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Suddenly Accessibility Is Beautiful

March 22, 2004

The HiFi Design with CSS session generated a fair amount of shock and awe at this year’s SXSW conference. The CSS Zen Garden continues to raise awareness of the amazing possibilities that web standards present. Accessibility advocates are awed by the beauty of standards based design and simultaneously shocked that so many leading designers are citing accessibility as one of their primary goals. Suddenly accessibility is cool (and beautiful too). It’s every accessibility advocate’s dream come true, except some of us seem to be sleeping in.

Jeff Coburn at Curb Cut Learning is getting the sense that the non-profit/educational community is falling behind the corporate world when it comes to accessible web design. I would add local government to his list of laggards.

While there are now numerous examples of major corporate websites adopting web standards, there’s nothing to keep the public/non-profit sector from following suit. Web Standards are for everyone. With a bit of education, advocacy, and training, non-profits can easily reap the benefits of standards in the same way the corporate sector is.

It seems quite obvious that corporations are not adopting web standards because of some innate sense of social responsibility. Businesses are attracted to standards because of the many cost related benefits they offer. Standards offer lower cost of maintenance, ease of implementation, and better cross-platform support. It just so happens that increased accessibility is a byproduct of using the most recent technology.

Non-profits and government agencies should realize they can lower their costs and improve the quality of their websites by embracing standards and by rejecting authoring tools that mangle code. In most parts of the world non-commercial agencies are under increased pressure to do more with less. What better way to economize than to make a commitment to standards?

Has your educational, non-profit, or government agency made a commitment to standards and accessibility? If so, leave a comment telling us about your experience. And by all means, link to your site.

posted by kirkb @ 7:40 pm under
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