Archive for Web Accessibility

WebCapTel for the Hearing Impaired

Sprint is offering a great new service called WebCapTel for the hearing impaired and it is completely free.  The hearing impaired person would initiate a call via Sprint’s Web interface by entering the telephone number of the person they would like to call.  The Sprint operator would call the number entered by the hearing impaired person to initiate the call with the other person.  The Sprint operator would provide captions on the Web interface of everyone the other person says so the hearing impaired person can have a telephone conversation.

We have found this especially useful with our virtual classroom that we use for our courses.  The operator can call-in to the class (with the optional dial-in telephone number) and caption everything that is being said within the classroom.  This has helped us move forward with our accessibility improvements.  Due to the fact that it would cost several hundred dollars an hour for a company to provide live captioning for our online live sessions, this has provided a great alternative.

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Web site accessibility lawsuit against Target

I recently read about the outcome of the Web site accessibility lawsuit from the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) against TargetTarget settled with the NFB to pay a settlement fee to the complainants that the NFB sued on behalf of and to pay for NFB accessibility certification costs for their Web site.  Cases like these are usually taken to court on a case-by-case basis due to the fact that there are no hard-written laws about Web site accessibility of commercial organizations.  There are a lot of gray areas.  Most corporations end up settling anyway because they figure it will cost them less than going to court due to the bad publicity it will get them.  What I don’t understand is, why don’t these corporations invest the time and money to make sure their Web sites are accessible to begin with?  We live in a technological world.  The same way that you have handicap parking spaces and wheel-chair accessible entrances, you should be making accommodations to your online users as well.  For one thing it is the right thing to do regardless of what the law says, but for the ones that are only looking at the bottom line, it makes good business sense  as well.

Details about the lawsuit are available at and

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Web Accessibility is so important. I have a friend who is visually-impaired and of course, since he has never seen what a Web page looks like, it is so hard to explain to him what is on a Web page, the layout, navigation, etc. It really opens up my eyes to the barriers on the Web for the disabled after sitting with him for an afternoon trying to help him get around on the Web.

There aren’t many free tools out there to help with checking for Web site accessibility. Bobby used to be free, but was taken over by IBM last year and is no longer offered for free. I have since come across a great tool to check your Web site for accessibility. It is called WAVE. It was created by the WebAIM organization.

WAVE is available as an add-on to Firefox so that it is readily available in your toolbar at all times. You can also go to the WAVE site and enter a URL and ask it to “WAVE this page”! It will evaluate the page for you and tell you if there are any accessibility errors on that page. It does not evaluate the whole site, just that page. You have the options to upload a file and copy/paste HTML code to be evaluated. You can also provide a link on your Web page to the WAVE report for your page.

Although this tool is in Beta it is worth checking out.

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