First, I will say that this is my 100th post. When I started blogging earlier this year, I set a personal goal of hitting 100 posts by the end of the year. I am just barely going to make it. Actually, I could have crushed my goal if I had made more time for blogging, and in 2009 I am going to set a goal of 200 more. We'll see.
Thanks to all who have been reading and commenting. I've learned a lot doing this, and I hope that you have benefited from it as well. I look forward to continuing and learning more. And please if you have questions or comments, I love to read, and respond to, them.
Accessibility and MeSo one thing that I have been touting for a long time is making accessible websites. Those that work with me will tell you that I regularly point out the importance of creating accessible sites and I even offer the occasional tip or two on making our sites more accessible. Then I shown how little I really know.
As you may have read, last week I attended the MN Government IT Symposium. The symposium had a full day of accessibility sessions. I went to all of them. They were all excellent I got an amazing amount out of them, but what really made me view accessibility differently was a presentation from Phil Kragnes.
Functional AccessibilityPhil's presentation was on "functional accessibility", and the main point, from my perspective, was that you can employ any number of little things (like alt and title elements), but if those things do not work together as a whole to make your site usable to person who needs them, then you are not making your site functionally accessible. It may pass compliance tests for WAI or Section 508 and still be inaccessible because it lacks that synergy of functional accessibility.
What really opened my eyes was Phil's demonstration of using the JAWS (Job Access With Speech) screen reading software to browse websites that were not designed with accessibility in mind. It was grueling to watch and while the presentation example was staged, I could very easily see how frustrating it could be for someone who could not simply look at the screen to see where they were to try to figure out what was going on.
So what can I do about it?Well, the first thing I can do is to make a real effort to learn more about functional accessibility and to make my sites work for as many people as I can.
But that is not good enough for me. So the next logical step is to share what I learn, through my blog and through presentations and evangelism. As I learn more, I will post about it, and I am going to try to get a good presentation together for user groups.
I would love to hear from any with experience here. Or if you don't have experience, maybe questions that you would like answers to. This is a topic that we should all be concerned about.
I would also love to hear from anyone who uses assistive technologies to "view" websites to find out what things are most frustrating and annoying.