Good-bye Accessible Site Stereotypes

A bit late in reporting this, due to current workload…but:

One of the most challenging marriages is that of accessibility with style. Some erroneously think in general terms that the two are in complete opposition; meaning that an accessible site needs to be low-key and bland, and that a highly-styled site can’t very well be that accessible. This false belief is echoed mostly by the mainstream development community. Those who really know web accessibility know that the marriage, while not necessarily simple, is certainly possible. And very worthwhile if done right as it combines the best of both worlds and has the highest general appeal.

The Team Access members at the newly-launched are on a mission. They’re trying to change this thinking and push web accessibility into the mainstream by showcasing accessible websites that have managed to shrug off the “I’m accessible” look. For those that manage this, they will be rewarded with an iconic pat-on-the-back and a permanent salute honoring them for their achievement. But it goes a little deeper than that.

Unlike many “awards” organisations, has very strict criteria for submissions that is in itself a development benchmark worth reaching? then the grading begins. The Accessites grading checklist is transparent so everyone knows what is expected and what will be looked at. And due to the needs of mainstream developers and webmasters in general, many other facets of proper development will be considered as well: usability, search engine optimization, universality, standards compliance, the works. It all goes hand-in-hand in the real world.

To the general public design carries great importance. Being as such, beauty in design is as nearly as important as basic accessibility. And it is with the general public that accessibility must begin. Do you have a site or know of one that shatters the accessible-is-boring stereotype? If so, Team Access wants to see it. Please take a moment, read the criteria, and submit the perfect site.

Filed under: Accessibility
Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Monday, February 27, 2006

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