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The Law of Unintended Consequences #bancookiebanners
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The Law of Unintended Consequences #bancookiebanners

The Law of Unintended Consequences #bancookiebanners

There are many reasons why I hate Cookie Banners.

I do not dislike them. I do not find them irritating.

I hate them. With a vengeance.

Over the last 10 years, we have seen the BBC, Google, Microsoft, Apple and many other innovative companies put accessibility at the heart of what they do and they have come out with the most brilliant ideas around assistive technology. During this same time, tragically, we have also seen a well-meaning but completely misguided implementation of what has been the most discriminatory piece of software known today. It has set back the cause of Inclusivity by 20 years and, like lemmings, most all of us have rushed off the cliff edge in the mistaken belief that we had to adopt it.

It is the equivalent of closing down every single lift (elevator) in every single building, everywhere.

I am not exaggerating.

Imagine, if you can, just for a few minutes what life would be like in our society if the lifts stopped working. Gradually, on by one at once and they never worked again? Who would be affected?

It is just too insane to imagine.

However, this is exactly what has happened on the World Wide Web since May 2011.

Slowly, stealthily, spreading like cancer, infecting nearly every website, making life so much harder for blind people who use screen readers. All they want to do is use websites like everyone else.

If you want proof, then watch this video.

For the benefit of the visually impaired, the text on the video frame reads:

If you have a visual impairment, you will most likely use a screen reader when visiting a website.

This is what happens when you visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website when using a screen reader.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is responsible, amongst other things, for the implementation and enforcement of what is colloquially known as the Cookie Law, in the UK. Many other websites have implemented a Cookie Banner in the same way that the ICO has, working on the assumption that the ICO's website would be a good example of best practice.

Just to explain, this video is 2 minutes and 48 seconds long. During this time, someone using a screen reader would be completely unaware of the website they were on. There is no mention of the Information Commissioner's Office, not once. At the point where the video finished, there is a link to Skip to the Main Content. This allows someone to jump past all of the navigation links and actually hear what is on the home page and know whose website it is and what they do.

Would you wait 2 minutes and 48 seconds for a website to load so you could find out what it actually was?

I am not a Legal Expert but, to me, forcing a visually impaired person to wait 2 minutes and 48 seconds before having the opportunity to know which website they were on,  is a clear breach of the Equality Act. I also consider that every website that has a similar Cookie Banner is also in clear breach of the Equality Act.

This is the Law of Unintended Consequences and it needs to stop. Now. #bancookiebanners

If you want to find out more about this, please come along to one of my website accessibility workshops.

It is held on the first Wednesday of every month at 4pm, please follow this link to find out more: https://webaccess.live

Clive Loseby

Access by Design.

Beautiful, Accessible, Web Design, Chichester.

We are Changing the World, One Website at a Time.