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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday August 22 2018, @10:40AM   Printer-friendly
from the not-seeing-it dept.

Apple, which prides itself on design, faces a lawsuit alleging that its web page layout violates the law.

In a complaint [PDF] filed on Sunday in a Manhattan district court, plaintiff Himelda Mendez claims that Apple's website, by virtue of its availability in Apple Stores, violates Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Mendez is a visually impaired and legally blind person who uses a screen-reader, which can translate written website text into spoken words or tactile Braille.

The National Federation of the Blind estimates there are about 7.3mn people age 16 or older in the US with a visual disability.

According to the complaint, Apple's website code lacks alt-text attributes that allow screen readers to convey textual descriptions of graphics. Apple.com webpages, it's said, contain empty links with no text, which confuses screen-readers and those using them.

Then there's the issue of redundant links next to each other that all point to the same address, a situation that can be difficult for users of screen-readers to understand. Also, Apple's linked images, it's claimed, lack alt-text tags. That means screen-readers have no way to tell users the function of links.

"For screen-reading software to function, the information on a website must be capable of being rendered into text," the complaint says. "If the website content is not capable of being rendered into text, the blind or visually-impaired user is unable to access the same content available to sighted users."


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Book Review: Rainbows End by Rudy Rucker 5 comments

I previously reviewed Rudy Rucker's Ware Tetralogy and Postsingular and found that Rudy Rucker's best work comes after ideas had the most time to percolate. Postsingular was a relative dud, although still far superior to Neal Stephenson's REAMDE. In contrast, Rainbows End is highly recommended. Indeed, it is essential reading for anyone concerned about the progression of software from desktop, web and mobile to augmented reality. The book has a shockingly similar game to Pokémon Go in addition to a plausible mix of tech mergers and new entrants in a near-future universe where smartphones have given way to wearable augmented reality.

Many books, comics and films have covered the purgatory of high school and some have covered the special purgatory of going back to high school (for a re-union or as a student). The film: 21 Jump Street is a particularly silly example of the sub-genre. Rainbows End covers a world leading humanities academic who spends years in the fugue of dementia, responds almost perfectly to medical advances and is enrolled in high school to complete his therapy. While he looks almost perfectly like a 17 year old, his contemporaries remain in decline or have bounced back with far more random results.

Although he has physically recovered, he has lost his razor-sharp insight and biting wit[1]. Like other patients, he finds talents in unrelated areas. His computer fluency, which was sufficient to publish in academic journals, is now 20 years out of date. During this period, laptops have become as thin as paper and also horrendously obsolete. Although the paper-thin laptops can be configured as a variety of legacy desktop environments and legacy web browsers, rendering data from the (almost) ubiquitous wireless network is less successful than accessing the current World Wide Web without images or JavaScript. However, this is only one slice of purgatory.

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Gaaark on Wednesday August 22 2018, @10:49AM (3 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 22 2018, @10:49AM (#724606) Journal

    I see! That IS a problem.
    Hmmmm...

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 3, Touché) by c0lo on Wednesday August 22 2018, @12:06PM (2 children)

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @12:06PM (#724621) Journal

      I see!

      Put in a blindfold and try to manage for a day.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Wednesday August 22 2018, @11:42PM (1 child)

        by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @11:42PM (#724941) Journal

        Put in a blindfold

        Put it in what?? Where??

        and try to manage for a day.

        Yeah, I know a lot of managers who seem to be blindly feeling around in the dark....

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22 2018, @11:57PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22 2018, @11:57PM (#724945)

          Oh, don't be such a grammar.. mmm... pedant.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Arik on Wednesday August 22 2018, @11:53AM

    by Arik (4543) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @11:53AM (#724619) Journal
    Foisting an abomination like that on the web *should* be a criminal offense.
    --
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by opinionated_science on Wednesday August 22 2018, @12:34PM

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @12:34PM (#724624)

    As someone with more than one sight inhibited relative, it seems amazing that computing interfaces lag behind.

    One would hope that *everything* would be visible in a text browser.... (yes, I use links and lynx to probe websites!!!)

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday August 22 2018, @12:55PM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @12:55PM (#724633)

    till she discovers heavily javascripted sites...

  • (Score: 2) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday August 22 2018, @01:01PM (4 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @01:01PM (#724636)

    visually-impaired user is unable to access the same content available to sighted users.

    Is Pornhub held to the same standard?

    Just wondering...

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday August 22 2018, @03:37PM (2 children)

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @03:37PM (#724694) Journal

      What's the problem?
      The transcription is trivial, not like they are reciting Shakespeare's sonnets in Swahili.

      (grin)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Wednesday August 22 2018, @06:41PM (1 child)

        by shortscreen (2252) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @06:41PM (#724800) Journal

        does pornhub have an erotic literature section?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23 2018, @05:52AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23 2018, @05:52AM (#725084)

          They do. Look under the category and tag "descriptive audio" or something like that. I believe there was even a soylentnews story at the time they announced it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23 2018, @05:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23 2018, @05:54PM (#725308)

      Porn hub actually does have a visually impaired system. It doesn't rely as much on front-end scripting and makes more sense on a screen reader. In addition, you can watch "Described Video" that narrates the action. In fact, some of those videos are the top rated on the site, especially among women, because the narrative adds a bit of spice to the video.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by SomeGuy on Wednesday August 22 2018, @01:22PM (7 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @01:22PM (#724641)

    "You must use the absolute latest Firefox, Chrome, or Microsoft Edge. Anything older WILL break. Scripting must be enabled. Ad blockers must be disabled. You must use a huge widescreen monitor. The monitor must be LCD with the same sub-pixel rendering. You must be using Microsoft Windows. We will screw around with the content so Google's search sees actual content while you see advertising. All text and links are generated with scripting. Less than 10%=not supported. Less than 1%=does not exist. Screen readers do not exist. Printers do not exist. Non-windows does not exist. People who get seizures from our bouncy animations do not exist. Blind people can not use computers or smart phones anyway, so they do not exist".

