Many sites today make themselves inaccessible to low-vision users as they rely upon background images for core functionality. Users who prefer to browse without unnecessary imagery are also left out in the cold unless their willing to abandon high contrast or other accessible modes of browsing. Sadly this impacts not just small shops but even the web giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Yahoo.
Website design is an art with ever evolving tools, so it’s understandable that designers want to stay cutting edge. Yet doing so often leaves marginalized communities, such as those physically challenged, in the dust. While I can see just fine, I prefer to browse with high-contrast themes and modes to avoid wasted energy and eye strain. Unfortunately something as simple as searching or checking web-mail often involves reverting to bleached-white screens.
The problem most often manifests as links or buttons depend upon background images or foreground images that lack any alternative text.
Please designers, make your sites accessible without background images.