web design

Recovery.gov Revisited

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. I'll let you read Mr. Thatcher's evaluation yourself, but I think there is one feature on recovery.gov that really shows how low a priority accessibility is on this site.

Insist on Mediocrity!

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.

Jim Thatcher and WhiteHouse.gov

Jim Thatcher has written what I hope will be the first of a series on the Accessibility of the White House Web Site. About a month ago I wrote a quick accessibility note about the new recovery.gov site. A pretty site, but not particularly accessible. As I summed it up then, "I see this site as a wonderful opportunity...

9 Reasons Why Accessibility Matters

Why does making your site accessible matter? First let’s give a definition of accessibility, I like Jim Thatcher’s best. “Basically, technology is accessible if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without.”

The reason for acessibility

Celebrating a Newly Discovered Ability

Also, because this event was on accessibility, I needed my presentation to be ultra accessible. I needed a way to caption the presentation for those participants who were Deaf and hard of hearing. A transcript would be provided for those who were deaf-blind.

Accessible Recovery?

I was asked by a friend to take a look at recovery.gov yesterday. To be honest, I was disappointed. While it is a pretty site, it isn't nearly as accessible as it should be.


Here's a few things that I see that should really be fixed.

Internet Explorer 8, or is it 7?

More bad news from Microsoft. Despite the uproar caused when they originally suggested making developers opt in, to get standards compliance mode in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) they've now quietly returned to this unwise strategy. So developers are now back where we were a year ago, before Microsoft backed away from this plan. It seems we're being reprimanded for not making all of our sites compatible with a browser that hasn't been officially released yet. Why didn't I fix my sites for IE8 Beta?

WCAG 2 - Unofficial Executive Summary

The City University Web Team has produced what they call an executive summary of the WCAG 2.0 in less than 100,000 words. It's a very well done summation of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 that is significantly under 100,000 words. That's more than I can say about the original, which at least feels much longer than that.

Visible or Invisible Links

Website's in general, and blogs in particular, are all about links. Sending people where you want, to content that they want. Are your links easy to find? How about if your site was viewed by someone colorblind or partially sighted?

Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" the functionality, and possible benefit, of some system or entity. - Wikipedia


I finally installed IE8. It's time to starting making sure all my sites working in IE8 before it comes out this spring. I'm using Internet Explorer Collections to run Internet Explorer versions 5.5, 6, 7, and 8. Internet Explorer 5.5 isn't really necessary I suppose, but I was curious how it stacked up. It's doing about the same as Internet Explorer 6 in my testing. Internet Explorer 8 isn't as bad as I'd feared, but it's not as good as I'd hoped either.