I’m an antidote to bad gay sites

I can’t wait to call my mom and let her know. She’ll be soooo proud of her little baby.

Seriously, Joe Clark referred to Yahoo! Tech as an antidote to some of the horrible re-designs of gay-game sites. It’s a bit disjointed but appreciated.

We tried to make Yahoo! Tech as accessible as possible. User-testing with Victor Tsaran, Yahoo’s accessibility guru led us to make many small and large changes to the code. I’ve written one article about how we made our home page flash movie accessible and have two more on the way about our comparison tables and how we are displaying our ratings and reviews.

Visit www.last-child.com for my notes and articles about web design. It’s got the geeky side of me and stay on this site for the well… less geeky side. Thanks Joe for the nod and the push. Now I’ll need to get busy on publishing those other articles.

Museum Inside Information

The golden boys and girls of the Museum web site community have put together a new blog to share inside information on what it takes to present a collection online. MuseMatic is a co-ordinated effort between the Museum Computer Network and the American Association of Museum’s Media and Technology Committee. While the design of the blog won’t impress the standardista community, the informaton within should.

Museums and other non-profits have an amazing collection of misfits, psychopaths, and egotistical maniacs. But once you get beyond the marketing departments, you’ll find people who love what they do and have an earnest desire to share their collections, art, history, and culture with anyone and everyone. Museums have been leading the drive towards accessibility, online interactions, user generated content, and doing so with the tiniest of budgets.

So step behind the scenes. Go past the paintings, the skeletons, and the gift shops. Share the lessons learned by some of the largest (Getty) and smallest museums around the world.

Structure equals accessibility

I will be speaking at the Front End Engineering summit tomorrow with Nate K at Yahoo!. First off, it’s still amazing to me that I just wrote that sentence. If someone told me a year ago that I would not only be working at Yahoo, but also speaking in front of other engineers, I’d.. I’d… I don’t know what I would have thought.

We will be discussing how accessibility is tied to semantic markup in standards-based web design. It’s an obvious connection for me. Accessibility is about offering information to everyone. Semantic markup displays information in the best possible way. One doesn’t support the other, they are the same.

I will be showing some examples of UFO flash detection, using table headers, what’s involved in building an accessible form, and how to use CSS to offer great content and visual design at the same time.

This post is just a tease. I’ll write some posts about the concepts I’ve covered but can’t show the examples until we launch. It’ll be worth the wait… I promise.

Target sued for inaccessible web site

The National Federation of the Blind has filed a suit against Target stores. The Target web site fails not only basic accessibility issues, i.e. alt attributes, but also uses outdated JavaScript navigation and form actions that make it impossible for people using assistive devices to download internet-exclusive coupons and access the online pharmacy.

The NFB actually gave Target 10 months to make adjustments to their site before filing the law suit. Unfortunately, big business seems to need these shots in the arm to move in the right direction.

History of lawsuit-activated advancements

The Australian Olympic site was sued for making ticket purchases impossible online to the blind. New York sued several travel sites for their inaccessible sites. Now Target is the new “target” and perhaps this will be the straw that breaks the hobbled camel’s back.

Just Do It

It all goes back to being more than a “web designer” and thinking about how your site is going to be used by the public. Are you doing something because it “looks cool”, “is quicker”, or “is how it’s always been done”? Or are you doing something because it adds intrinsic value, better performance, expands the audience, assists the user, makes it more intuitive, …

When I add something to a web page, whether it is a link, list, table, or paragraph, I think about how it is going to be used.

Should I put a title on the link? Is the text descriptive enough? Is the list or paragraph the most appropriate structural element? Should the table have a summary? Should I use headers=”” or will scope=”col” be enough?