My New Email Signature

Things I am considering adding to my work email signature:

  1. Did you clear your browser cache?
  2. Does the client need IE8 support?
  3. No, you can’t have widgets.
  4. No carousels without an exceptionally good reason.
  5. No. Just no.
  6. Web standards.

Accessibility is a constant

Congratulations on the launch of your awesome new site! Hearty handshakes and back slaps all around! You launched on time (and under budget) and have met all of your client’s business requirements, one of which was to have the site meet certain accessibility guidelines. You are feeling pretty proud of yourself right now, web gunslinger, but hold on there…are you really done?

Far too often this is where concern for accessibility ends. This is particularly true of bigger sites or applications. The problem is that during the lifetime of a website, frequent updates will be made. Features will come and go. The same can also be said of designers and developers, some of whom may not be all that familiar with the importance of accessibility. This is when the experience can quickly degrade into a nightmare for disabled users. When this begins to happen, it can then become very difficult and costly to address the issues that arise from it at a later date, so it is best to work in a strategy for success sooner. Here are three suggestions you can leverage on your own projects:

  1. Always go into each project with the right attitude! Be ever mindful of the fact that the web is for all, and that equal access to content and features is not only the right thing to provide for all, but that it will also reflect well upon your client and their brand. That’s a good thing! As stewards of your client’s brand, you want to create a positive experience for all.
  2. Work closely with your Quality Assurance team. Explain the importance of accessibility to them and work out an internal plan for frequent scans and reviews, especially if you are adding new features to a site, application or product, on a regular basis.
  3. If you have one, work accessibility scans and code reviews into your maintenance agreement. Two to three times a year should be adequate enough for many sites, but frequency will naturally depend on scope and complexity of the site or application.

Accessibility is a constant. With the right plan and attitude we can create a positive experience for all!

Pushing It Forward: The Web Turns 25

The World Wide Web turns 25 today. That is a long time, and yet, relatively speaking, it is but a drop in the bucket. The web is still in its infancy and yet it has also matured a great deal since the time many of us were first introduced to it. At its core, the web has changed very little since its inception. HTTP and HTML still rule the day and hyperlinks are as powerful a mechanism for connecting it all now, as they were in the very beginning. It has also been said that the power of the web lies in its ubiquity. A more honest statement has never been uttered. However, in my opinion, the web’s strongest and most overlooked asset has not been the technology itself, but the people behind it. The web is not only an interconnection of systems, but an interconnection of lives. Real flesh and blood lives. Anyone who has been fortunate enough to work on the web, no matter the capacity, and who has genuinely cared for its well being and future, are in fact, pioneers. This is an amazing point in our history. See what is before you here. You are a part of a grand experiment. Where it ends up is anybody’s guess, but no matter how great or small your contribution to the web has been, you, dear reader, have helped push it forward. All of us have, little by little, in our own unique and wonderful ways. This thought, more than most others I have had about the web, inspires me the most and I hope that it inspires you as well.

Thank you, Sir Tim, for this most awesome of inventions and a very happy birthday to you, information superhighway! Here is to the next 25 years!