't particularly think of themselves as "handicapped".

Thanks for asking. I hope that is clearer to you but I really don't understand what the disconnect is so I am not confident it is.


"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

I'm curious why you seem to think this remark applies to me but not to ugh.

Because ugh isn't trying to convince you of anything, but you seem to be trying to convince him, over and over again, at increasing length, that people are different and that what some people call "handicaps" are really just part of a range of characteristics, and each of us as people are a large set of those which are often accommodated for.

He's just saying that there's no economic incentive to accommodate for variations in people that there's no market incentive to accommodate for, and that may or may not be a problem. He seems honestly confused at why that's setting you off.

No, that's not it at all. Nothing has "set me off". I know that the cost may be too high to make everything work perfectly for people who are (for example) blind. However, eyesight issues are not just limited to people who are blind. So I don't see any reason to say "it's just a handful of blind people" because it's really not. Perfect vision is the exception, not the norm.

I've done my best to back out of the conversation as gracefully as possible without saying "yes, you're right, it's just a handful of blind people" because I don't think that is true. Give me a way to disengage that doesn't involve saying "yes, you're right, I'm just some twit who didn't know that and I'm simply overreacting" and I will happily take it. I am both baffled and, at this point, highly frustrated at how this whole thing has gone. The increasing attempts to characterize me negatively aren't making me feel any better about it. That's never a good thing.


I just happened to be passing by, and have no dog in this fight. I just don't think ugh has one either. He isn't saying what you think he's saying. I've spent weeks of my life fixing accessibility on government websites (which are the worst) and fighting for strict compliance that others thought wasn't worth it.

My opinion is that it's always worth it to be inclusive when it comes to coding. ugh seems to be implying that extramarket forces should be brought to bear to encourage(or force) accessibility if that is a goal that we want to achieve. If you're fighting with us, what are we fighting about?

If you're fighting with us, what are we fighting about?

See, this is where I feel I am being negatively characterized: I don't think I'm fighting with anyone. Again, if there is a fight, why is it people seem to think I am the only one fighting? It takes two to fight. At this point, I strongly suspect the issue is that I publicly admitted I have a serious handicap and people are basically dismissing me as someone being emotional and irrational, which is one of the reasons people often try to hide their handicaps: It's socially stigmatizing and gets them taken less seriously.

I will try to say this one last time and then attempt to shut up (assuming no one jumps up with any new negative characterizations of me as an individual): I believe that in the future, as the current generation of web-savvy folks age, there will be more incentive to work on this issue and be more accommodating of the typically poor eyesight of older people. Right now, there may be seemingly little incentive to do so. No, that doesn't mean it will be perfect. But we aren't talking about "a handful of blind people".

Peace and have a good evening.

I don't mean to negatively characterize you as an individual due to your public admission of a serious handicap. I mean to positively characterize ughs comment as adding to the conversation and not being 'who cares about a handful of blind people.' Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Well, I don't have some personal issue with ugh and in my exchanges with him (or her, as the case may be) I basically felt it was a failure to communicate/misunderstanding. I think I said that repeatedly. So I remain baffled as to why two different total strangers felt the need to intercede in this exchange and in both cases they sided with ugh rather than taking a more neutral position. (In case that remark is too subtle, that amounts to casting blame on me whether you intended it or not.) It is possible to jump in where you see trouble and be even handed and not blame either side. I have done it many times.

Thank you for your concern about the welfare of the forum but blaming one side in a misunderstanding is usually not the way to build a more civilized atmosphere. It usually just perpetuates the problem.


I'm not siding with ugh. I don't think he was arguing with you. I find your argument an excellent way to reframe an argument about accessibility into an argument to build a more complete and functional media/communication product. I'll leave it there.

Well, if they get a hundred complaints from potential or former customers saying they won't eat there until it's fixed, something may happen. Some of these problems are only soluble by mass, organized action. Suppose there were a blind guy standing outside your restaurant, handing patrons informative pamphlets? How long would it take for a few infuriated regulars telling him they wouldn't be back till the problem was fixed to get the owner's attention to the problem? Just sayin': squeaky wheels get greased.

Sure. PR fallout or DDoSing support offers additional leverage to mere and minimal lost business.

Especially really large companies don’t want to have an attack surface called “They don’t care about disabled people!” (There are also other reasons why larger companies have more incentives to be accessible.)

Evidently, however, that’s not enough. It’s hard to create public outrage. It’s hard to organize. Hard enough that being hit by outrage or being swamped by phone calls is quite unlikely. It’s a simple numbers game.

