I don’t totally understand why given that it’s 2014 and we really should be beyond it, but the subject of plain text, “more accessible” versions of websites still comes up more than you’d think. For the record, I hate those and you should, too. And in a new post on his accessibility blog, Marco breaks down why.
For one, letting a website know you’re using a screen reader means running around the web waving a red flag that shouts “here, I’m visually impaired or blind!” at anyone who is willing to look. It would take away the one place where we as blind people can be relatively undetected without our white cane or guide dog screaming at everybody around us that we’re blind or visually impaired, and therefore giving others a chance to treat us like true equals. Because let’s face it, the vast majority of non-disabled people are apprehensive in one way or another when encountering a person with a disability.
And the old arguments still apply: Alternative versions of web sites tend to get out of date, no longer being maintained, and creating and maintaining them is more expensive than properly applying markup and learning the web accessibility skill properly once.
There’s more, and if any of our dev friends are reading, I encourage you in the strongest possible way to read it.