Mike Davies’ thoughts on the state of accessibility (BarCamp London 2)

A thought-provoking piece by Mike Davies:

Creating an accessible web experience involves the co-ordination number of independent groups. The website builders have an important role, but they cannot cover the entire spectrum of accessibility issues. The user-agent vendors (typically browsers, but not limited to that) play an equally important role, taking accessible content and rendering it in an accessible way. They are also tasked with the responsibility of easing visitor access to content by features such as font-resizing, alternate stylesheets, colour filters, print functionality. The assistive technology provider also plays an important role, making sure that content is conveyed to the user in a way they can perceive and operate…

To that, I’d add a question: what about the responsibility of the end users? The onus also needs to be on them to know which tools are available to them and how to use them properly?

GAWDS has failed. Accessifyforum has failed. Accessites is fundamentally flawed. WCAG 2.0 is in trouble. Joe Clark’s WCAG Samurai remains as a glimmer of hope, so to is WaSP’s Accessibility Task Force. We need something that doesn’t repeat the same mistakes as GAWDS and Accessifyforum, but at the same time be open to involvement by the community, for the community

BarCamp London 2: Accessibility Panel Thoughts.

Filed under: Accessibility
Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Sunday, February 25, 2007


  1. So says Robin

    I’m interested in what Accessifyforum’s original “mission” was. Surely it can’t have failed unless it’s not lived up to an original manifesto.

    Added February 25, 2007 at 3:44 pm

  2. So says Ian Lloyd

    Accessifyforum has failed? First I knew of it.

    For those who don’t know, I don’t run/own accessifyforum - I basically let Nigel Peck partner the site with accessify.com, and to be honest, it’s massively more active than this site - they server very different purposes. But to say it’s failed, well … like the previous commenter said, how can it fail if it didn’t have a mission?

    As I see it, it has enabled *many* people to engage in some really useful conversation, and I’m sure that the end result of that is a whole lot more people creating more accessible sites through their learning. How is that a bad thing?

    Added February 26, 2007 at 12:07 am

  3. as a forum to discuss (mainly) html/css, accessifyforum has certainly been valuable . however, it has not grown into a place where accessibility is discussed, regardless of technology…a place where dialog is fostered among the many different stakeholders (content developers, user agent developers, users with disabilities) and where solutions are explored that go beyond html/css/flash/etc, beyond WCAG 1.0 or even WCAG 2.0. this makes me think of the ideas behind the tangram model http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/qa-focus/documents/briefings/briefing-101/html/
    we need to move beyond WCAG and beyond the ideal of “universal accessibility” - laudable in principle, but a pipe dream (until we get some hardcore solutions like servers with content stored in all sorts of formats and CC/PP negotiation between browser and server). i’m not talking ghetto-isation, or the old “text only version for blind users” misconceptions…but an aknowledgment that, in certain situations, it’s just not possible to provide one solution that works equally well for all audiences, even with adaptation.

    anyway, that’s what i *think* mike is getting at :)

    Added February 26, 2007 at 2:20 am

  4. [...] In a news item that I first saw at Accessify.com there is a quote taken from the original “BarCamp London 2: Accessibility Panel Thoughts” post at Mike Davies’ Isolani site. It’s a quote I don’t necessarily agree with. Before I provide it here I want to say I’m not trying to stir anything up or cause trouble, and I’m not commenting on the rest of the article (which, aside from the alleged damage caused by “universalists,” I mostly agree with), but I do want to say remarks like this bother me a bit. First I’ll provide the quotation, then I’ll explain what it is I don’t agree with and why. GAWDS has failed. Accessifyforum has failed. Accessites is fundamentally flawed. — Mike Davies [...]

    Added February 26, 2007 at 5:46 am

  5. So says Mike Cherim

    And I simply must add my two cents.

    Added February 26, 2007 at 6:18 am

  6. So says Isofarro

    Patrick, yep you’ve gotten right to the crux of the problem. Thanks, your explanation is far more lucid! (Thanks for the link to the Tangram model. Interesting)


    Added February 26, 2007 at 12:38 pm

  7. So says Kelvin

    I posted my thoughts on this subject here:


    Added March 11, 2007 at 10:16 am

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