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Does CSUN Care About Web Accessibility: http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf2000/proceedings.html

From: Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 04:56:31 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: kford@teleport.com
Hi All,

Many in the disability know the name CSUN as a leader in promoting 
disability accessibility.  Their conference held each March is a leading 
gathering place to share information on the latest developments with access 
technology.  That's why I find it disheartening to say the least to see one 
of the latest offerings from the staff at CSUN, namely the web site where 
one can browse the proceedings of this year's conference well in advance 
having a large problem with web accessibility. This resource can be found at:


The problem is that this web site violates a critical priority 1 guideline 
in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and as a result locks out 
people who use certain web browsing combinations.  All of the conference 
papers found on the proceedings page are linked with Javascript commands 
meaning that certain people who use the Lynx web browser can't access this 
resource.  I also believe that users of Webspeak and Home Page Reader will 
have difficulty on this page but would appreciate confirmation or 
correction of this point.  I believe I have the latest version of both 
browsers and could not access the papers on the page with either of these 

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines clearly state:

  6.3 Ensure that pages are usable when scripts, applets, or other 
programmatic objects are turned off or not supported. If this is not 
possible, provide equivalent information on an
alternative accessible page. [Priority 1]

For example, ensure that links that trigger scripts work when scripts are 
turned off or not supported (e.g., do not use "javascript:" as the link 
target). If it is not possible to
           make the page usable without scripts, provide a text equivalent

This is just another example of the supposed leaders in the disability 
community not practicing what they preach when it comes to 
accessibility.  Not only does CSUN bill itself as a leader on 
accessibility, it runs multiple training programs and has recently started 
certification programs for others on access technology.  In some instances 
I've seen employers start to require this certification for consideration 
of employment.  Such an organization should be a leader in all it does, 
including accessible or universal web design.  They should not force people 
to have the latest and greatest in technology and one would expect them to 
follow common accessible web design practices.  Not to mention the fact 
that they are part of a university which has obligations under multiple 
laws to be accessible.

Many won't have trouble accessing the links on this page.  But enough 
people will that this issue was considered a priority 1 issue by the W3C 
when creating guidelines on accessible web design.  So folks should ask the 
folks from CSUN why they ignored this issue and why they think it is 
acceptable to block access to their resources for some.

Perhaps CSUN will correct this problem down the road.  But the question of 
why this situation exists today demands to be answered.  It is all well and 
good to talk about access but the proof comes in what you do.

I will point out that much of the CSUN web site uses good accessible web 
design practice.  My comments are not meant to take away from 
that.  However, experience has shown me that starting to design without 
full accessibility in mind is a slippery slope and it is disappointing to 
see CSUN starting down that path.

The CSUN web site lists a contact email of ltm@csun.edu which folks may 
want to contact regarding this issue.  I'm sure some here know Dr. Harry 
Murphy personally and hopefully they can bring this issue to his attention 
so CSUN can correct this situation and let us know why it happened in the 
first place.

Received on Saturday, 15 January 2000 07:54:29 UTC

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