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Re: Ironic accessibility

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 10:27:13 -0500
Message-Id: <5.1.0.14.2.20021211090258.022920b0@pop.iamdigex.net>
To: Vincent Flanders <vincent9@gte.net>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

At 05:44 AM 2002-12-11, Vincent Flanders wrote:

>Somebody submitted this as a candidate for the Daily Sucker -- 
>http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/dailysucker/. As the e-mail stated, "The 
>irony... A company advertising 'accessible web design' services in an 
>all-image page."
>
>Discuss amongst yourselves.
>
>http://www.zylex.com/Access.htm

1.  'Accessible,' doesn't mean what we think.

In the first instance, one has to realize that when this page talks
'accessible' it is using the word in its common sense - "readily grasped"
and not the code meaning we use the term for - "usable by people with
disabilities".

The good news is that anyone knew the second meaning well enough
to submit this page to the gripe collection.

As an advocacy community we should get used to the fact that we will never
own the first meaning of the term 'accessible' and that we will always
have to explain our terms before we use it by itself to mean "by people with
disabilities."  Forever.  Get over it.

2.  This page is inaccessible by any definition.

The irony here is that even taking Zylex on their own terms, they don't get it.
Zylex are hoisted on their own petard.  What they do belies what they say.
Immediately on load, without reading anything or navigating anywhere.  You
get the -NOT before the claim.  They talk the talk of effective web design, but
even as they talk they can't seem to get it together to put their own message
across.

The main title of this page, "Accessible Web Design," is quite illegible
because of the 'arty' use of the white text in a funky font overlaid on a
strongly busy image.  Theory 1, Practice 0.

Zylex are all briefed up on the buzzwords: "recognition vs. recall" etc; but
they don't understand the nuts and bolts of usable graphic communication.
The slanty question marks on "Who are we?" and "Why Zylex?" jar the eye and
break the flow of the composition.

Even the central metaphor, the symbolic value of the grapes in the
background, is broken.  Accessible means readily grasped, but the view
of the grapes is too close to the subject for one to feel they are readily
grasped.  It looks as though it would be hard to get your fingers around an
individual grape in that mass, and likewise hard to get to a stem where you
could pluck off a handfull.  A cliche association of the concept 'grapes'
supports the desired theme; but the actual visual experience presented
doesn't.  If you're not a groupie of conceptual art, you won't get the message.

The overlay on this image exquisitely portrays the predicament of designers
who have Heard the Word but haven't grasped it.  Wry justice!

3.  But the example is tired, not worth special mention.

I wouldn't take this submission for the sucker of the day.  This level
of incompetence is, in today's world, commonplace. YetAnother SameOld.  It
is just not exceptional enough to be an eye opener for your visitors, or
unexpected enough to bring those who spend a moment with it back to your "of
the day" service for another hit later.

Their "optimize the user experience" accessibility is on a par with their
"for people with disabilities" accessibility -- missing when needed.  But not
in any entertaining way.  Their dismal achievement level is merely dismal, not
attaining the poignancy to make it cathartic.  So pass on this one.

Al

>Vincent Flanders
>
>Order "Son of Web Pages That Suck" at 
>http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0782140203/ref%3Dnosim/vincentflanders/
>
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 11 December 2002 10:22:17 GMT

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