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    Javascript & Accessibility


    Does anyone know of any official ruling regarding Javascript and accessibility? I'm looking at adding a stat counter script to my site but I don't know if I should.

    I wouldn't normally use Javascript for this but the hosting package we have doesn't have PHP or ASP enabled.

    Cheers


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    I don't think that there is an official rule in Europe, at least not at this moment regarding this. But as a common sense rule, if the navigational and the main information are to be accesed even without javascript enabled, the site is to be OK.
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    The site doesn't rely on Javascript for anything other than site stats. If anyone has Javascript disabled then it wont affect the site's functionality.


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    In this case go for it. I see no obstacle in doing it.

    Comments on this post

    • trumley agrees : The rules in the US say that if you are presenting content or navigation through a script an alternate method to accomplish the goal must be present. So JS for navigation would need an alternate method if a blind individual could not easily use it.
    • bainser agrees : thanks
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    Originally Posted by trumley
    The rules in the US say that if you are presenting content or navigation through a script an alternate method to accomplish the goal must be present. So JS for navigation would need an alternate method if a blind individual could not easily use it. (emphasis mine)
    I just ran across this and was wondering which rules are being talked about? Are these US Federal laws? What are the penalties? Are there fines or will your website be taken down? Just curious....
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    Originally Posted by Conundrum
    I just ran across this and was wondering which rules are being talked about? Are these US Federal laws? What are the penalties? Are there fines or will your website be taken down? Just curious....
    In the UK, it's the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
    In the US, it appears to be the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT of 1990
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    Thanks for the links Chief. It's interesting that the UK's DDA specifically mentions websites and organizations have threatened legal action. In a US lawsuit against Southwest Airlines, the courts have ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't cover the Internet:
    Originally Posted by U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz
    To expand the ADA to cover 'virtual' spaces would be to create new rights without well-defined standards [....] The plain and unambiguous language of the statute and relevant regulations does not include Internet Web sites.
    Of course one can still appeal and Bruce Sexton is filing a class action lawsuit with the National Federation of the Blind against Target under California law, claiming that among other things Target.com doesn't use alt-tags and image maps (I'm assuming by "image map" they mean something like a HTML site map page and not an actual "image map"). Could this be the reason why Gmail has an HTML-only view?

    Just thinking about the legal issues only. I wonder if you can make a case that web browsers that don't interpret JavaScript for the disabled are participating in illegal discrimination. Where does the responsibility fall, the website or the browser? Obviously one should design for the disabled (even those massive numbers of people still using Win98) but I'm curious what's legal and what's not.
    Last edited by Conundrum; February 12th, 2006 at 11:00 AM.
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    I don't live in US, nor in UK, but we try to follow the general EU rules here. If someone would have asked me...

    I guess that the law acts (and the law precedents) should be based on two facts: the possibilities of the web pages developers (along with the web browsers builders -- all these means the scientific possibilities) and the willness of the disabled user.

    1. If the developer could have find a reasonable way to make a page accessible, so he should have done it. If not he/they might be sued.

    2. If the user could have had installed a better (new) browser or he could have had use a special feature (javascript, Flash, Java) which could have improved his accessibility, then he should have done it. If not, he has no right to sue.

    Outside those, there must not have any legal summon possibilities.
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    What are the EU rules? This page mentions the EU might investigate the possibility of regulations in the eAccessibility area in 2005. Was anything passed?

    So far the only law I've seen is the UK one but it's very ambiguous. I've heard that the UK law requires W3C WCAG 1.0 but haven't seen this is writing yet. Is this true, can WCAG 1.0 be found in UK law somewhere? I took a look at WCAG 1.0 which is decent but somewhat ambiguous. The WCAG 1.0 Full Checklist is much more specific but still leaves some ambiguity. Does following the checklist make a site legal?

    I guess I'm wondering how do you know if you're legally compliant or not. There doesn't seem to be an Accessibility validator like the W3C Markup Validator. As the US district court judge says, there should be well-defined standards. The only one I've found so far is the WCAG 1.0 Full Checklist. Are there others?
    Last edited by Conundrum; February 12th, 2006 at 03:01 PM.
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    I guess I'm wondering how do you know if you're legally compliant or not.
    You will be never legally compliant, no matter how your site will look like (except maybe if an empty page, but even so I would not guarantee that ) at least not according with the USA laws. If strictly applied, those lows will close more than 90% of the sites... All these are still at the begining in EU... I guess that EU tries to find the best middle between tendecies: "lassez faire" and "american ultra political correctness". We just sit and wait. And, of course, try to lobby the new rules, whichever might be. On this stage, you are the audience and an actor as well. You might not only follow the rules but try to make the rules...
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    Originally Posted by KorRedDevil
    You will be never legally compliant, no matter how your site will look like [...] at least not according with the USA laws. [...] If strictly applied, those lows will close more than 90% of the sites...
    What USA laws are you thinking of? I don't think there are any USA Federal laws that cover accessibility for websites.

    Accessibility is important but please don't mention USA laws or EU rules without some references.
    Last edited by Conundrum; February 12th, 2006 at 04:39 PM.
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    Kor is probably thinking of Section 508, which mostly applies to web sites for governmental organizations.
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    Thanks Kravvitz. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act does have an area on Federal intranet and internet sites (1194.22) with criteria based on W3C WAI guidelines. WCAG 1.0 is the latest released version. 2.0 is still in development. I don't think there are any Federal laws that cover private sector websites. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Target case under California law.

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