Teaching and doing digital history.

Accessibility

This week’s readings on concerns of accessibility, were eye opening.

I’ve worked in web companies for 12 years and I can tell you from personal experience that only one of my teams ever discussed issues of accessibility during the course of a brainstorm, build or launch of a major site. And that’s terrible. Now I work for a company that provides services to government contractors and as such, accessibility is more at the forefront in people’s minds. Could be because it is more at the forefront of our customer’s minds, but whatever, it’s a start.

This is one of those rare instances where it seems that the government’s Section 508 compliance mandate is more ahead of the game than private industry. I also think this is a good place for digital historians to lead the industry. As Roger mentioned, if we think of these issues at the front of a digital history project — at the very stage of the brainstorm — accessibility requirements will fit more naturally into the flow of the project. As someone who is thinking about her intensely image-heavy project, it’s something I’m thinking about.

Comments

  1. As I sort of said in my blog post, if you think of accessibility as easing design for everyone — not just a targeted group — it somehow makes it more acceptable. And, I agree, thinking about it at the beginning of a design project builds it IN to the project. Sort of like building “greening” into an architecture project. If think about it from the beginning, it just becomes part of the design — its not extra.

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