At the very beginning of my career, heck as I was studying to start it, in web design and development I took a course on the laws surrounding web design. It was a short course and really only covered how Section 508 applies to building software for the government and their contractors. But during that course something happened. I took what it had to say to heart and tried to incorporate it in all my work as best as possible.
Websites that have lots of movement have always bugged me a bit, but lately they are bugging me a lot more. I don’t know if this is because something in me is different or because or because I have become sympathetic to those that have disorders where motion affects them (Like Marissa).
5by5.tv hosts Jeffrey Zeldman’s “The Big Web Show”. Episode #55 from September 1st had on budding web designer Marissa Christina of abledis.com to talk about living with and trying to become a web designer with a vestibular disorder. The program went back on forth on what it is like, becoming a designer and what we as a community can do to make this hidden disability easier to live with while on the internet. I have extracted a few of the important things on building a better web for this group.
I needed new tires on my car. Instead of waiting inside the stale waiting room of the auto repair shop with the greasy chairs and burnt coffee, I decided to head across the lot to the mall for some food, tea, and free wifi to get some work done. While eating my lunch, I noticed a gentleman with severe motor control issues using an eReader to enjoy a book. Being a developer focused on user experience and accessibility, I thought this was a prime opportunity to conduct a short user interview. Looking back, this was pretty selfish of me. The next 10 minutes were an awakening for me.
While at this time the federal government has not made it mandatory or criminal if you do not, the larger your company is the more likely it could face a civil trial. Target Corporation has been through a suit filed by the American Council of the Blind in which the ACB won $6 million dollars and forced Target to accommodate the blind and visually impaired on their website. The ACB isn’t suing everyone, but they are pushing to make Section 508 a civil rights law rather than a government regulation.