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Re: Two web sites

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2011 12:39:44 +0000
Message-ID: <CAEhSh3en=e2bU7+35=hdrox0fQBKXD97ocacg_3f7nw8o27-Jg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Meliha Yenilmez <melihayenilmez@yahoo.com>
Cc: WAI Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 11:39 AM, Meliha Yenilmez
<melihayenilmez@yahoo.com> wrote:
> I work in a “Ministry of Family and Social Policies” in Turkey . My head
> office does legislations for disability and old people. They often look our
> web site therefore we want to make our website more accessibile. However,
> there is a little problem. Accessibility is new concept in Turkey . When
> someone look at the web site, maybe they don’t like it because they are used
> to flash version web sites.
>
> Any way,
>
>
> Our web site is www.aile.gov.tr . We've used Flash for our ministry's news
> on the middle of the page. She wants to see that flash news on the web site
> but we don't convert that flash for accessibile.Therefore, we decide making
> 2 web sites.
>
> When someone click www.aile.gov.tr , he'll see accessible website which has
> not designed yet. If he doesn't want to surf with inaccessible web site,
> he click the button [Button’s name is” Click here for non-accessible web
> site”] and then, he surfs with flash version of website. (I drew in
> attachment)
>
> When we do like that, is it accessible or not? And my other question is "
> When we do like that, is it disability discrimination or not?"
>
> If that is not accessible or include discrimination, why? Because I present
> her excuses why we don’t use both website.

To conform to the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a
"web page" must either meet WCAG's requirements itself or offer a
"conforming alternate version":

http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/#conformance-reqs

Please note the formal definitions of a "web page" and "conforming
alternate version":

http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/#webpagedef

http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/#conforming-alternate-versiondef

Simple HTML links with descriptive link text constitute "an
accessibility-supported mechanism" for switching between the two
versions.

See also further discussion in the non-normative "Understanding WCAG"
documentation about why conforming alternate versions are permitted:

http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/conformance.html#uc-conforming-alt-versions-head

As that document says, "providing an alternate version is a fallback
option for conformance to WCAG and the preferred method of conformance
is to make all content directly accessible."

There are good reasons to discourage resort to conforming alternate versions:

1. Alternate versions impose significant maintenance costs to keep
content in sync and keep both versions in working order. Often
organisations avoid these costs by failing to do these things.

2. Users often find it too hard to sort through the mess of the
primary version to locate the mechanism to switch to the alternate
version.

3. Often changes to the primary version break the mechanism to switch
to the alternate version.

4. Organisations resorting to alternate versions tend not to have the
mind or skillset required to build an accessible version in the first
place. For example, often they produce "text-only" webpages under the
incorrect assumptions that only completely blind people might have
trouble with their primary version and that completely blind people
have no interest in images.

With respect to your particular situation I'd want to make some
additional points.

1. Just because you are using Flash as a technology, and Flash content
has accessibility problems in practice, does not exempt you from
making your Flash content as accessible as possible using the Flash
accessibility techniques:

http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/flash.html

http://webaim.org/techniques/flash/

http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/

2. Flash has various drawbacks beyond accessibility problems faced by
people with disabilities. For example, it is harder for search engines
to index Flash content successfully (which makes it hard to find). It
requires people to have a Flash plugin, but lots of people either
selectively block Flash content (e.g. http://clicktoflash.com/) or use
a platform like iPhone that does not support Flash content at all.
Adobe has recently shifted its efforts away from making Flash work on
websites on mobile:

http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2011/11/flash-focus.html

3. Product people should not be dictating what technology you use.
Instead, you should be trying to work out what user experiences you
are trying to provide, then tailoring the technology to match. You may
well find you can achieve a similar look and feel to the "Flash"
experience using HTML, JS, and CSS, thus avoiding this whole problem.
I would be quite surprised if that is not the case for "Flash news".

Hope that helps.

--
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Monday, 26 December 2011 12:40:21 GMT

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