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Re: accessify.com's review of RNIB relaunch

From: Isofarro <w3evangelism@faqportal.uklinux.net>
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 11:55:15 +0100
Message-ID: <004c01c33bd1$6e3b75a0$d430f7c2@laptop>
To: <tina@greytower.net>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

----- Original Message -----
From: <tina@greytower.net>
Subject: Re: accessify.com's review of RNIB relaunch

> On 25 Jun, Lauke   PH wrote:
> > Many of you may already have read this (or similar) reports,
> > but nevertheless...
> >
>   I hadn't noticed - but I've read Accessify's comments now and find
>   that whilst I agree with some of them, *my* initial reaction is one of
>   resignation.

:-(  I'm a bit disappointed and deflated. It a bit awkward advocating
accessibility built on webstandards when a publically visible accessibility
lobby like the RNIB have a website that largely ignores webstandards. I
firmly belive that web standards compliance and good HTML structure build a
very good foundation for accessibility. Maybe I am being too greedy by
expecting accessibility and webstandards to be part of the same "bandwagon".

>   Whilst the RNIB could, clearly, have gone much further in their work
>   to get a more accessible *for all* website, they have a fairly narrow
>   focus, and probably bad consultants.

I'd like to hear from the RNIB themselves - particulary in their guidance on
accessibility issues. Did they consider WCAG as a foundation and add their
expertise on top of that? Did they think Priority A is enough for
accessibility (based on the non-valid and presentational laden HTML). Is the
message supposed to be: "We don't care either way how a website is designed,
we prefer starting with tossed tag salad and adding some nice accessible

I realise I need to keep an open mind in this particular situation (my
judgement is visibly emotive rather than factual at this point - I admit),
and perhaps we (the mailing group) could consider inviting a representative
of the RNIB here to discuss their approach to their redesign, and the
message they want to deliver to UK based organisations and companies.

>   Tell me again why validation is important ?

Its just a fixed available target, and a better option than playing

I apologise if the above sounds sarcastic and borders on provocative or
derogatory. So I've opted to try something a bit more constructive:
http://www.isolani.co.uk/access/rnib/rnib.html -- although I haven't added
in any skip links and accesskeys yet, I basically wanted to see if the RNIB
design could be done using structured HTML and CSS layout, and using a
content-first approach. The skip links can be added in the same way as RNIB
have decided to do it (1pixel image as link text), although I'd probably
prefer an unordered list of links with proper link text to do the same job.

I see Simon Willison has also taken this approach:

Through the thread on this mailing list it looks like we've uncovered
another myth - that XHTML is more accessible than HTML. I'm heartened by the
excellent discussion on it, and it is clear to me it is nothing more than a
myth. Probably the a more accurate reflection is "valid and well structured
markup is generally more accessible by default than a collection of tags in
a random order."

>   There is alot of people screaming bloody murder over this whilst
>   shuffling a variety of recently used blunt instruments under the
>   carpet and into the closet.

True, though with a dynamic website there is a tendancy for pages not to
validate because of silly things like incorrect escaping of URLs - so there
is an element of risk that a page could be invalid after it was previously
valid. What matters, I guess, is how we deal with it (Notably Tim Roberts
has opted to fix the offending style - which is good).

>   To the RNIB, to Accessify, to GuyWeb, to Simon Willison: DO try to
>   sweep your own before going out to sweep others.

As always, good sensible advice. We have to live up to our ideals if we ever
expect others to do so willingly too - otherwise we a prone to end up merely
chucking accusations of "its not accessible" , "neither is yours" with no
hope of a positive and ultimately end-user-beneficial outcome.

Received on Thursday, 26 June 2003 06:53:00 UTC

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