People don’t want to organize shitstorms all the time. They have better things to do.

" Getting accessibility right would be costly and complicated" What's costly and complicated about plain old HTML?

What's costly and complicated about plain old HTML?

Customer: We want a menu on our website.

Developer: We can do that. The meter is running.

Customer: Crikey that meter goes up quickly. Just OCR it! That should be almost free!

Developer: We can do that. The meter is running.

Customer: There are all sorts of speling mistkes! Fix them!

Developer: We can do that. The meter is running.

Customer: Now all the text is right but it looks nothing like the menu! We're a freaking restaurant. We spent thousands of dollars to make the menu look good because it is the freaking menu. Make with that HTML and CSS... stuff!

Developer: We can do that. The meter is running.

Customer: Finally, we're getting somewhere! But the description of Chicken Genovese overlaps with the wine list when viewed on an obsolete browser or a Kindle! Make with the fixings!

Developer: We can do that. The meter is running.

The restaurant owners of my example usually don’t even know what HTML is. They have to hire someone to do it for them (that’s the costly part) and they also have to find out who to hire (that’s the complicated part, given that they have no idea about HTML, CSS, Javascript, Flash and accessibility).

Therefore, it would be a good thing to educate more web developers and the public in general about what it takes to make sites more accessible.

This is a civil rights issue, as evidenced by existing case law in Australia: in 2000, the Sydney Olympics organisers were fined $20,000 for discrimination on the basis that their website was not accessible to the visually impaired.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maguire_v_SOCOG_2000 http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HREOCA/2000/31.html http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HREOCA/2000/49.html

blacks/jews/gays/etc is a different issue entirely. You don't need to do anything special to make your service accessible to them, except perhaps in the case of gay people trying to use your dating site with a 100% straight userbase.

That's not actually completely true. Hotels with electronic locks are a major problem for Jews on the Sabbath.

Luckily most can also be used with a mechanical key.

Electric automatic doors are also a problem for hotels and hospitals (most other places would not be visited on the Sabbath anyway).

That sort of thing should specifically not be required to cater to. It's an absolutely voluntary set of restrictions. Jews can just go elsewhere.

Just like, as a vegetarian, I can't get much to eat at Ruth's Chris or The Outback or whatever. I just take my business elsewhere — it's a voluntary restriction on my diet. I should live with the consequences.

Has anyone required anything? The OP said there were no additional things necessary to cater to some groups, and I said there were.

Can you explain a little more about this

What do you want to know?

The relation of electric locks / doors and the Sabbath

Jewish law does not allow the manipulation of electricity on the Sabbath, so a Jew would not be allowed to operate an electric lock, or make an electric door open (on purpose).

A Jew can leave lights on, or set things on timers before the Sabbath, but can not do anything with electricity on the Sabbath.

Interesting, thanks, never heard that one before. I wonder what part of the religious texts lead to that one.

The main one is the prohibition of lighting or extinguishing fire. The vast majority of electricity is generated by burning fuel and using electricity (or turning it off) changes the amount of fuel used.

There are other considerations as well that apply to battery devices, but the main thing is fire.

I think you have that exactly backwards. One of the reason electronic locks have been popular with some Hasidic Jews is because they don't require carrying a key on Sabbath. The locks would be unusable if electricity were a no-no.

You are thinking of mechanical combination locks, not electronic locks (keycard locks).

The difference in your example is effort - it costs to increase accessibility for people with disabilities, whether it's spending more time on web development or installing a ramp at a building. It's less cost not to do that.

Not allowing blacks/jews/gays is about admittance policies that don't cost, unless they require some sort of infrastructure to be created for them.

It would be good to hear from a UK web designer as to opportunity cost, as accessibility is a legal requirement for .uk sites, if I recall correctly. I imagine if everyone's doing it, it's cheaper from the outset as the pool of web talent is trained in the issue.

I strongly doubt that the handicapped are a large enough group for most businesses to notice the loss of their custom from not being accessible, or the gain from embracing accessibility. If that's true, then the question is whether one wants the handicapped to have access to these places, and what measures are worth doing.

The software engineer in me says this can be solved by more intelligent screen-reading technology.

I thought this was a really interesting article and I've been interested in addressing the accessibility of startup sites recently. It's true that certain accessibility modifications can be difficult/costly but the majority of them are very easy to make. There are many "low hanging fruit" fixes that any site should make. The improvements will assist with accessibility, usability, and SEO. If anyone would like a quick review contact me on G+ https://plus.google.com/111107665026656718495/posts

I've asked for similar help in the past here: http://ilnodisaarcodu.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/95/

I find it antagonistic on the OP's part to call this response "hostile": “we know it’s inaccessible, but we are not fixing it”. That's not hostile, it's honest. What more could you ask for than honesty?