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22 2018, @01:56PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22 2018, @01:56PM (#724648)

      > You must use the absolute latest

      You actually want that too, unless you are really into being hacked.

      Plus supporting older IE and its rebranded version (Edge) is like walking on lava. Ok, newer ones could also die in a fire as well.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22 2018, @03:42PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22 2018, @03:42PM (#724697)

        There are actually long-term support versions of browsers available, so its number might appear old but it gets all the security fixes: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/ [mozilla.org] too bad the only way to find it is to know it already exists.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by SomeGuy on Wednesday August 22 2018, @04:05PM (1 child)

          by SomeGuy (5632) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @04:05PM (#724710)

          That is the larger part of the problem. There are many special purpose browser offshoots that look "older" even though they are "up to date". Of course there are also some times that one MUST use an older browser or some task simply can NOT be done.

          While keeping software patched is one part of the security equation, anyone who relies only on that for security is a fucking fool. Everything that is shipped today has bugs and exploits, and you don't know that nobody already knows about them.

          • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday August 23 2018, @03:25PM

            by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday August 23 2018, @03:25PM (#725233) Journal

            While keeping software patched is one part of the security equation, anyone who relies only on that for security is a fucking fool. Everything that is shipped today has bugs and exploits, and you don't know that nobody already knows about them.

            Browser detection is a whole other beast entirely.

            Keeping software patched is absolutely good for security...but trying to force *other people* to keep their software patched is just asinine. In order for your system to be secure, it has to be secure against ANY data input. An attacker isn't going to just load your page in a normal browser, they'll be messing with the raw data that's being transmitted. So mandating the browser version on a remote system that you don't control can't possibly make your system any more secure, all it can do is piss off legitimate users. If you think your website requires that check for "security reasons", then you're probably just incompetent. Give a warning if you want to be nice, but generally you should let your clients/customers/whatever manage their own security -- unless you're their IT guy.

            ...which reminds me of the new app that my credit union recently forced upon their users. Won't run on any device which has root access. My device has root access so that I can run firewalls and antivirus. So they tell me that I have to disable my security software "for security purposes". Instead, I just use the website now. Unless THEY want to pay for it, they've got no right to tell me what I can and cannot install on my phone. And if their website is going to be destroyed because I didn't turn off my firewall, then they're gonna get hacked pretty soon anyway...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22 2018, @05:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22 2018, @05:11PM (#724742)

      the only thing i "require"(test with) out of your list is a new-ish browser. yes, a high percentage of web agencies do the stuff you list. unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of internet users are ignorant and lazy, so small shops that do things better are largely ignored.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday August 22 2018, @10:22PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @10:22PM (#724904)

      > Non-windows does not exist.

      Are you willfully blind to the Apple cult that so many web designers belong to ?

    • (Score: 2) by toddestan on Friday August 24 2018, @04:39PM

      by toddestan (4982) on Friday August 24 2018, @04:39PM (#725892)

      "You must use the absolute latest Firefox, Chrome, or Microsoft Edge. Anything older WILL break. Scripting must be enabled. Ad blockers must be disabled. You must use a huge widescreen monitor. The monitor must be LCD with the same sub-pixel rendering. You must be using Microsoft Windows.

      I would say that's from a couple years back. Now it's more like "Our websites are optimized for mobile devices with tiny screens. It will only work with an up to date Safari on iOS or Chrome on Android. What's Firefox? Our webpages are nothing but huge clickable elements for people bluntly poking at 6" screens with their finger, and we don't care that if you're using a mouse you'll endlessly be clicking on these damn things by accident (though we do love all ad revenue these clicks bring us). If you view our webpage on on a desktop monitor it'll be 80% whitespace surrounding the content, which by the way the whitespace is still a clickable element anyway just to piss you off and we don't give a shit. Oh, and when we said optimized for mobile, we meant just the way it looks, we don't care that all that scripting will bring your phone's weak ARM processor to its knees, kill your battery, and blow up your data plan. It looks great on our shiny iPhone X and that's all that counts!"

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jlv on Wednesday August 22 2018, @02:47PM (1 child)

    by jlv (3756) on Wednesday August 22 2018, @02:47PM (#724665)

    Reading the PDF of the complaint helps to highlight some of the abuses the ADA helps foist.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23 2018, @03:10AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23 2018, @03:10AM (#725038)

      I think the problem is that we all know who will be blamed for the complaint: IT.

      We all know who should be blamed for the complaint: the small-minded chauvinists in Marketing who overrode and disregarded IT's objections every single time. Ownership as well for not valuing their IT department's advice and concerns because IT isn't diverse.

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