There's a fascinating article over at Computer World about the difficulty the blind have using the Internet as web site design becomes increasingly sophisticated and image based. This is certainly enough to make me feel guilty about never bothering to fill in my ALT tags:
"It can take a while to wade through a strange site -- it can be maddening," complained Jay Leventhal, who is blind and serves as editor of AccessWorld Magazine, produced by the American Foundation for the Blind in New York. "Sometimes you find what you want to buy, but then you can't find the submit button. It seems to literally not be there. A skilled [blind] user can navigate a majority of the sites on the Web these days, but you have to master certain tricks, like jumping from header to header in order to skip over a lot of junk, and use the search function to get the information you want. An average user can struggle for a long time looking for something and will even struggle on a familiar site."
Staying offline is just as bad, with most blind computer users looking wistfully back to the days of DOS, when information was presented more simply: more textual than symbolic.
Blind users still struggle with 'maddening' computing obstacles [Computer World]