Why you want a blind friendly site

The Dayton Daily News has a front page story about the benefits of having a site that is accessible to the blind. While they mention Google- and their new push in favor of accessibility standards- the real reason is that the Google bot that indexs your site works just like a blind person- and can only navigate where it can follow the meta data and navigation.

The good news for Websitetology graduates- everything we teach you to do- builds accessible sites- that are optimized for the blind- and for Google.

Here is a link to the story- it’s so short- I’ve quoted the whole thing.
Blind users getting help to get on Internet

By Jim DeBrosse
Staff Writer

DAYTON | For most Web users, pop-up ads and layered graphics can be annoying. But for blind users, they are major roadblocks on the Internet highway.
But pressure from lawsuits and advocates for the visually impaired has resulted in Web pages that are easier for the blind to navigate using screen-reading equipment.Last month Google introduced a special search engine that ranks sites according to how accessible they are to the blind (labs.google.com/accessible/). Yahoo! also redid its home page within the past month with larger, simpler display options, and AOL will soon follow suit.

“More and more companies are going to have to address these issues, not only for the disabled population, but for the aging (baby boomers) who are going to be exerting pressure of their own to access all these technologies,” said Jesse Walker, a human factors research psychologist at the University of Dayton Research Institute.

Walker has been working with several corporations on building more accessible Web pages.

That’s something Nate Fernandes, 21, a senior at the University of Dayton, can appreciate. He uses a popular software program for the blind called JAWS (Java Access With Speech) that enables his computer to read the content on computer screens out loud.

But some items, like PDF files, are often difficult for his equipment to read.

If you want to read more about why and how the Google accessible search works- here is their FAQ:http://labs.google.com/accessible/faq.html

I tried to find information on Jesse Walker, and UDRI in general, but, unfortunately, their site isn’t updated with his info.

If you want a site that works for the blind and for you- come to a Websitetology seminar.


Commenting area

  1. the more common reason to be blind-friendly is that Google (and all search engine bots) is blind itself. It just sees the text. No popups, not much other than just plain text. If you want Google to index your site properly, and rank your site highly, build it for blind users.

  2. I feel like I have arrived- when D’Arcy Norman comments on my site…
    I find his site to be one of my favorite places to learn about “web 2.0”

    However- I thought I did say: “the real reason is that the Google bot that indexs your site works just like a blind person- and can only navigate where it can follow the meta data and navigation.” which is what D’Arcy said…

    He’s probably just trying to build some links in- which is fine with me…
    if you don’t know why that’s important- you should take the seminar.

  3. Heya, David. Sorry… I skimmed over that one sentence. Went right to the quote. Oops! You are of course completely correct about Google being blind. Wasn’t trying to build links – I just assume everyone has rel=”nofollow” on comments anyway, so that’s pointless.

    the point about blind search engines was driven home (for me) by Macromedia (now Adobe)’s accessibility guru. He was saying how people don’t really _care_ about accessibility because it generally doesn’t affect them. But, it does, if Google can’t read your site effectively. Strange, how that motivates people more than picturing the poorly sighted person struggling to read their site…

    anyway, sorry for the comment noise. I should have been more coherent in the first place…

  4. Hi D’Arcy-
    Of course Macromedia people don’t care about accessibility- ’cause Flash is the leading contender for no accessibility-
    You can add a comment to my site anytime-
    I’ve added enough to yours…
    As far as I know- Google uses links as part of pagerank- and comment links can count-

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