What to do with Accessify?

I’ve been thinking about what to write in this post - or even whether to write it at all - for a long time. Bottom line is that I’m struggling to put Accessify to its best use and I’m after some ideas about what I can do to sort this out.

A few months ago I finally finished a redesign. That redesign (and rebuild) had been in the making for months itself and I thought that once it went live, with a new site structure and some new enthusiasm that the site may perk up a bit. Unfortunately, the problem I still have is finding the time to put in for it.

Unlike a lot of my peers in the accessibility world, I don’t spend an awful lot of my working time dealing with accessibility issues; it’s still very much a fringe issue during my day job. As such, I’m a bit out of the loop on the topic. When accessibility news comes in during the day, numerous other people will report it while I’m lucky if I even have Twitter switched on! In short - I miss lots of news and am left to simply repeat/re-tweet/re-hash or instead not bother because by the time I get to do anything with it, it’s hardly news. And in my free time … well, after my working day, I don’t spend the evening hours keeping up-to-date with ‘what’s hot’ in the world of accessibility! Life takes over (wife, dog, cooking, DIY, car maintenance etc) and I find that come 11pm all enthusiasm for doing something on this site has gone.

I had big ideas when I re-launched. I was going to do a range of video tutorials but it’s not happened:

  • I was going to blog more (insert canned laughter here).
  • I even had a Wiki on the sidelines, and totally reskinned it to fit in with the rest of the site. It really looks the part, but it’s not gone live because I realise that if I can’t keep on top of the ‘normal’ site, how the heck can I monitor Wiki activity?

So, what do I do? Things I’ve considered include:

  • Sell Accessify on. There’s no ads on here (apart from those to my own books), so it’s not a revenue generator, but it could be worth something to someone
  • Give it away to someone who I know will look after it
  • Just leave it as-is, not worry about it. After all, does it really matter? In the grand scheme of things, should I be losing sleep over it?

Letting the site go seems drastic and, to some extent, wrong. This is the site I’ve had for the longest, it’s what I’m known for and back in the day (2002) it was one of only a handful out there doing its part to promote accessibility. But if I let it go, it’s a bit like giving away my baby, albeit a baby I have neglected for some time!

I would like to see some activity on the site again. In the past I’ve asked if anyone would like to contribute, but that’s never really worked out as the people I have asked already have their own thing going. Perhaps I’ve asked the wrong people (in terms of their desire to contibute); I certainly know that they’ve been the right people in terms of their knowledge/capability!

So, folks, what should I do? Is there a way I can give the site a kick-start again be allowing others to pitch in? Would anyone be willing to help get the Wiki off the ground? If you have ideas, or would like to contribute, please add a comment here. It would be great to see some activity on the site again, but I just have to admit that I can’t give it the full level of attention that I’d truly like to.

Filed under: Uncategorized
Posted by Ian on Friday, June 12, 2009

16 Comments

  1. So says herko

    Ian, this is the eternal problem with many websites, including blogs like this one. There’s ideas aplenty, and a general enthusiasm to make it happen, but actually devoting time and energy to produce the content necessary, that’s something else.

    When I first read this post I thought ‘is there something I can do to make accessify.com better?’, and then realised that I most likely face the same challenge you describe, and an even bigger one, where I am starting from nearly the beginning in my accessibility learning curve.

    So here’s an option: don’t feel guilty anymore about not being able to put more time into this site. It has a lot of useful content as it is, which is valuable in itself. Put up a disclaimer stating the status of the site, and put up some links to sites you think your visitors will most likely get up-to-date information on accessibility. That’d cover providing the current content, as well as helping your users find the latest info.

    And maybe, in the future, you will find it necessary and possible to work on this site again, or someone else will pop up and offer you the solution.

    Added June 12, 2009 at 11:39 am

  2. So says chris Jangelov

    Add to that disclaimer that high quality articles will be reviewed and considered for inclusion.

    Added June 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm

  3. So says John Cashmore

    If the site supports it why not allow some new authors on board? I sure theres plenty of people out their following the goings on, that would be willing to help the site tick over.

    Added June 12, 2009 at 1:39 pm

  4. So says Seb Crump

    Open it up to others in the community with wiki and peer review for articles/tools to be added to the main site. This should mean less for you to have to directly keep track of, builds the content and reputation of the site and those involved in the accessibility world.

