Just a ‘micro-posting’ from me on the topic of Ajax and Accessibility. With the recent research presented by fully-sighted gurus James Edwards and Joe Clark, many of us have been enlightened once more to the need for creating accessible web applications in the face of new techniques that update page content without a page refresh. This quote, from an article in Computerworld, really brought home the impact of not paying heed to to this and just how confusing some of the new web applications can be for blind users. Note that the person quoted is blind and emphasis added is mine:
“It’s very, very, very scary,” said Jeff Bishop, an application systems analyst at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Before, so what? You had a missing [alternative-text] tag, but at least you knew there was an image. You could click on it, and maybe you could figure out what it was. Now, you don’t even know where to click. You don’t know how to interact.”
That’s a pretty strong statement, but you cannot argue with it really - this is a blind user saying what he thnks of the whole web 2.0/ajax implication for him as a user. A strong case, surely, for the assistive technology vendors to start seriously addressing this issue, no?