Visionary design awards and web trends

Dear all, hope the face-to-face meeting went well. Am happy to report 
that I attended the UK Visionary Design Awards last night. Communis won 
the special award for innovation for our attempt at a fully accessible 
(and largely multilingual) GIS site for the UK Environment Agency :-)

The Visionary Design Awards are given out to eight websites each year by 
the National Library for the Blind, awarded for "outstanding efforts in 
ensuring their content is accessible to visually impaired people". I 
think that the awards are particularly valuable to the accessible web 
design community because they are judged by users with vision 
impairments, and held both to high technical standards and judged on 
their aesthetic merits to blind and vision-impaired users.

Worth promoting on the News page of the WAI site?

I was particularly impressed with the thoughtful feedback on, for 
example, JAWS use with Flash, and the attention given to colour and 
brightness contrast. They were testing each site against the WCAG 
algorithms, using the links from the AIS accessibility toolbar.

Regarding our "trends in the industry" agenda item, I'd to bring to your 
attention one keynote speech at the awards that particularly caught my 
notice, where the speaker spoke of the cyberneticist theory that 
programmers write their body into their code. She argued that this was 
largely what had happened in the years of the web to date, when young 
as-yet-not-disabled coders wrote themselves into their work, but didn't 
write in anyone else, and that accessible developers have to write 
themselves an extended body. Interesting idea, if a little high-falutin 
for this designer. The speaker also noted her experience that designers 
are now coming to appreciate the beauty of semantics as an aesthetic 
discipline, thanks to e.g. and the latest buzz phrase 
'bulletproof design'. This can only be a good thing.



Liam McGee, Managing Director, Communis Ltd      +44 (0)1373 836 476

Received on Friday, 3 March 2006 14:39:00 UTC