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Matt Bailey's Web Site Accessibility Blog Provides Compassionate Motivation  

:: Friday, June 17, 2005 ::

Despite the fact that millions of people around the globe are accessing the Internet with a disability that requires an aid of some sort, web site design courtesies for them usually take a back seat to other priorities.

I've yet to make sure my own sites meet accessibility requirements. I know what my excuses are. You know yours. I'm not here to judge or have a hissy fit on behalf of all end users struggling to use our web sites. I do, however, have a friend who writes about accessiblity in web design, and is motivated by something personal - a family member with Multiple Sclerosis. It's his enthusiasm for web site accessibility that has forced me to pay more attention. More importantly, he makes me interested in learning more about it.

I watched Matt Bailey give a presentation at the Search Engine Marketing Strategies Conference in New York City last March. He showed us what a web site sounds like to someone using a screen reader device. The web site had been optimized for search engines, and was therefore loaded with repetitive key words and phrases. Within seconds, we had first hand proof that enhancing web pages for search engine algorithms meant making them impossible for special needs visitors to use at all.

Matt, the Web Marketing Director for The Karcher Group in Canton, Ohio has launched a new blog called the Web Site Accessibility Blog.

He's broken it up into topics such as news, software, assistive technology, search engines, marketing, personal musings and more. Having myself sat down and chatted with Matt on several occasions, I can vouch for his humor and genuineness, his compassion and humbleness. He's sharing what he knows and learns, to anyone who hears the beat of the same drum.

For example, did you know that PDF's present usability and accessibility problems?

Why bother with accessibility? Matt writes, in Why Web Accessibility:
"Getting people to your website is one issue, getting people to do what you want them to do is another. In doing so, you must be sure that the site is completely accessible for all web users. Otherwise, visibility will always be a problem, as the site will not be usable for all of your visitors.

Easy to find, Visibility
Easy to use, Accessibility
Easy to understand. Usability

Isnít that what all of your web site users want? Isnít it what you want?"

So sure, there's other blogs out there, but Matt reaches farther out into the sea of humanity itself to find other sources that will motivate us to at least consider web site needs and goals beyond the obvious and typical.

See also accessiblity sites.

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 6/17/2005 01:49:00 PM

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