Christian Heilmann

Oddly executed accessibility – hide the widget

Friday, June 17th, 2005 at 11:37 am

I just stumbled upon yet another web site widget that should enhance the accessibility and usability of the site, by offering different site widths and font sizes:

site widget to change font size

My question now is who that really helps? A visitor with bad eyesight is not likely to be able to decypher what these icons mean.
They do have a proper alternative text, but that is not visible until you turn off images (or hover over the images in MSIE).
The implementation is even worse: All the links point to “javascript:void(0)”, which means that without JavaScript, they are dead and useless.

It is a wonderful idea to help visitors with special needs, but it is harmful to implement them using design and technology that assumes the same users don’t have these needs.

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