Thursday, January 18, 2007

Seven accessibility mistakes you don't want to make

A good discussion about accessibility and the mistakes we often make ...

"Even those of us who work hard to build accessible websites make mistakes. Some of those mistakes directly affect the accessibility of the site, others may come back to haunt us down the line. In a two-part article (Seven Accessibility Mistakes (Part 1), Seven Accessibility Mistakes (Part 2) published on Digital Web Magazine, Chris Heilmann explains some accessibility mistakes he has encountered and how Web developers can avoid them.

I recognise most of the mistakes from projects I have been involved in. Some of them are easier to avoid in future projects since it is mostly up to you and your development process. Others, however, have a lot to do with client demands and can be much harder to steer clear of.

The mistakes Chris mentions are (with my summary and comments added):

1. Believing in products without putting them to the test. When a CMS or some other tool promises to create standards-based and accessible sites, don’t believe it until you have verified it. I have plenty of experience from working with content management systems that promise those things but fail to even come close.

2. Taking too much responsibility. Don’t promise the client that the site you just built for them will remain accessible forever unless you will be the one entering all content and doing all maintenance work. Chris recommends coaching the client, which is the approach we try to use at my dayjob. It doesn’t always work, but at least we did try.

3. Planning only for the worst-case scenario. Accessibility does not mean designing HTML-only sites with only text and no images. It means starting with the basics to build a solid foundation, and then adding progressive enhancements."    (Continued via 456 Berea Street)    [Usability Resources]

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