Home – New Forums Marketing mastery New barriers for websites aimed at USA markets

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  • #987967
    JohnW
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    Hi All,
    This is potentially one of the biggest changes to the Internet ever! Where will it take us?

    “the U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it plans to update the Americans Disability Act (ADA) to add Webaccessibility standards”.

    We have had similar regulations in Aust since around 2000 but they were not enforced. Now the USA Internet juggernaught seems to be joining the fray. That could change the world…

    The ADA’s Effect On SEO

    Accessibility is set to have a big impact on website design in 2014. Among other market forces, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it plans to update the Americans Disability Act (ADA) to add Webaccessibility standards. Those changes, expected in 2014, are going to propel search marketers in a new, improved, direction.”

    Forget SEO, it is the web page publishing cost of compliance with these regulations that web publishers may need to consider.

    Cost issues like:

    • Images will need text descriptions
    • PDF files will need to be available in RTF formats as well.
    • You will need transcripts of video and audio files.
    • W3C HTML compliance will be essential.

    Let me put this in context…

    In this day of content management systems, shopping cart programs and user generated content, much of compliance will be in the hands of the people who have no knowledge of these proposed rules.

    It is unlikely that any commonly used content management system or shopping cart system is likely to comply with the regulations.

    What will be the ramifications for Word Press, Joomla, Magenta, Shopify, etc., etc.?
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165032
    Jason G
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    Very interesting read. I wonder what effects this would have in the short term view of things, and the amount of websites that would comply with these regulations.

    #1165033
    Jenny Spring
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    very interesting.

    maybe they’ll bring metrics in while they are at it… ;)

    #1165034
    Greg_M
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    An interesting read.

    Seems they’d have a fair way to go to implement it. The ADA’s own website is dogs breakfast that they’d need to start with.

    The standard itself was written in 2008 and there’s been a lot happened with web applications since then … though I guess the basics would still hold.

    The big question is. How do you enforce it?

    Perhaps it may put some value back into building bespoke websites (for a developer, not the client), as you’ll actually need to know what you’re doing to implement the standard.

    If it get’s to square one, my guess is that the stock standard CMS’s will adapt, or die according to how dedicated/smart their developer communities are (in the case of the open source one’s).

    The Cloud based platforms like Shopify, Squarespace etc, will probably get it right before anyone else … their business model is to provide ready to roll applications for all kinds of businesses. They have the resources, and economy of scale to approach it more efficiently than just about anyone else. They also have secondary developer communities that’ll jump in if they smell a dollar.

    If it can be enforced, the big will get bigger … and the little guy better learn to write some code.

    #1165035
    JohnW
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    estim8, post: 191057 wrote:
    An interesting read…

    If it can be enforced, the big will get bigger … and the little guy better learn to write some code.
    Hi Estim8,
    Oz was one of the first countries to provide website accessibility guidelines for folk with disabilities. It harks back to 2000 when a visually impaired person took the Sydney Olympic Committee to court over its non-accessible website and won.

    Aust already has Federal laws covering the issue. The Australian Human Rights Commission says:

    “The provision of information and online services through the web is a service covered by the DDA (Australian Disability Discrimination Act). Equal access for people with a disability in this area is required by the DDA where it can reasonably be provided.”

    The Aust guidelines are here:

    World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act Advisory Notes ver 4.0 (2010)

    Equal Access is Required by Law

    “Individuals and organisations providing information and services via the World Wide Web need to think about how they make their websites and other web resources accessible to people with a disability. One in five Australians has a disability, and the proportion is growing.”

    The simplest guideline compliance component to measure is the W3C HTML code standards.

    According to the W3C validator, this referenced humanrights.gov.au web page contains 8 Errors and 42 warning(s).

    If you check their Home page there are 19 Errors, 5 warning(s).

    There will be a bunch of problems with online functions like opening an account, placing orders in carts, Captcha images, etc.

    Most of the problems however will not be of a code nature.

    Think about social media graphic rich sites like YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest.

    How will they enforce on their users the requirement to provide transcripts of videos and descriptions of images?

    The issue died down in Australia but in the class action, litigious USA what manner of mayhem could this start?
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165036
    Greg_M
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    Hi John,

    Another interesting read, seems to mainly reference back to the original standard.

    If WC3 validation is the staring point, I think the bureaucrats may have bitten off more than they can chew getting this to fly. By it’s own admission the WC3 validator cannot accurately check HTML 5.

    HTML 5 probably offers some of the best opportunities for actually improving web accessibility, among them the use of semantic tags that offer a much better idea of how and what the document is doing and saying.

    The browser developers drive web standards these days, WC3 plays a slow catch up.

    If they really want to enforce a better and improving standard (which I think they should), they’d be better off talking to the leading edge of technology, not the archives.

