A friend recently asked me about the accessibility of a new US government website he'd seen. He knew I'd been following the various discussions about federal government accessibility. Like others I've looked at, IT Dashboard doesn't do very well.

Who cares about accessibility? The short answer is you should. If you don't, you're not alone. A lot of people don't give a lot of thought to accessibility, but they should too. Why should you worry about accessibility? For this discussion, let's leave the legal implications out entirely, they're important too, but that's another discussion. Let's just consider your audience. Who is your audience? Do you like your audience? How would you feel if I told you I was going to take some of them away? Lack of accessibility might be doing just that.

I linked to Jim Thatcher's post Accessibility of the White House Web Site, so I thought it only fair to link to his update as well.

My most recent project at Riven Design was a brand new Drupal site for Whitecap Custom Rods. The owners of WhitecapRods.com pride themselves on building rods "with an enthusiasm for excellence". It shows in their work, and I hope it shows in their site.

My business site, RivenDesign.com, has a new look. As well as the new style, I've improved the accessibility with better skip links and a better use of headings. It also has an updated version of Drupal.

There are two good accessibility discussions going on right now, and you need to be following them. The first is Glenda Watson Hyatt's Four Parties Contribute to an Accessible Blogosphere. Glenda is pushing for more accessibility in blogging platforms and on blogs themselves. This is an idea whose time has come. Blogs by design are dynamic and adaptable. Let's adapt them toward accessibility.

I just noticed at Dries Buytaert's site that New York State Senate is using Drupal. It's now a very stylish looking Drupal site. Its' visual style is quite nice, but what lurks below the surface?

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Packt Publishing book Drupal 6 -  Social Networking by Michael Peacock.  I'm impressed. The book was well written and well organized. It starts with the basics of a Drupal installation, and quickly walks you through to the more complex configuration of a Drupal site with a social networking focus.

I wrote a quick post on the lack of accessibility of Recovery.gov back in February. Jim Thatcher has now done an in depth study of that site as he recently did with WhiteHouse.gov. As I noted before, the Recovery site is surprisingly inaccessible.

There is an alarming trend in the art and design. Not in the artists and craftsmen, but in the clients.  The trend is, an insistence on mediocrity.  It is often an attempt to make something universally appealing. I honestly don't think that's possible. Both fine art and good design can evoke emotion, often strong emotion.  You have to realize though, that they induce both positive emotional responses, and negative ones.  Some people like them very much, but others will dislike them.  The only way to eliminate this negative response group is to lower or eliminate the emotional impact.