ComputersGeneralWeb Design

How not to make a web site accessible

There are some web sites on the Internet that are badly designed and inaccessible, but every now and again you come across one that really stands out amongst the bad sites.

The site I’ve come across this time is for the Tropical World at Roundhay park. The site appears to have gone for some high-tech features such as 3D virtual tours and speech enabled text. It’s the latter bit that really gets me as it appears they’ve created sound clips, but made them inaccessible to the very people that would need them.

Firstly the site is heavily dependent on Javascript. This is a feature that may not work on screen-readers or voice enabled browsers. The alt attribute for images allows alternative text to be used when an image may not be visible, but these have not been provided for any of the links to the spoken text.
At the other end of the images earlier have been given entire paragraphs of text for their alt tags, which appears to be more about improving search engine ratings, and would inconvenience anyone viewing / listening to the alt tags rather than seeing the images.

Right clicks have been disabled. This means that if you want to open a window in a new tab (or window), then you can’t. If you want to be able to do any of these then you need to disable Javascript (available through the browser options), or easier if you have the Web developer extension/add-on to firefox. Disabling right click is something normally done as a poor attempt at blocking someone from copying the images, but the photos on the tropical world page are so small that it’s unlikely anyone would want to copy them.

Of course there are worse sites. In fact if you go to the company that created the audio files “Get Carter Productions”, you end up at a flash only web site. The entire page on my 17inch screen is smaller than a standard sized post-it note. I’m guessing this may be that they’ve messed up the page for the Firefox browser, but at it’s current resolution it’s unreadable by those with excellent eye-sight, let alone those that need to read the site using large fonts.

For more information on the Tropical world see: Tourism: Leeds Roundhay Park Tropical World, West Yorkshire.