WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Standards


From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Sep 17, 2009 10:15AM

Hi Jane!

I like your example. I expect most of us have had experiences like this. Someone shows you a design and the thing they think is absolutely brilliant or necessary is a huge accessibility problem.

When I write about "understanding" the standards, I mean that the person should know the standards well enough to apply them within their area of expertise. A developer should know how to apply the standards within his/her discipline. A designer should know how to apply the standards within his/her discipline.

If they know it well enough to apply it, they should be able to offer some suggestions. An accessibility expert would likely to be able to offer more options though. I think most of the accessibility experts I know seem to have knowledge that spans across professions.

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of J. B-Vincent
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:36 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Standards


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