Are disability experts right to slam Facebook, Bebo and Myspace?

It has been reported that some of the biggest social media names on the web, such as Bebo, Myspace and Facebook have fundamental flaws in their user centricity and don’t even meet up to the basic guidelines of accessibility.

I do think that it is an insane misjudgement by the social media community gurus, considering that for most people use of the internet in many ways brings both able bodied and disabled users together in a neutral world, void of physical constraints.

The web should be a place where access is made via the mind and any tools that can aid making the users presence felt are vital, not only to the single user but to preserve a true representation of humanity in the online populous. The fact that a deaf or blind person cannot gain access to a digital world is appalling, and social media sites should make it easier for them to be free to be exactly who they are, regardless of their disability.

Dean Russell of communications agency precedent said “These sites exclude people with disabilities; they could do a hell of a lot more to promote the issue. There should be a campaign aimed at anyone setting up a profile”.

Trenton Moss, director of webcredible said “User-generated content has come along and everything has changed. MySpace is one of the most horrendous sites for accessibility.”

A spokeswoman for Bebo said “Our site has been embraced by the deaf community. Accessibility hasn’t been raised as an issue.”

MySpace and Facebook were unavailable for comment.

One hopes that they were too busy on the phone to Robin Christoperson getting accessibility tips?

Source: Published: 21 June 2007 00:00

3 Responses to Are disability experts right to slam Facebook, Bebo and Myspace?

  1. Half sigma – I think you’ll find that most web designers are also willing to pass up on utilising SEO, mostly due to ignorance and not cost, i favour that the same is true of the usability issues I mentioned. I also think you misunderstood my post, i was actually referring to the social media networks (i.e. – the Myspaces of this world) that blatantly disregard basic accessibly functionality and could face legal action if this is not changed. If you read the two about us pages by two of the biggest, you can see that they promise to target “Everyone”

    Myspace About Us

    Face Book About Us

    I also rather imagine that (not just the blind) but all disabled users make up more than “A tiny percentage”. On the last count, there are an estimated 6.5 million people in the United Kingdom that live with some sort of long-term disability.

    Thanks for the comment though 🙂

  2. Most people designing websites are willing to pass up on the tiny percentage of people who are blind in order to make the website more appealing to the sited and to make the development effort a lot easier.

  3. Hi – Just to say and VeeSee TV offer access to the global deaf community. They can blog, vlog, sign chat to each others via webcam video-streaming and send in videos for upload onto our news section and if they are good enough quality, on to our Digital TV channel. Check us out. All feedback welcome!

    Best wishes, Susie

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