Search Engines With Disabilities

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When we first started Adira, we thought we’d discovered a niche in the UK market. The US, and parts of Europe were going bonkers over ensuring that websites were coded to allow blind and disabled access, they had even legislated to this effect. We found that the UK had also produced legislation under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) but very few UK web designers were adhering to this.

What we didn’t realise at the time was that businesses weren’t interested and now, 3 years on the legislation is still ignored by the authorities.

However, our efforts to produce clean accessible code did not go unrewarded. Blind people use ‘assistive software’ to view a website – this is like a little robot that reads the page to them. Interestingly search engines also use a little robot to read the page.

The end result of this was that all of the websites we developed were not only accessible to blind people, but were also prime fodder for search engines – and this was bourne out in the results we were achieving for our clients time and again – without even having to try! Once we figured this out, it wasn’t much of a leap to turn good search engine results into great search engine results – and a new direction for the company was born!

I guess the moral of the story is if we try to do the right thing, the rewards can sometimes be abundant.

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Saturday, November 3rd, 2007 at 8:32 am  |  Usability