The lawsuit filed against Target in federal court back in 2008 is a valuable one that the web hosting world should not ignore. The complaint filed against Target was that its website did not consider the blind in its website function implementation. The colorblind, partially blind, and totally blind could not access Target’s Internet facilities and were shut out unfairly.
Target may have never meant to harm the blind population in any way, but their neglect reveals a gaping problem among web hosts—that of the inaccessibility of the blind. Why is this a problem, and what can be done to correct this problem and avoid Target’s misfortune?
The inaccessibility of the blind is a problem that holds legal consequences because the blind constitute a section of humanity. From the founding document of the Declaration of Independence, every human is entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” what the Founding Fathers labeled as “certain inalienable rights” that could not be taken away. Despite their incapacity, the blind are still a part of society that, like the rest of humanity, deserves full access to public, private, and Internet facilities. They were denied full access at Target’s website; and when web hosts assume that every Internet user has full sight capacity, he or she is practicing (though unbeknownst to them) a form of legal discrimination.
What can be done to correct this problem? There are a number of measures web hosts can implement to make their websites accessible to the visually impaired:
- Optical character recognition
- Screen magnifiers
- Screen readers
- Voice recognition
- Speech synthesizers
These are just a few measures web hosts can establish to aid the visually impaired online. Screen magnifiers are one of the most inexpensive of measures web hosts can buy to prevent themselves from wearing the charge of web hosting discrimination.
What are Screen Magnifiers?
Screen magnifiers are software enlarges the content present on a computer screen. Some screen magnifiers only allow the Internet user to view the screen at a certain enlarged state. Other magnifiers have a wide range of magnification and allow the Internet user to select the level of magnification he or she prefers. Some of the screen magnifiers out on the market today are:
- Virtual Magnifying Glass
- The Magnifier
The Virtual Magnifying Glass, a form of freeware for Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, and FreeBSD, is an update from the old one: it no longer requires a special video card or DirectX for screen enlargement. There is a mouse-scrolling function that determines the zoom level, and the zoom magnification levels range from 1x to 32x.
The Magnifier, invented by Innovation Management Group ten years ago to aid visually-impaired children, has a magnification range of 1x to 40x and comes provides three different forms of the main menu: “easy to read,” “floating,” and “simple.” For all of the technical specifications of this screen magnifier, it costs $49.95 to purchase it via email, $59.95 to purchase it via DVD, and $69.95 for a USB version.
ADesigner includes screen readers and voice browsers that read the text to the visually-impaired Internet user. ADesigner operates on Windows XP or above operating systems and downloads free for users as provided by the Eclipse Foundation. The freeware does not work as effectively on pages high in computer graphic content.
Created for Windows 2000,Vista, and XP, DesktopZoom is a desktop screen magnifier that allows you to enlarge your screen content with the scroll of your computer mouse. Once you adjust your settings to the magnification level and color, the settings remain in place until you change them again.
The uToolbox is just an application that works with the rest of your computer files. All it takes is just a download to run the application. Works with Windows 95, 98, Me (Millennium), XP, andVistaoperating systems.
These are some of the screen magnifiers available on the market today. The next time you prepare to change your website settings, add a new photo, or create a new blog post, ask yourself: “Could I be guilty of Internet discrimination?” If you do not provide tools to help the visually impaired, tools that can be downloaded at the click of a button, you may be guilty as charged.
The Article has been contributed by Jason Phillips. Jason enjoys writing and has in-depth knowledge about web designing, web hosting and web development.