Chris Heilmann – Fencing in the habitat

How to do the right thing and get it wrong.

Making an accessible product is making a good product. Claims of accessibility compliance may not be true – ticking boxes to make the boss happy rather than improve the site for the end user.

Quick fix philosophy: old, broken, unloved product + MAGIC! = shiny, totally accessible site. These people get contracts 🙁

Don’t give old browsers script + CSS if you don’t trust what they’ll do with it. HTML should stand alone without the other two.

Selling accessibility – don’t create a habitat for disabled users. Inclusion, rather than exclusion.

Font resizing widgets – example of something that satisfies managers without improving access. Users will have font magnification set up – don’t shrink text then give them an option to make it big again.

Plugins + widgets cost development time and need maintenance budgetted in. End up unsupported and dying.

“Geeks that care” – the main driver for web sites that work. It isn’t in the spec but we do it because we care about doing a good job.

The easiest way to sell accessibility is SEO – don’t hide stuff from GoogleBot.

Phones and touch interfaces – sells the point that interfaces should be device-independent. Games consoles too – simplifying the interface = success.

Timestamped commenting on video is a potential solution for captioning – user-generated content aiding accessibility. Flickr comments too – alt text which wouldn’t exist otherwise. How do you assess quality of comments?

Technology is the solution when it comes naturally and everyone benefits. Don’t fence disabled users in a habitat.