How Not to Make Your Site Accessible

As Fred Mangels points out on his blog, City Councilwoman Polly Endert has her web site up for her campaign for re-election to the Eureka City Council’s 2nd Ward seat. Fred complains that the page(s) are too wide for his browser and he has to scroll horizontally to see all of them. He must mean his screen resolution is set too low to allow him to expand his browser window to accommodate a wider view port. He is also wrong that this is a problem for “most” people. I don’t know what resolution his monitor is set at, but my guess is that it’s 800 x 600. Statistics indicate that by far most people are running at resolutions of 1024 px or higher. Here is a link to another site that backs this up. Very few people are still running at 800 X 600. However, even if it’s only 8%, when you are running for city council should you be annoying that many potential voters?

For the record, all the pages on Polly Endert’s site are images. Not that they contain images. Each whole page is a single image. The home page is 1040 pixels wide. So even people (about 48% according to the statistics) that are running at 1024 resolution would have to scroll sideways to see the full page. The other pages on her site are 958 pixels wide.

Fred also point out that the George Clark/Linda Atkins combined web site is also wider than his browser view port. Since their site is 875 pixels wide this seems to confirm that Fred falls in to 8% still using 80Polly Endert Web Site0 X 600 resolution.

But beyond the width issue, using a single image for each page as Endert’s site does, means there is no text to be read by people who are visually impaired and using screen readers.  Perhaps there are not many visually impaired computer users in the 2nd District of Eureka. But it still seems like a lack of sensitivity to the issue. Target recently settled a law suit over being unfriendly to the visually impaired, and their trangression was far less egregious (they weren’t using text descriptions in the page code on product images that screen reading software would read to help identify content). It may just be laziness on the part of the web designer. Or maybe they don’t really have one and the site is being managed by someone’s nephew who is “good with computers.”