Hi Jacob.

While it is true that you can’t make a site accessible for everyone, this fact is no excuse for ignoring accessibility altogether as Target did. As you so rightly pointed out, there are big differences between blind folks, just as there are big differences between sighted folks. However, just because these differences exist, it doesn’t mean that we can’t design a site that works for nearly everyone. Doing so is what I believe good web design is all about.

In addition, I think your over-estimating the differences in the web experience among blind users from different backgrounds. While it is true that not all users appreciate detailed descriptions of images (myself being one of them), those extra descriptions aren’t hurting anyone (though they can be annoying). When I find one, I just skip it, and move on.

However, going back to your example, most alt attributes are used to provide descriptions of what images do rather than what they look like—or at least, that’s what’s supposed to be done. So, if a person doesn’t have enough English to understand an alt atribute like alt=”check out” or alt=”view shopping cart”, then that would seem to me to be a language issue, rather than a traditional accessibility issue.


posted by Aaron Cannon on Thursday, Oct 16, 2008