I mean, seriously, this is 2006.
If you don’t do it that way and aren’t willing to learn, I won’t bother you anymore. It’s your problem, and something you have to deal with.
Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t believe in laws enforcing accessibility. They can never be a 100% fair and balanced, and it’s a highly subjective matter. What is truly accessible? On the other hand I understand that when it comes to the public sector there has to be some regulations, when we’re dealing with matters about informing and facts that every citizen has a right to be able to get to. That I support.
For the private sector, however, I sincerely hope that reaching more visitors – thus getting more customers, getting a better search engine ranking, goodwill and actually doing the right thing should be incentive enough.
In the end, if companies choose to make their web sites inaccessible, it has to be their call. It’s their web site and they can do whatever they want with it. They will probably get bad press, like with Target, but I don’t think suing helps. Ultimately, my belief (read: vision) is that the market will cleanse itself; if you do things bad, people will choose another company to do their business with. Easy as that.
On the other hand, we have people fighting for accessibility. Most of them good people doing it for a good cause, but sometimes their critique gets too harsh or is taken as being elitist, and that doesn’t help. Instead, companies being pointed out in such context don’t take it as constructive criticism, but instead as an attack and choose to ignore the people pointing out their flaws. It has to be done in a more respectful manner.
Why people leave them be? My guess is that people like Flickr so much and that Google Maps has got such a great API for building mash-ups, that they’re willing to overlook such things. Don’t. Be consistent.
A great initiative
Accessibility is often looked upon as something holding web development back, which isn’t true if it’s implemented in a correct manner. Also, some think that trying to make a web site accessible for people with any disabilities and/or platform means that it has to work exactly the same for everyone. It won’t. But make sure it degrades nice so everyone can at least partake of the information being given.
To me, just bashing inaccessible web sites doesn’t seem to do the trick. The people responsible just seclude themselves in their own shell, and hope the problem will go away. Instead, I applaud such initiatives as Accessites.org, which is about premiering good looking and functionally-wise excellent web sites that are at the same time accessible. I think that’s the way to do it, to show that something can be great and accessible.