Universal Accessibility

Starting, hopefully, some time this week, I’ll be writing a three-part series on universal and accessible design.

Making web sites accessible is a matter of principle, necessity, and often law.

The first part will focus on motivation and definition. What are the goals of web design in different contexts—commercial, educational, personal? What does “accessible” or “universal” design mean today? How can we work to ensure adequate content-delivery to all users?

With a definition in hand, the second part will try to motivate a method for assessing universal design. I won’t claim to have a formal, 6σ-type process, but rather a set of goals and the language to describe both those goals and the failures I see most commonly.

The third and final part will begin to describe ways of both fixing existing sites and building universally accessible sites from the ground up and will, again, be a set of goals and language.

I have two goals with this, primarily that most competent web designers and developers will be able to implement their own processes, or tailor their existing design and development processes, to achieve what I feel is a fundamental goal: universal access to content.

Secondarily, and more specifically, non-profit, governmental, and educational web design and development is often near non-existent, and I want to set a stage for arguing that these organisations need to take their web presence as seriously as any Fortune 500 company. They need to learn from commercial sites, who, in monetizing themselves, had a much keener motivation to improve.

My goal is to finish part one by the end of this week and have it posted, with hopefully not more than a week between posts. I make no promises—I work, same as you—but that’s the plan.

Update: Still coming! I promise, I just ran into a combination of writer’s block and work.

Read the rest of the series: