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Accessible Website Design

Sun, Nov 1, 2009

Internet | Author:

www.websiteaccessible.com

Introduction

Website Accessible assist websites to meet website accessibility standards and offer new websites and website re-designs. My first impression of the website was quite ghastly as I find it astounding in modern web design that there is no actual “graphic design” work in the website, decease simply coding (ie, it looks like the most boring Joomla template you can find).

Form

While no doubt the author has thought well about such things as SEO, loading times and content, my interest was close to zero as the bare minimum of images and colour schemes make it look even less attractive than a get-rich-quick page. Then again, I guess you don’t need bells and whistles to get your website onto a PDA or mobile phone.

The first warning bells for the customer who wants design work done would be the lack of a distinctive logo. While it’s great to have ALL text on the website easily readable, you’d think a business advertising re-designs would pay some attention to having a memorable brand logotype.

Layout is quite acceptable and simple. I’d be quite sceptical about the design abilities of the person who created this website (although I’m not questioning their programming ability).

The navigation of Website Accessible is excellent – this is where the simplicity is useful – although I’d like to see better naming of the Policy page, which is more like a Business Objective or “Our Aim” page.

Fonts are very boring but this is not so much the author’s fault as a generic and ongoing web design problem (the lack of exciting fonts gets many designers annoyed). At least the font is a good size (web standards advocate reasonably sized fonts for older people).

I’d recommend putting some colour into the website, not just using white as a foreground and background colour. Create an exciting banner and create a logotype which compels people to look at the site. Personalise the site a bit by putting a photo of the business or the people or anything to make this site more interesting and unique.

Also, I think the “skip to content” link at the top should be deleted as it’s not very helpful.

Function

The content is reasonable and explains enough in a businesslike manner. The author explains what accessible website design means and why it is important. However, the impression I am getting is that an accessible website cannot be both accessible and exciting at the same time.

Since there are no pictures to display and nothing else to hold up the loading time, Website Accessible has a fast loading time. It meets web standards and would do well in SEO and reaching the audience intended, although hanging onto the audience might be another matter.

Coded with CSS, I was impressed by the “No WYSIWYG editors putting additional code or formatting in. Just hand coded to ensure the code is valid” statement, even though this could be said of 95% of quality websites out there. It’s not really a unique selling point. In my experience the customer doesn’t care about the how, only results.

Conclusion

I think Website Accessible need to think about what kind of business they want, as they are talented at creating accessible websites but seem to poor on appearance or personalised content. If they want to market the design/re-design they might be better off stating that they “improve communications”, “expose websites to the world” etc, as mentioning design/re-design implies a makeover of appearance as well as code and if it can confuse me it could confuse anyone!

If the intention was only to design websites for handheld devices or only to design for accessibility, not eye candy, Website Accessible has achieved that objective well enough.

WA1

fig 1. This website needs some colour!

WA2

fig 2. The logo is not eyecatching.

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