Latest Accessibility News on Accessify

Hello, Accessify!

Accessify has finally found a new owner!

There’s a lot of work to be done, and a lot of catching up to do in order to make up for the last few slow years, but Accessify is in the good hands now. Keep an eye out for site news and further updates, and let’s keep Accessify going.

Filed under: Announcements, Site Admin
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bye bye, Accessify

Well, it’s been a whole year since my last post on this site and the one previous to that was in the middle of 2009, in which I was pondering what to do with this site. Not exactly been prolific, have I? That’s gotta tell me something …

Now that it’s a new year and everyone is in the habit of making resolutions, I’ve made one regarding this site - it’s time to wave it goodbye.

When I started Accessify, I did it because there was, at the time, very little in the way of easy-to-understand information about web accessibility online. Sure, there was the official W3C stuff, but I could count on one hand the number of sites that really spoke to me as a developer who wanted to do things right but didn’t want to wade through reams of academic papers. I used this site primarily as a way of hosting the range of accessibility tools that I had created.

Things have moved on a lot since then. There are now numerous resources out there for accessibility, and pretty much all of them are being updated more frequently than I do this site. The reasons for this? There are two, really:

  1. I don’t find the time to do it justice. I’m working on the web during the day, but at the end of the day I don’t have a burning desire to spend my free time working on this site. If I were freelance/running my own business, I might feel it more important to keep this ticking over as a self-promotional thing. But really, it’s just not high on my list of priorities.
  2. I don’t really feel as passionate about the topic as I used to. That doesn’t mean it’s not an important topic, but I just can’t keep on top of the developments in the area to be able to contribute as I did back in the early days.

So, I’ve decided to sell up.

At the end of the day it’s just a domain. But it’s a domain with a great name for anyone working in this area of the web. And it’s also a domain with a few years behind it and a decent amount of incoming links (at one point, a few years back, it managed a Google Page Rank of 9!).

It’s just for sale, NOT, which is owned and run separately from this domain. I also registered the Twitter name accessify (which has barely been used, especially in recent times), so I’d hand over ownership/passwords to that too.

Ideally, I’d like to sell it to someone who can breath life back in to the site and, as much as possible, keep the content intact. The blog posts and articles are dusty as heck, though, so even if it’s just the tools that remain, that would be good. But if there’s a buyer out there who wants to completely change it and just wants the domain, I might decide to re-home the tools at a different domain and ditch the rest. It really depends on what interest I get in this.

I’m not in a hurry to sell it - I’d rather wait until a good offer comes my way. We’ve all got bills to pay, after all; I’m no different.

So, if you’re interested in this or know someone else who might be, please drop me a line using the contact form

Filed under: Site Admin
Comments (13) Posted by Ian on Tuesday, January 4, 2011

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: Announcements, Site Admin
Comments (16) Posted by Ian on Friday, June 12, 2009

Spam emails from Accessifyforum?

If anyone is receiving spam emails notifying about private messages, please note that this is not something that I can help you with. is my site, but is owned/maintained by Nigel Peck, which he set up using that URL/name with my blessing way back in the days (it’s more of a partnership link arrangement). If you are getting these spam emails or are having any other problems related to accessifyforum, please contact Nigel directly. If that contact link doesn’t work for you, please drop me a line and I’ll find another contact point for him.

Filed under: Site Admin
Comments (1) Posted by Ian on Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Accessifying for iPhone

One of the things I wanted to do with the rebuild and restyle with Accessify was to make it a little more slimline in terms of HTTP requests (in other words, fewer requests for style sheets that are not needed - one CSS file to do the lot) yet still support other devices. I have to confess that while there is just one CSS file (which has a far future expires cache setting on it so as not to cause needless reloads), which does include screen and print styles, I’ve only really taken care of the mobile display on the iPhone, mainly because that’s what I use and have found easy to test on!