If they had responded “we know it’s inaccessible, but we are not fixing it, because people with disabilities are a drain on society and should be put down”, that would be hostile.

Also: “it would be too hard,” (universally incorrect) is just not true. Unless his standard is "nothing is too hard for this noble cause."

To be fair, a significant number of his complaints could have been solved by turning JPEGs into text or adding labels to a few buttons. In several cases, he gave them the exact fix required and they still refused or ignored him.

> What more could you ask for than honesty?

An attempt to fix the problem or raise the issue with someone that can.

Why should they change their design for one person ? Maybe websites should start having one version for people with sight and one all text version for the blind. I think it's kind of dumb to make it so people can't use images embedded with text. What about art or multimedia sites ?

There's a lot more than one blind person out there, most of whom would simply never do business with them without letting them know.

And it's not all images that are a problem, just those that are images of large blocks of text, like the restaurant menu that was given as an example. If it's a short bit of text like a logo, that's what ALT tags are for.

When there's the entire menu full of text as an image, that's just plain bad design. It's worse for everyone and it won't even get indexed by search engines. Text should be text. It's just easier that way.

I read this article with a concern about an app I've worked on, where we intended to go thru an add accessibility support in after the first release, but it (and a bunch of other improvements) got dropped when priorities changed. I was reading to see if I could judge how our app (which should be mostly accessible) might have worked for this person... but they never mentioned what their disability was in their sample letter, and so I had no clue, and couldn't hazard a guess. (Except maybe that they are blind? Though I don't have enough clues to be at all confident in that guess.)

I wonder if part of the non-response they got was because they never explained what their disability was in their letters. I understand it really isn't some pizza restaurant's business to need to know it, but if they left that off, then it is hard for someone to understand their dificulty-- they might even read the email too fast and not even realize there is a disability at all. Thus it just sounds like someone who can't describe why the real problem is, and is instead giving web development advice to a customer service rep who, more likely than not, has no ability to even parse the email into actionable or useful information for the developers simply because the context is dropped by missing this key bit of information. (Even though the advice is useful to someone who is a web developer, even without knowing the disability, the CSR may not realize that.)

That said, I have gone thru a recent terrible experience attempting to deal with a company who is bringing in $150million a month in revenue, and can't be bothered to have CSRs actually read letters. Over the course of a dozen back and for the responses, each form letter I got from them, was written by a different person, and seemingly responded to a random word or two from my previous message, where they clearly didn't' read the whole ticket or even take a few minutes to actually comprehend what I was saying.

There's some really bad customer service out there, even from companies that at least don't have lack of budget as an excuse.

but they never mentioned what their disability was

From the article: ...making it inaccessible to blind and low vision users.

> but it (and a bunch of other improvements) got dropped when priorities changed

More CTO's with disabilities need to be hired.

Or go ask the CTO to talk to the lawyers about what happened to Target. That talk will help avoid a very uncomfortable talk later on with the CEO and HR.

From my experience working in technology startups, I can say without a doubt that the CEO is focused on getting a product, any product in any state of progress, out the door and that HR thing you speak of is an office held by the beneficiary of nepotism and maintained with loyalty who's sole job is to complete the tasks assigned to them by the CEO, usually in a haphazardly incompetent manner.

For example, I once worked at a firm where the HR person was my direct boss' sister-in-law and was living with one of the [shithead] project managers I had to deal with, who's sister-in-law was the receptionist/marketing genius. Do you think any of those four people had any grease to make demands on whether or not a product should include, or even be based upon conventions that would assist those with disabilities if said inclusion were to set back the shipping timetable? I think not.

tl;dr: CEO's focus on sales and revenue, HR is a rubber stamp/sick day tracker, which can be outsourced.

I guess my point was the CEO will be concerned by the multi-million $ lawsuit and HR will be going over the CTO's severance package.

I know what you point was, and it's clear to many that in a common sense society that would be the case as you've correctly described it, however, my experience has always been one of sales first, people last. Regardless of the company's maturity.

HN could use some attention to accessibility. In Chrome, I have to press CTRL+ four times to make the text easy to read, but then I get the horizontal scroll bar, which makes reading tedious, especially on articles with many comments, such as this one. I have the Readability plugin, but it doesn't work on HN.

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