October 8, 2007 in Technology (F)
[prMac.com] Chicago, IL - October 8, 2007 - No longer is creating a website as easy as setting up a single page of text, adding a few pictures and waiting for the traffic to come. Current research shows that there are as many as 500 million people in the world who have some kind of mental or sensory disability. Under the standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, those individuals are entitled to web sites with content that is compliant with standards, and contains content that is accessible to all.
"This is the future of the World Wide Web," says Seth M. Kane, Managing Partner of hurriKane Solutions, LLC, a Chicago-based website design firm which creates compliant corporate and e-commerce websites. "Creating a website that matches Section 508 standards is not only important, it's essential for any successful website. In short, you can't survive on the internet without it."
Not complying with the standards to make a website accessible can lead to negative consequences. For example, Target Corporation is currently in a federal class-action lawsuit, under claims that its e-commerce web site is not usable for the blind. In addition to breaking federal disability laws, a company that does not have a disability-friendly website is missing out on visitors.
"Customers will go somewhere else to find a website that is compliant," Kane says. "The smart companies are integrating accessibility now, rather than waiting. Today, a company cannot function without a website. Customers and employees expect a website. It is only a matter of time before those 500 million disabled people demand access to those websites as well."
HurriKane Solutions can design a corporate or e-commerce website to make it something everyone, everywhere, regardless of their disability, can use. For example, by using specialized keys and holding down the ALT button, a person can navigate around and through a web site without having to use a mouse. In addition, screen readers can be implemented that can translate text into Braille displays.
One such website recently developed by hurriKane as accessible, was for infertility consultant, Lotus Blossom Consulting, LLC, at www.lotusblossomconsulting.com. By navigating to the Accessibility tab at the bottom of the page, users of the Lotus Blossom Consulting website can read about the company's philosophy with regard to accessibility, and access a list of key codes which gives instructions for use.
"Lotus Blossom Consulting recognizes the importance of making our web services available to the largest possible audience and has attempted to develop our site to be accessible by all users," said Lotus Blossom Consulting's founder, Mindy Berkson. "Because a portion of the clientele dealing with infertility issues might also be physically challenged, it made good business sense to have our website be not only inclusive, but effective in its use."
"Eventually, websites that do not have the accessibility outlined by standards will become akin to a business that does not supply handicap accessible ramps, doors and bathrooms," Kane adds. "As the Internet becomes the standard repository for the world's information, making that information accessible to everyone becomes more and more critical."
Chicago based hurriKane Solutions is a private company which provides e-commerce websites and other online solutions that affect and improve the bottom line for their clients. hurriKane Solutions focuses on creating websites that make an impact, and specializes in making clients' websites compliant for disabled users as well. Information about the solutions provided by hurriKane Solutions can be found their website, or by calling (312) 285-0408.