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Four Steps to Becoming an Accessibility Consultant

February 2, 2006
Step 1
Put the words “Accessibility Consultant” on your business card.
Step 2
Ok, I lied. There is only one step.
Step 3
No, really. There’s only one step.
Step 4
Look, get over it already. The simple fact is that there really is only one step.

Continue reading Four Steps to Becoming an Accessibility Consultant

Quotable: CollyLogic

April 2, 2005

I haven’t had a post in the “Quotable” category for a while, but I found a great one just today.

Simon Collison has a very good piece on how you can make your web site compatible for handheld browsing.

Outside of the fact that it is a great piece with some solid advice, one particular paragraph I found very quotable:

Serving content for handheld devices is all about compromise. Until connections are faster, all users have the same browsers and screensize, and there is better support for CSS and other markup, we'll have to make sacrifices.

I know Simon wrote this paragraph with reference to handhelds, but I can’t help but think that there are so many places and/or situations where this still applies outside of the handheld market…

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The Human Factor

November 15, 2004

I’m currently reading a book by Kim Vicente called “The Human Factor” that a colleague of mine (an ergonomist) recommended to me.

I’ll post a more thorough review of it later, but I wanted to share some nuggets I found In the first chapter. This passage really resonated with the world of the web and what we, as web professionals, do:
Continue reading The Human Factor

Quotable: On Criticism

September 14, 2004

Christian Watson has some good advice for those looking to get hired in the web industry. One particular section was very quotable. You know the drill – I take a specific quote and make it generalizable by substituting terms. In this case, remember that the context is a job interview. When I saw this, I wasn’t thinking of any specific fill in the blank terms but this advice can apply to many situations:

Don’t criticize my site. Come up with ideas about improvements you might make to the site, but don’t critique my web site unless you’re asked. Don’t start telling me what’s wrong with my web site or what you would change unless I ask you for some ideas.

You don’t know what process we have gone through to develop the site, what issues we’ve faced, who our audiences are, or the goals of our site. Developing any large web site is an exercise in organizational politics and compromise, and to critique it without knowing the history of why things were done as they were will only succeed in getting my back up. Believe me, this one is important.

Nice. Almost words to live by…

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Quotable: On Testing

August 3, 2004

As seen in 90% of All Usability Testing is Useless, two quotable paragraphs by Lane Becker.

Ninety percent of all usability testing performed on Web sites is useless. This is not to say that it doesn't have a significant role to play in user experience design. When done right, usability testing will improve your Web site and your development process, but the current culture surrounding Web site usability testing is such that it rarely benefits the design. Worse, this misapplication can undermine the acceptance of this important technique throughout an organization.

Substitute “accessibility” for “usability” in the above. Perhaps a bit controversial (given that we do a lot of web accessibility testing), but it still summarizes it nicely. Here’s the second, with the same substitution:

When viewed as a sort of quality assurance, as it classically is, usability testing becomes a late-stage "nice-to-have," less important than getting the newest version of the Web site out the door. It usually results in a thick document that outlines everything that's wrong with a Web application, including fundamental design issues that can't be fixed in the few weeks left before launch. This isn't the best way to effect positive change.

I’m sure there are others that fit well…

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Quotable: On Glass Ceilings

July 18, 2004

I’ve been finding quotes lately that I like and that have some “generalizability” about them — where I can substitute something from my own context into their quote. As an example, the following quote was adapted from Design’s Glass Ceiling by Rob Bennett. Fill in the blanks with pretty much whatever you want to fit your scenario – mine were all to do with accessibility. Users of modern browsers can hover to see Rob’s original words (sorry keyboard users, I’m working on it…)

Having spent the last six and a half years working in-house for financial services companies, I have seen many sides of the relationship between design and … management. One thing that's clear is that management sees design as a service rather than a collaborator to the business process, thus the value of design is frequently discounted. (If you are, in terms of the P&L, just an expense you're not valuable). Too often I've been told it isn't important for design to be in initial marketing project meetings with a client. Important enough for the writer to be there but not a designer? As I don't agree with this at all, I've had to push my way into these meetings and, personally, I'm a little exhausted from what's become essentially a solo effort.

Comments? Leave your own substituted words and phrases…

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