I am taking a class on the issues of designing software/websites for the disabled. It is very informative so far. It seems that many businesses are ignoring this at their peril. While one case was dismissed two years ago (Southwest Airlines), another went against the organization (Marta), and several more were settled out of court for nominal sums. Well nominal in the sense that they could have spent that money upfront on accessibility and avoided the negative publicity.
I myself have long been a fan of putting site nav on the left side, but it seems that screen readers read your laundry list of links every time a page loads… which sucks for the visually impaired. Of course, you can use style sheets and have it on the left visually, but sequentially be after the main content. That may not always work though, depending on the complexity of your layout. One of my reasons for picking wordpress is that it uses an all css design. So I hope that if anyone visually challenged, comes to this blog, they will find it less annoying than other sites they might have to visit. Which is not to say you won’t be annoyed by my thoughts in text, just the site will be less annoying. Having said that, I am thinking of changing the calendar to be a vertical arrangement so that it will be less of a challenge navigating with a screen reader.
Final Paper [pdf file 165k]