Views of a Passionate Tester...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Are Text-version websites really needed?

Today, while browsing through the web, I found a website named Office for Disability Issues. As mentioned on their website, “The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) is part of the Department for Work and Pensions and works closely with the Minister for Disabled People, other government departments, disabled people and a wide range of external groups.”

As expected from description published above, the website is well designed to make accessible to users with different abilities. WAVE could find one and only one accessibility issue in the Home Page. Isn’t it Impressive?

The site provides different accessibility features such as Update Font Size, Change background and foreground colour etc. but the feature which caught my interest was Text version of the website.

Initially, I found the Text version of the site very useful; especially, to users with visual disabilities who use screen reader programs to access the web. Later, I couldn’t think of any other user who prefers a website without images. (Quasi-disabilities such as slow internet connection are not in scope in this context. That can be achieved by disabling the images in browser, if needed.)

A text version website may be useful to visually challenged users; but it will not be friendly to the users who can see. In fact, they might find such websites boring or difficult to use.

There is very old proverb – A picture worth a thousand words. A website having images with correct, sensible and comprehensive alt text will be useful to large group of website visitors including users with cognitive and visual disabilities. A website designed to make accessible to everyone might be a better choice rather than creating separate versions of a site for users with different disabilities.

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Juliana Reed said...

Hey Mohit, Thank you for the really simple counter-argument of the .gov's website on all text usability. I agree with you, it's kinda boring and going the wrong direction, I featured your article here on Superb Internet's blog. Any further tests you want to let me know about and share some insight do let me know

Mohit said...

Hi Juliana,

Thanks for appreciating the article and featuring it on Superb Internet's blog. It’s an honour.

I believe that one can learn by interacting with others. Thanks for taking the initiative - I will surely let you know with my finding on software testing.

Mohit Verma