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GAWDS Comments on WAI Web Site Redesign Development

From: Liam McGee <liam.mcgee@communis.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 15:25:20 +0100
To: <wai-site-comments@w3.org>
Cc: "Jim Byrne" <jim@glasgowwestend.co.uk>, "Andrew Arch" <andrew.arch@nils.org.au>
Message-ID: <PIEFKAOBOKGKLCGFFGKLGEDBCJAA.liam.mcgee@communis.co.uk>

Dear team, thanks for the invitation to comment. I now have my GAWDS hat on
and not my EOWG hat.

GAWDS Comments on WAI Web Site Redesign Development

Some enthusiastic posting to the GAWDS list regarding the new WAI site
redesign. Below is an overview of the range of responses.

Concern was expressed regarding choice of screen font. It was felt that Gill
was harder to read on screen than specifically screen-optimised fonts, and
it appeared italicised/emphasised to one commentator.

Visual design was criticised by several commentators. The site was seen to
be very text-heavy, with little use made of visual imagery. There was a
feeling that the design team may have been from a largely technical
background, rather than graphic/visual design background.
"...The priority is always functionality  - first, second and third with
visual appeal being seen as either a bit of frippery (nice to have but not
actually that important) or, sometimes, downright unwanted. As a result,
[these kind of] sites tend be highly conservative and very slow to change in
terms of design..."
It was the general consensus that that insufficient time was being given to
visual design aspects.

Suggestions were made to make the W3C site reskinnable -- with W3C's
blessing -- as at www.csszengarden.com.

Suggestions were made that a visually rich design should be available for
high-end browsers, with a simpler stylesheet being passed to elderly or
simpler browsers. w3mix.web-graphics.com/ was referenced for some examples,
although the group response to the visual standard of winning designs was

Some concerns were expressed regarding the present usability of the site's
menu-based navigation, and that things were difficult to find.
"...The site is not organised with categories of users in mind but purely
with the technologies so you need to know what you are looking for before
you get there. And even then it's difficult!"
"...The information presented is very thorough, however the site generally
gives it to you full in the face- there's little 'soft' information that
gives you an understanding of the context of what you're reading..."

Search-based navigation, however, received a thumbs-up.
"...The search function on the W3C site has never really failed me.  Given
the volume of information archived at W3C, I find it quite good..."

Posters intimated that GAWDS designers would be happy to offer their skills
if this were of interest to the W3C.

Many thanks for the opportunity to comment.

GAWDS is a world-wide association of organisations and accessible web
designers and developers - designed to both promote and protect standards -
not technical standards - but accessible design standards.
GAWDS: Promoting a vision of the future that assumes accessible web design
to be, relevant, obtainable, and not at odds with successful business
practice or good visual and usable design. www.gawds.org
Received on Tuesday, 5 July 2005 14:25:31 UTC

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