WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Standards


From: J. B-Vincent
Date: Sep 17, 2009 8:35AM


If all websites used a single design template, then accessibility would be a far simpler matter. However, and fortunately, web designers have free rein to create pages that meet their needs or the needs of their clients. This means that there may be some perfectly legitimate features that conflict with accessibility, resulting in conflicts that cannot be addressed by a fixed set of standards.

A simple example: Let's say that a business is strongly associated with the colors spring green and yellow, and decides they want a website that uses yellow text on a spring green background. By any accessibility criteria (and most aesthetic criteria), this combination is a disaster, but the business powers-that-be feel that the colors are an important part of their branding, message, etc. Someone skilled in accessibility should be able to not only identify standards issues, but also be able to ask questions that can lead to making useful suggestions about situation-driven compromises: e.g., could the hues be modified for more contrast? could the color combination be restricted to the logo? could there be a prominent high-contrast link that allows the user to control page colors?

--Jane Vincent, Center for Accessible Technology

--- On Thu, 9/17/09, Tim Harshbarger < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

From: Tim Harshbarger < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: [WebAIM] Standards
To: "WebAIM Discussion List" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Date: Thursday, September 17, 2009, 5:57 AM

I am uncertain I understand this comment.

"Standards and guidelines *CANNOT* assure or guarantee accessibility.
They do not claim to do so. It is impossible for them to do so. Their
purpose is to help well-intended developers in learning about
accessibility and defining some measure (and admittedly a very minimal
measure) of accessibility."

If standards define a minimal level of accessibility, then I would assume a web site or application that conforms to that definition would be accessible--at least, at that minimal level.  Or am I missing something? Which is always a definite possibility.

My viewpoint is that if you understand and conform to the standards, you should be able to create a *passable* user experience.

I think what differentiates accessibility experts from others is that they possess the knowledge and skill to create an accessible user interface that provides a *great* user experience.  I think that is because they focus on the people more than the standards.