Mutual Accessibility

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Washington Mutual Bank doesn’t quite get the concept of accessibility. They go a long way in the physical world to accommodate those with disabilities. They have talking ATMs, special checks for the visually impaired, and people who will read your financial documents to you. But their Web site is completely clueless.

They have a list of accessibility services offered by their bank — that’s where I found out about that list above. But to get to it, you need to use a JavaScript powered select box that has no submit button and opens a popup window. Their home page doesn’t include a single alt attribute for images. And to navigate to anything within their site, including to get to a search form, you have to select your state from another JavaScript-powered select box.

Chris Vance
September 1, 2003 10:21 AM

Perhaps people from Washington Mutual saw this article, and changed the Web site before I saw it, but on the home page, I only see one image without accompanying alt text - and it's a spacer in the top menu. However, I did note that many inner pages lacked alt text for images. Yes, the search feature is annoying, and I'm not sure how much the information will change between states. One thing they do do is have a blue background beneath the menu that is a fixed width. I'm viewing the site on a 1280x1024 screen, and I completely missed the search link at the top of the screen (I could see it in Lynx, but couldn't figure out where it was placed in IE). The "Your Privacy" link aligns conveniently inside the blue background, making it look like that's the last menu item. Interesting stuff.

Russ Weakley
September 2, 2003 3:16 AM

Funny that you have come across this. A story similar has just hit the Australian mainstream media: Russ

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