¶ Sorry not some wonderful cure, but instead a few sites that might be of interest. First up is the Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Designed by Mule, it’s a really fresh approach at what a charity site can look like. And of course the nature of the site means that accessibility is very much to the fore. The site viewing widgets are an obvious point, with options for text size, contrast and layout providing configurable zoom layouts.
On this note there a couple of passages in the site accessibility statement that I would like to highlight:
The needs of low-vision users are too diverse for simple solution. No one solution, in terms of what colors to use, what type size to use, what screen layout to use, would meet the needs of all the low-vision users we worked with.
Overall, we found that, with a few very specific additions, good design practices recommended for accessibility are simply good design principles, more strenuously worded.
Two points here: low-vision users have differing requirements (hence the array of options provided) and good design is good design, whoever the primary audience is.
We do not display accessibility-standards approved badges. Tools such as Bobby do not give a complete picture of the sites accessibility in practice. A website might pass all possible validators and still provide a very bad experience. The evaluation tools are a means, rather than an end to themselves.
Our target is to meet all WAI guidelines through Level 2 priority and Section 508 guidelines, which are a subset of the former. However, we will favor good design principles over specific technical guidelines that may apply only to current technology.
Amen to that. This is very much the approach we take at Clearleft – guidelines and validators are useful tools and help ensure the basics are in place, but they can never be the final story.
And so to the photography bit, by which I mean photographs in web pages. First of all a quick pointer to a long-awaited tweak in Flickr. The photostream widget, which shows previous and next photos, will now scroll through the photostream enabling you to skip the next photo and preview the next-but-one photo, and so on. A simple addition but a clear improvement – I love the way sites like Flickr continuously tweak the interface and application, accepting that it should be a natural part of site evolution.
A similar, albeit simpler feature can be found on the @media 2006 site where a series of photos from the 2005 event are provided with a neat scroller. The bit I particularly like about this is the integration of the photo into the liquid design. Vivabit have chosen the cropping approach, with overflow:hidden applied to the paragraph containing the photo. The paragraph itself has a coloured background to maintain visual integrity on wide windows.