The aim to be usable and accessible to all
Update April 2021
Obviously been many years since I moved from relying on my own coding skills to (sort of) trusting a CMS (content management system) like WordPress. I still try to keep the place as accessible as possible, especially with regard to colour and contrast, cross-browser support, and mobile platforms (smartphones etc). However, I no longer have the time to check its support for Braille readers etc, so am hoping that the underlying code is acceptable in that respect. Let me know if that’s not the case, please.
Update November 2013
Currently swapping Ackadia over from xHTML pages to a WordPress framework. As such, I am a little constrained by the developers, but WordPress has improved in leaps and bounds over the years so I’m comfortable moving over and fine-tuning as I go. See also my design statement which covers this further and touches on browser compatibility and designing with [ colourblindness ] in mind.
What’s going on!?
At the moment I am still playing with the foundations and battling to find a happy compromise. As these things are measured, Ackadia needs – and is getting – a thorough overhaul. As such don’t be surprised as the looks improve from day-to-day for the next month or so.
A few pages, like this one, the home page and others are fully accessible to ‘AAA’ and US 508 standard and the rest will be converted as fast as I can. The ‘about’ section is done, but it’s a big site.
What am I trying to do ?
As near as it possible, I am trying to create the perfect website…
By the time I am done, if you are colorblind, short-sighted and for some reason using a PDA with a tiny screen to access the web site, you will hopefully have no trouble at all!
If you are blind and using a braille or screen reader, again, you should have no unpleasant surprises.
The obvious exception is my archives. These are snapshots of Ackadia over the years and are meant to stay as ugly, dated and clumsy as they were when I wrote them. It’s a history thing.
What am I doing now
(This is is circa 2006)
Really I’m badgering away at a template. This will hold the keys to the site. It will include examples of the colours used, how they are used, how they (probably) look if the viewer is colourblind and so on.
It’s changing frequently as I play will settings, but if you want a look, the ‘work in progress’ version 6.5 template is here [ in the archives ]. I’m up around v7.11 for the template now and only minor improvements to go.
What won’t I do!?
They are limits – and mine is Netscape 4.7 and earlier browsers. Even for people with minimal hardware, there are better options!
Personally I never used to have a preference for one browser over another, but all the problems I’ve had (as a webmaster) trying to get around what many feel are Microsoft Internet Explorers deliberate, even wilful non-compliance to agreed and to de-facto standards has driven me to distraction. Now I am firmly, 100% behind the move towards Firefox.
(This since moved to Opera, with Firefox as a fallback)
In IE’s favour are the ‘save as web archive .mht’ and ‘create shortcut’, as I don’t use ‘favourites’ myself. Against it are a long list of grudges, stability, and security issues. Really, give the Firefox browser a try, you won’t be disappointed.
For the visually impaired I wholeheartedly and unequivocally say use the Opera browser. Nothing else I’ve seen comes remotely close.
Of the mainstream browsers, for the physically disabled or the blind that use access keys I strongly recommend using the Mozilla browser.
This page and all the other finished ones should pass all the Web Accessibility Initiative guidelines to ‘AAA’ standard and the US 508 guidelines.
( webxact . watchfire .com is gone now, sadly).