The human element of accessibility

I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at Second Wednesday this month, and was even luckier to be given a choice of dates at which I could speak. When I found out that my fellow speaker on my chosen night, Kimberley Tew, would be speaking about accessibility, it was a no-brainer for me.

I wrote a little bit about the issue I see with our knowledge on accessibility a little while back, but what I witnessed on the night absolutely hammered home the true impact of what poorly built site can have on a person. On another human being.

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Wot I Learned from Dan Eden at Hey!Stac

As speaking now seems to be one of those things that I now do, there are some great benefits that come along with it, and for me, the biggest of those benefits is getting to hear other people giving talks.

Hey!Stac was put on by We Are Stac, with Josh Nesbitt acting as compere at The Faversham in Leeds.

Dan Eden, who was nominated for .net Magazine’s “Brilliant Newcomer of The Year” award earlier this year, was first to take the stage on the night. I initially recognised Dan from said nominations, and a quick Google later and I realised I’d already played around with one of his creations, namely Animate.css.

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What I mean by responsive design

A retweet, courtesy of Mark Asquith, popped up in my Twitter timeline regarding an article on Econsultancy titled “What do you mean by responsive design?”.

An interesting and thought provoking article, and the main point I took away was made at the very end;

There is no way we would promise to build a client ‘a website’ without defining specifics. Why then are we happy to promise to build a ‘responsive site’ while leaving the exact nature of what that means rather vague?

This is an extremely good point, and it’s one that I have been thinking about a lot over the past month or so.

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Are fixed headers a waste of space?

At this moment I’m trying to decide whether we should recommend using a sticky header for a new web project.

My immediate instinct is simply “yes”.

But is that down to personal taste? I do like the ability to jump to any part of a site, especially if I’ve scrolled down whilst reading through a long article. So yes, this is my personal taste.

For me, as much as I position myself as an expert when working on a client project, my word should not be taken for granted. Sure, I know what I’m doing, I’ve spent over 12 years doing it, but I don’t know everything. Far from it.

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What JavaScript is really for

Enhancement.

I could leave it at that, but I’d look back in the years to come and just think I was too lazy to write anything more on the subject.

I have a confession. Until this month (it’s currently June of 2013), I can hold my hand up and say I have never built a truly progressively enhanced website.

Actually, I’ll add a caveat to that; Until this month, I have never knowingly built a truly progressively enhanced website that utilised JavaScript.

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Save The Orphans

I’ve finally released my first ever jQuery plugin! \o/

It’s a very small bit of code that will prevent orphaned words on your web pages.

Now we’ve gone all responsive, and text is (virtually) no doubt the vast majority of web content from here on out, it’s the attention to detail that will make the difference when we look at our typography as a starting point.

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Typography, Context and The Desktop

As 95% of the web is typography, both content and context are king, and mobile first is the way to a more ubiquitous web, are we forgetting about the lowly old desktop?

Obviously, at this point, Responsive Web Design is in it’s infancy. We’re finding our feet and experimenting with techniques and what works across a multitude of viewports, devices and contexts.

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