Friday, March 17, 2006

Accessible Web Design

I have been designing websites (or trying to) for...wow...i did my first website (hand coded HTML) when i was 16...so for 8 years. And i still have loads to learn!

Anyway, there is always a point where i spend hours trying to get an image into the exact place i want it to be. Dreamweaver (in design view) doesn't seem to help at all. If you use the WYSIWYG train of thought - it's a lie! It's more WYSIWYAGN (What you see is what you almost get - nearly.) And it adds a lot of unnecessary code. However, if you try and work in code view what you see in design view is nothing like what you get in a web browser. Having said that, i have great respect for Dreamweaver. It is a very useful tool, and i would be lost without it. (Although i am not sure what i think of the Adobe/Macromedia merger/takeover!)

The point of this is that i have found the need to make web design accessible really focuses the mind and cuts out all the crap. it makes websites easier to work with and ensure that other people can work with them too - there's nothing worse than trying to crack someone elses code. The W3C have done nothing to make website accessibility accessible to web designers, well, until recently, and it can all look very daunting. Now, a new guide has been released by the Disability Rights Commission to help people who commission websites ensure they get accessible ones. The PAS (Publicly Available Specification) 78, which you have to buy, looks at user profiles, how disabled people use the web (whether house bound or colour blind) and testing methods amongst other information.

I could ramble for ages on this, but i'll leave it there for now.

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