It’s been the week of opinions. I got into it over accessiblity at SEOMoz, in Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Accessibility? but that’s nothing compared with this blog post, ONOFF: another failed redesign. It’s about a company that advertised its brand spanking new website that was redesigned to be accessible, only to be found to be horribly not so.

I never thought about it much before, but I was forced to think about things when I reacted to a simple question like “Can there be too much accessiblity?” It depends on the context the question pertains to, but certainly, as a general query, it’s got me juiced up.

I’m wondering the same thing.

Adding accessiblity enhancements is easy if all you are doing are the basics that cover issues related to sight, readability and speed. But, if a company starts wanting to meet more visitor needs, like handheld devices and screen readers, then it takes more thought and skill on the part of the web development team. To make workarounds for JavaScript and tables are one example.

Matt Bailey’s feelings about accessibility are close to mine. He wrote about it in Why Web Accessibility?. His thinking is holistic. If you can see how one method solves several problems, the difficulty in application seems worth the extra effort involved. He writes, for example:

“Ultimately, the search engines are the most handicapped of all users. Search engines cannot see or hear, they cannot pick up visual-only cues for navigation. Because of this fact, the principle of optimizing a site for the search engines also involves optimizing a web site for the greatest number of users. Web site marketing takes on a holistic approach when awareness of basic accessibility and usability principles are implemented throughout the design, content and architecture of the site.”

I have much to learn on the topic and my own sites need massive upgrades to meet accessibility standards. As a seeing impaired user myself, I at least can make something I can read, but that’s hardly enough.

I expect there are millions of beautiful people waiting for many of us to learn what we need to learn to make web sites usable for them to use. I hope they are patient people as well.

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Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101

Member:

American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)