World Usability Day

It’s World Usability Day today and if you haven’t participated yet, there are plenty of events going on around the globe.

Closer to home, the Bristol Usability group is holding an event in the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol.

Common-sense should always prevail

There has been a sense of unhappiness with the W3C’s new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) among the web developer community since its release. Joe Clark made his position very clear in his ListApart article ‘To Hell with WXAG2‘, and has recently suggested an alternative to the WCAG 2.o – the WCAG Samurai Errata, which challenges the work of the W3C.

The WCAG Samurai Errata is based WCAG 1.0 but has added a series of extra guidelines and corrections to it. I sense that there is real bitterness between the Joe Clark group and the W3C, but I agree with most of the points highlighted by the former.

For developers like me who have been working on building websites for some time (in my case, since 1996), our experience and common-sense, together with the guidelines should ensure we build robust templates for our applications.

Always observe how the people in your organisation use websites, and be prepared to listen and make changes.

I also think we are forgetting that the browsers themselves have some in-built features to assist people. As a reader, I find it difficult to read very small text, but the browser gives me the option to re-size the text.

If we comply with basic web standards, the browser and assistive technology do provide plenty of features for those that need it.

As web developers, we need to understand assistive technology and use our common-sense when interpreting the guidelines.