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Accessible Web Design


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Simple question above, i am currently researching and learning about CSS coding and W3C compliance of websites, where you use relative (?) not fixed fonts and use this that and the other to make you able to get the badge saying your W3C compliant.

 

so the question is do you think that the designer should go out the way to make a site accessible

or should the user do it..

 

webdesigner:

takes more time, and perhaps you need to think of the audience, lets say it is a government site, all info should be to be read by anyone...

 

end user:

 

XP and OSX both allow screen magnification, high contrast and speech tags, so the user can use these if needed, a full accessible control panel is there.

 

what do you think? it's just a argument/debate that really there is no right or wrong answer and one i'd like to hear other peoples opinions on from around the board :sweatdrop:

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If you want to be a professional web designer and reach the most people without them having to play games with their browser to see your creation then it would be up to you to design the site with that in mind.

 

You can debate it until the cows come home but the bottom line is if you want to be a professional at it and you are being paid to do it then do it right.

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part of the argument i have thought is the "DDA" in the uk (disability discrimination act) means it is lawful that you must make adjustments "within reason" to cater for people with a range of disabilities.

 

first of all "within reason" is broad statment to me, just like the english law of if a intruder is in your home to defend life and property you may only use "reasonable force" there is no real 100% understanding of what this means.

 

i mean visual impairment and mobility impairment are two different cups of tea so to speak.

 

it's a political minefield trying to "please everyone" without compromising things, flash is a very grey area in terms of being accessible to all.

 

this is a law, but only one case has been brought to court and won, that being the Sydney olympics a few years back.

Edited by makaveli
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I agree with Bruce. If you are designing a site that you are getting paid for it is your responsibility to make sure anyone can view/use/enjoy it without having to change their computer settings. It would reflect badly on the company (and indirectly on the designer) if people are not able to use the site.

 

Now if you are building a personal website then you can do whatever you choose.

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You do not have to go out of your way to use relative font sizes

just use em instead of px and let the visitor have their own default size.

 

Too many designers use fixed sizes that look good on their computer and ignore that there are many ways to set up a computer display.

They are limiting their audience. Many visitors will not stick around a site that is not easy to read or won't let them change the font size to one that is easy on their eyes.

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Sometimes there is only so far you can go with accessibility. Your client wants a good looking site, you want an accessible one. Sometimes you have to meet in the middle.

 

The main problem for webdesigners these days is the fact that there are so many different screen resolutions now. There is still a good proportion of people on 800x600, most use 1024x768 but there are slightly more people using 2000x1024 than 800x600 (or is it the next resolution down? ). You have widescreen to worry about as well. It's all very well saying use proportional fonts but it is better to offer a choice of stylesheets that way you still have control over how the page looks even with larger fonts. Opera and Firefox both support the selection of stylesheets when alternatives are offered but you are best using some other system javascript, php, perl etc) to save the users choice to a cookie.

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Although I agree with Bruce about being a professional and doing things professionally, there is a limit. Sometimes people get so caught up into political correctness it's disturbing.

 

Prior to my current job I worked for a video game (via the Internet) developer and one day he threw out for discussion a concern he had that we may be sued by visually impaired people. That would be like a person with

suing Fender because he can't play the guitar. Obviously from the link it's not impossible :) but there are some things that you just can't do with certain disabilities.

 

It is especially important, though, if the site receives public monies (a government site for ex.).

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Yup. You have to do your best to make sure your site is accessible but you have to draw the line somwhere. It's the same with old browser support. I have stopped worrying about how my site looks in NS4 because you have to draw the line somewhere. But what makes me laugh is the amount of sites that are pure flash based with no HTML version. This would result in little or no search engine placement and terribly support (in my opinon) for people using text based browsers.

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If your site is flash based it's irrelevant how many CSS files you make as all the content is (usualy) stored in the swf file. Also CSS will not affect accessibility except in making text larger. Accessibility is mainly down to your code and how the page is laid out in the HTML file it's self.

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we have been told "flash is evil" for making whole sites, and i can see why.

 

i guess with accessibility at the end of the day there is no real set in stone right or wrong, your cup of tea isnt everyone elses.

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well i think when buttons are swooshing here there and everywhere and some annoying audio player ruins your music you have on media player things get bad.

 

then you have things such as flash not loading, timing out, high badnwidth, different versions, and ad blockers.

 

im getting a breif to design a accessible site over the next week i wonder how i will do!

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