    Added June 12, 2009 at 2:19 pm

  5. So says Rob Yonaitis

    I like the idea of real reviews where no form of compensation is taken. In many cases reviews are based on

    1. Advertising Revenue
    2. Pay for services (Consulting) then you get a mention

    I think a community review process would be a good thing if it was open to review itself and transparency. This is definately needed.

    Added June 12, 2009 at 3:58 pm

  6. So says Joe Clark

    Give away or sell. But do it for real: Have a big permalinked announcement that Zeldman et al. can link to.

    Yours is merely part of the natural life cycle of personal Web sites, which is really what this is.

    Added June 12, 2009 at 9:18 pm

  7. So says Kevin

    You may think the accessibility stuff is old news by the time it reaches you, but I come to your site specifically to get amore aggregate view on the topic. I have always believed what you wrote about was important. There is too much noise on the Internet to pay attention to everything, which is why your republishing of news is all right in my book.

    Added June 13, 2009 at 1:14 pm

  8. So says Angie

    I agree with Kevin. I read only one other blog on accessibility and with dozens of other blogs to read on various topics, searching for other accessibility blogs is not what I’d like to do. :) So, rehashing or repostin is a-okay by me. Plus, you will certainly bring your own perspective to it which is unique in and if itself. So I say keep it going and take the pressure off yourself.

    Added June 16, 2009 at 5:12 am

  9. So says Karen

    There are over 6 billion people on this planet. Even though they don’t have access to computers, no one blog can reach them even a fraction of computer users. Those users don’t perceive information the same way. We need many, and different, messengers to spread the news about accessibility.

    Here’s my perspective.

    I don’t have the privilege of working on accessibility-related issues in my day job. I pipe up when I can, but accessibility is more of a hobby. I am not a developer and I am not at the forefront of the coding battles to make information universally accessible. All I do is share information, either through http://www.stc-access.org where I blog with the wonderful Web Diva (who does know a whole lotta good stuff about accessibility) on issue related to accessibility from the technical communicator’s perspective, or through real-life situations where I gently evangelise about the topic.

    I thought I couldn’t contribute to the accessibility discussions in general, simply because I wasn’t qualified with fine diplomas. However, I can share information. If, by sharing information, I can help open even one person’s mind to the beauty of universal access, that is one person, who can then do the same to the next person they meet.

    We need you, Ian. We need every one of us to dig away at the barriers that prevent accessibility to all. You don’t have to do this 24-hours-a-day. Bit by bit is good enough, and good enough is perfect!

    Does this help?

    All the best!

    Added July 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm

  10. So says Jon Gibbins

    I can completely sympathise with your situation, Ian. The last few months have been so busy, I haven’t had time for anything much accessibility related. It’s been rare for me to have Twitter, IRC, etc. open. I’ve not been on Accessify Forum for months. I don’t keep track of mailing lists. I don’t read my blog feeds (but if I did, Accessify has always been one I pop open first). I’ve hardly blogged or experimented with things either. I think this has happened to many of us who have been keeping our eyes on the accessibility world for so long. Accessibility is more widely known (although still misunderstood!) and with Twitter taking flight, there’s lots of talk every day. It’s too much for one person to keep on top of, especially when it’s not your main work focus, but one of your hobbies really.

    Added July 6, 2009 at 9:54 am

  11. So says Cliff Tyllick

    Ian, I’ve been focusing on accessibility as much of my day job for over a year, and I just now found your site. On it I see a wealth of tools that are useful right now and will remain useful for quite some time. I want to point Web developers who work with me to those tools. I’m with those who say that what you have done so far is good enough, and you shouldn’t make any major changes right now. Give it time to see if others can contribute… perhaps a few of us who really do spend time trying to teach others how to make information accessible. And thanks for your dedication to this cause. I would buy one of your books, but it seems that I already have each one of them. They have been a huge help!

    Added July 7, 2009 at 7:35 pm

  12. Do not forget: Mountains never meet, people again and again.
    Greetings from Germany.

    Added July 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm

  13. So says Norm

    Don’t give up. There is hope. This is one of my most popular bookmarks. Please don’t go! May I use your articles on a new site that I am developing? I plan to offer remediation services online. I am also setting up an affiliate program so we can share the revenue. If interested please email me. Thanks!

    Added August 17, 2009 at 7:53 pm

  14. I use to read articles in newspapers but now as I am an Internet user so from now I use it for posts, thanks to Web!

    Added December 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

  15. Everthing was too easy previously, however right now it is practically impossible.

    Added December 9, 2013 at 2:17 am

  16. So says Kaylene

    Touches. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the amazing spirit.

    Added December 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm

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