Visions & Afterthoughts
The web is for everyone
Thursday, August 9, 2007
It has been a long time between posts. But there are simply no much to say than what I have been sharing on my Blue Dot... until now.
We have had...
"This page best viewed in? & "Your browser is not compatible and must be upgraded?
And now this?!
"This site is for iPhone users only."
STOP IT. Stop it right now.
This is exactly what most of us have been thinking about. The separation of the web as it was intended is slowly but surely being divided, carved up and segragated based on the excuse of delivery the best experience to the user. How do we know if that is their best experience? Worst is when these intentions become road blocks that stop user access to the content, regardless of how bad the layout looks, increase of security risks, or whatever the reasons. Users without conforming with right browser or device loses out. Choice loses out. Period.
A List Apart Web Survey
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Anyway, I think its a good idea to take a snap-shot of the web design industry annually. Then we can compare how as an industry have progressed through time.
Old design vs. new design
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Sprae.com's current design is over 2 years old and the on-going question in my head have always been whether or not I need to refresh it. God knows how many times I have mention that in previous blogs. The current design is still working well and does not look outdated. Do I redesign for the sake of refreshing?
I think it is silly to redesign just for a refresh. It lacks the purpose required to do a good design and may make it worse if the new design does not provide real improvements. I have had a few new concepts, but the issue comes whether they are actually any better than the current is questionable. Sure, I could move it into Wordpress or similar blog engines adding new blog features and web mash-ups. But what does it provide my users that most other blogs don't and if they even need it?
I need to go back to the drawing board, research and brain storm the real requirements I need to redesign. At this stage, the current design is adequate until I design and develop something better.
Accessibility is for everyone
Friday, March 2, 2007
Joe Clark has highlighted a new research paper demonstrating that a Web site that meets accessibility guidelines is more usable by non-disabled people.The Benefit of Accessible Design for Able-Bodied Users of the World Wide Web is an excellent source of research to back up what we have been saying all along.
...this study shows that accessible design, as with other implementations of universal design, also benefits able-bodied users of a web site when visiting via a sub-optimal browser. As an added benefit, accessible web design accommodates the needs of those with functional limitations, brought about by disability or by the processes of normal aging.
Since this increased usability comes at minimal cost, this study provides strong support for businesses creating accessible web sites As able-bodied users increase their access to the web through their cell phones, or through web-reader services, the importance of designing sites for these sub-optimal delivery channels increases, and accessible design provides guidelines for such methods of delivery of web content.
If you develop your Web project requirement to meet accessible needs, usability will automatically increase as default. The design process (IA and UI) will be much easier and faster to achieve high usability standards. If you are user-centric (targeted or broad) then you have the responsibility to make it accessible, and there is nothing more user-centric than the Internet.
How I got into Web accessibility
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I started out in Web design and development in 1998 coming from a advertising design background. Back then, there were no standards, no accessibility and much less usability requirements compared to the present. Everyone did everything in Web start-ups, from design to development, from marketing to project management. Testing was more or less a quick and light process purely on development and seldom on UI. Those were the boom days before the Web bust.
For me standards and accessibility really got started when CSS1 came out. I started to read W3C articles and budding but growing list of Web blogs like Zeldman, A List Apart, Molly, and so on. I was more interested in working towards table-less design layouts. I had started to work with a few clients, government departments and non-profit organisations with accessible requirements. I remembered back then I was not convinced by all the requirements (which felt more like restrictions) set by BOBBY, and to a lesser extend W3C standards. It did not make sense to me yet.
But the biggest-accessible-kick-in-the-head (or Zen moment) that knock me to my senses was seeing a blind user interacting on the Web. It blew my mind that visually challenged users are just as web savvy as the rest of us, but were clearly being restricted to how the Web was design and developed. From then on I started seeing more and more disabled users accessing the Web in various ways. It still amazes me now.
In Web Essentials 2004 (now Web Directions), more enlightening 'truths' were revealed in the responsibilities we have for all Web users. The standards are there to assist user, not restricting designers and developers. I have to thank John Allsopp, Maxine, Russ Weakley, and great presenters like Dave Shae (CSS Zen Garden), Doug Bowman and Joe Clark. They made me think. Professionally, I felt more responsible to Web users. Personally, I felt regret on the way I had disregarded Web users, disabled or otherwise.
Now I am grateful to be in a position where I set accessible standards, design and develop UI based on usability and user testing. I hope to continually improve and increase my contribution to accessibility in the future.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I don't normally blog my personal life here on Sprae.com but I think this is a special occasion. For those of you who have known me would also know that me and Katrina have been together for nearly four years. As of Saturday, 3rd of February 2007, I have proposed to Katrina and we are now engaged. It is with great joy that I share this with you and I hope you may attend our wedding in the near future.
Normal service will resume as soon as I am back down on earth.
I have been iMac'ed... all 24“ of it
Sunday, January 7, 2007
I have made the big step and got my self a spanking new 24-inch iMac a few days ago. In fact I ordered in a few weeks back and had some custom additions (2gb RAM, better CPU & video card). It was all worth it as this is the fastest Mac I have used to date. I'm sure the Mac Pro are probably way faster but this will do me great for a few years atleast.
The main reason I got the iMac was the replacement of my Windows desktop (4-years old custom AMD PC). Bootcamp made the decision easier and now I have both OS set up. It is great to have more desk space and test web developments in both environment. I'd recommend anyone with thoughts of going all Macs to do it. I have and I feel much better, heck my study looks much clean without all the clutter to say the least.