    Regardless of how it’s pursued and enforced, IMO code will still be the key … images, video, anything, is digital and binary in nature, so capable of being manipulated and reinterpreted to suit. At what cost is another matter.

    HTML is the thin presentation layer only, but even this is now being exploited and changed to carry a lot more data than is visible (and perhaps resolve some of the issues). Googles – AngularJS, is a prime example … it can produce a sophisticated document, including data binding and deep linking by putting additional mark up within a standard HTML tag … even exploits local storage in the browser, and is capable of a certain amount of business logic without a database. All without screwing the Document Object Model. I think they could manage to produce transcripts as well.

    Getting off topic with the tech stuff, but I think just about anything will soon be doable.

    It just won’t be doable easily by hacking a standard CMS template.

    If they really can put the pressure on to make this happen, it’ll probably create opportunities for many, but it’ll make low level entry even tougher than it appears to be getting now.

    By that I don’t mean just getting online with a website, just about any dill can do that now, but actually becoming a commercial success is going to get tougher as the bigger players get more sophisticated in their offerings.

    This latest challenge will accelerate that.

    Cheers

    #1165037
    JohnW
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    Hi Estim8,
    For the few other tragics who may be interested in this stuff and who don’t know…

    HTML code has an International organisation responsible for writing the code “standards”. This is http://www.w3.org.

    On this site is a free tool you can use to check a web page’s conformance with the various code standards. Its address is http://validator.w3.org/. You can enter any web page address through this checker and it will spit you out a list of the page’s “errors” and “warnings”.

    estim8, post: 191229 wrote:
    The browser developers drive web standards these days, WC3 plays a slow catch up.
    I thought the peak of developers trying to take over HTML code was during the browser wars of the 90s – Microsoft vs Netscape (Does anyone remember Netscape?)

    It seems to me Microsoft has been forced into more compliance with the standards over the last 3 years.

    Google and many others refused to support MS’ variation from the standards. Now, if you surf the web with IE8 you will frequently find yourself on pages that issue warnings that G or “this website” does not support this browser.

    Another issue is that “accessibility guidelines” do not recognise “browsers” as an acceptable info delivery tool.

    There are web page audio readers that need to be able to read aloud pages that may contain tables, images, videos, login “captcha” codes and shopping cart order forms.

    There are also special web page reading devices like braille “keyboards” that need to be able to “read” web pages. These sorts of specialist devices with their limited support are always going to be country miles behind the “leading edge” code and browser technology.

    It all goes back to how determined the authorities are to enforce the standards whose complexity they probably don’t understand.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165038
    Greg_M
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    Netscape, those were the day’s … little men carrying placards across the page, and sparkling backgrounds.

    The visuals may have improved but the content hasn’t. I miss Alta Vista … bang in a few words and get a clean result … totally off topic.

    There’s no real browser “war” now, but the big players do lead with the standards/ functionality (and generally drag MS along). I did read some time ago that IE is the only browser that runs at a loss, and that one of the reasons MS persevere is the fear of reneging on their argument with the EU courts, re it being an integral part of their OS (maybe that changes with the drop off of XP support?).

    Yes, our conventional view of what a browser is leaves a lot of people out of the loop.

    I’ve used text browsers before, they aren’t a bad way for testing a site … gives you a pretty good idea of how the document is really being delivered, especially to SE crawlers.

    I guess I’d assumed the gadgets you mention, were leveraging off something like a text browser to drive input … might have to investigate further. Apart from the accessibility issue, HTML is starting to look like a primitive way to deliver info over such an integrated network. Maybe some of the methods you mentioned for surfing the web may actually be at the leading edge of where we’re headed.

    It all goes back to how determined the authorities are to enforce the standards whose complexity they probably don’t understand.

    ^
    This

    Cheers

    #1165039
    JohnW
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    estim8, post: 191240 wrote:
    …Apart from the accessibility issue, HTML is starting to look like a primitive way to deliver info over such an integrated network. Maybe some of the methods you mentioned for surfing the web may actually be at the leading edge of where we’re headed.

    If so, that could be the end for Google as we know it.

    Think about it…
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165040
    Greg_M
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    JohnW, post: 191242 wrote:
    If so, that could be the end for Google as we know it.

    Think about it…
    Regs,
    JohnW

    Maybe as we know it, but given their resources and the peripheral products they’re developing (with some of the technologies I’m talking about), I think they’ll be right up there. They’ll have just about everyone’s data to bargain with too.

    Here’s a brief e.g. – Meteorite (just one of many frameworks) produces an app/website that is virtually devoid of HTML in it’s structure. It’s pure Javascript, from the front end presentation, right through to the server (server is Javascript also). It polls, and updates real time data with virtually no latency, across multiple users and API’s.

    You may think this is an SEO nightmare, it was, but here’s my point. Someone has already produced a “plugin” that decodes it enough to allow indexing.

    Cheers

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