I saw this article regarding style sheets for mobiles today (thanks to Brucey and Twitter) and it prompted me to share some of the tweaks that I did for iPhone friendliness. The key thing was not to massively redesign the site’s look and feel for a specific device, but rather give certain elements a notch up or down in size to make them usable for those small pointing devices that you and I know as fingers. So, for those interested in doing something similar, here are a few notes and doodles

A bit about the CSS

I’ve not implemented the suggestions in the article linked to above (I only discovered the link), but will almost certainly revise my approach accordingly. I did, however, use the media type using the max-width property to pass iPhone-specific style overrides to that device:

@media screen and (max-device-width: 480px)
	#primarynavigation {font-size:3em;}
	#blog_search {display:none;}
	etc etc

The effect on the design

The thumbnails below link through to larger, annotated images (PNG) format, showing how subtle changes to font size can make the site much more readable/usable on a small screen device but without ditching the entire style sheet. Depending on the style of your site some of this may be easily do-able, some of it may not. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Simplified search area and larger body copy

The search area on Accessify was simplified for iPhone and pared back to its bare minimum. Likewise the tiny syndication links (to Twitter et al) were removed also. Some might argue that this is wrong as I’m hiding functionality, but it’s not critical functionality (in my opinion). Also, the body font size is boosted for easier readability:

Firefox view of search area iPhone view of search area

Footer categories - font size boost

At the end of the news page is the list of Wordpress-generated categories and archives. These were almost unusable on the iPhone without first zooming in and then making use of the world’s tiniest finger, so it was time for another font size increase:

Firefox view of footer categories iPhone view of footer categories

Not just accessify …

I’ve also been trying my best to apply the same treatment to other sites that I have ticking over, for example the book support site (which has been around for a couple of years now). I recently updated that a little and found that while it generally rendered OK, it could also benefit from some font size boosts. In particular, the tab navigation elements which work fine on a normal desktop browser were somewhat lacking. For the iPhone I opted to change these tabs to buttons that sit like a small stack of (rounded-off) bricks. Once again, a subtle change but just enough to make it more iPhone-friendly:

Firefox view of tabs iPhone view of tabs (rejigged as buttons)

So, like I said earlier, nothing too earth shattering here - just an exercise in giving your style sheets just the slightest of tickles to make the site markedly easier to read on a small screen device but without resorting to a completely different style sheet or no style whatsoever.

Now, I need to go back and read that article and see what I cab do for other handheld devices. If anyone can point me in the direction of some emulators that I can run on my Mac, I’d really appreciate it!

Filed under: CSS, Site Admin, Techniques
Comments (3) Posted by Ian on Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Agggh! RSS was MIA!

Just a quick question, when will the RSS feed be back up and running i am getting a 404 when i try to access it?

So said the email I received today.

Oh bother.

So, it looks like this has been down ever since I relaunched the site. I guess it makes sense that I hadn’t got any feedback from long-time RSS subscribers!

Anyway, the feeds can now be found here:

I’ll put in an automatic redirect very shortly. For now, though, please reset your news feed (if you already have one). Thanks!

Filed under: Site Admin
Comments (2) Posted by Ian on Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Best search solution for Accessify?

OK, a little request for ideas here. As mentioned in the previous post from me, I’ve gone and migrated all posts to WordPress. There’s still some work to do (a lot of older posts are mis-titled) but one thing that I’d like to change at this time is the way search works.

For a long time, this site relied on Atomz but the results were frankly rubbish. So I’ve changed it to a scoped Google search for the time being.

Wordpress is database-driven so it would be easy to use that search facility, but it would only be searching against the news posts, not the rest of the site which is not database-driven.

Ideally, I guess what I’m after doesn’t exist - a method for searching database-driven content in Wordpress and also searching the static pages on the server. Am I right in this assumption (in which case I’d be as well to stick with the simple scoped Google search)?

If you have flashes of insight to offer on this topic, please do add a comment below. Thanks!

Filed under: Site Admin
Comments (9) Posted by Ian on Sunday, July 2, 2006

Changing publishing systems - Anything weird happening?

I’ve just ‘flicked the switch’ and this site is now WordPress-powered. If you spot any funnies related to the change-over, please drop me a line. Note: no posts have been categorised yet - that’ll happpen in good time.

Filed under: Site Admin
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Friday, June 30, 2006