352 Inc. / Digital Marketing / July 30th, 2007

Cognitive Disabilities

I’m currently writing a proposal, however upon reading the clients requirements brief, one section jumped out at me, not many … actually none of all the briefs I have read in my time with 352 Media Group had this info ….

“The site must provide the same level of service to individuals with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive disability as to the general public, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. All proposals must be Sec 508 ADA compliant and include the utilization of W3C Content Accessibility Guidelines with the website development. Respondents are requested to offer suggestions regarding accessibility. “

This site has some good info on Cognitive Disabilities . To my knowledge for a site to be 508 compliant with a CMS is difficult, mainly when you build a site it can be fully 508 compliant but when you start entering new content if not done correctly e.g. leaving out alt tags etc. It will make all the hard work you just did making the site compliant null and void and your users with certain disabilities are back to square one.

These folks XStandard reckon they have a tool for the job “The editor generates clean XHTML Strict or 1.1, and uses CSS for formatting, to ensure the clean separation of content from presentation. The editor is keyboard accessible, and markup generated by XStandard meets the most demanding accessibility requirements.”

Is this the direction that companies should be taking not just catering to the alleged “normal’s” they’re lots of sites out there that are just not accessible or friendly for one reason or another. Small or hard to read text is a pet hate of mine. Im personally a webpage scanner if I can’t see the info I need. Pretty much immediately I click back and go to your competitors website.

If you think your company should take this direction and Develop a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization , so that your not turning people away from your site. Most brick and mortar businesses have wheel chair accessibility. Check out the figures Americans with Disabilities Act: July 26 , they’re staggering and some these people may not be able physically make it to your place of business, so they need to use your website. Think of the spending power of these people, think of the word of mouth advertising your website could get from particular groups because they had a pleasant experience on your site.