Accessibility 2.0: The Daily Mail was the only website reviewed in our series that contained a link to a text-only version of the site.

Removing the graphics from a page will undoubtedly aid screen reader users, but there is debate over whether this is an appropriate accessibility solution for visitors using assistive technologies.

Our reviewer John said he is impressed by any site that goes to the effort of publishing a text-only alternative and the WC3 guidelines on accessibility suggest text-only sites as a last option: “If, after best efforts, you cannot create an accessible page, provide a link to an alternative page.”

In an article on text-only alternatives, Trenton Moss from Web Credible makes the following arguments against their use:

  1. the text-only version may have its own accessibility issues
  2. it’s a lost opportunity to promote the site’s brand and advertisers
  3. it requires extra time and financial investment to create the alternative site
  4. a text-only site may not hold the same content as the primary version
  5. the internet is about inclusivity – creating a text-only site marginalises users

While The Daily Mail should be commended as the only site to include this link, the offer of a text-only site should perhaps be seen as a stepping stone towards full accessibility and not a final solution.

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