RE: Web site design - accessibility update

From: Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) <"Popkin,>
Date: Mon May 24 2004 - 22:41:16 CDT

This is very helpful, thanks.

I'm certainly no accessibility expert, so any guidance that you can give is
appreciated. I have to admit that I'd assumed that there would be
'accessibility wizards' to verify conformance to some standards, but while
there are standards, they seem pretty vague, at least to me (I'm no expert
on the field). So if you can serve as a translator, that'd be fantastic!

In terms of your suggestions for the Drupal site,
- The upper right links should be 'pruned' I agree -- I'd plan on removing
the link to the static OVC site and the Wiki, for example, and move
'feedback' 'discussions' and 'recent' into the main navigation bar. But
since the nav bar is graphical (and I don't have the source graphics) I used
text links. I've moved them from the top to under the graphical nav bar for
now, and kinda faked them as table cells with graphic backgrounds and text
over them. For consistency, perhaps I'll make the rest of them match that;
it's not as pretty, but it's way easier to edit the nav bar as text.
- The 'site cloud' is a subset of the 'links' page. So I've hidden that

Let me know what you think. I think that the simplification is a distinct
improvement. Thanks!

- LP

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Cory
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: [voting-project] Web site design - accessibility update


It is very difficult to explain the requirements for a site to really be
blind-accessible. There is a book I bought called Building Accessible
Websites by Joe Clark which does an admirable job. The next best thing
is to download a talking web browser and run it on your site. There is
a free one (albeit not the best) at:

Things to take into account (in general) also apply to accessibility.
The 8 second rule, for example -- if you can't get the jist of a web
page in 8 seconds, it is likely for a person to move on. This follows
for blind people too. If you as a sighted person can't listen to the
web site being read and remember what was at the beginning of the home
page when you get to the end, then you can imagine the frustration for a
blind user. This is why information has to be sub categorized. Similar
to the way I stuck a bunch of related information onto the About Us
page, it is necessary to place all information relating to account
management on an account management page. The home page should be
reserved for general information about the consortium and links to
sub-categories such as the ones we currently have.

I would be excited for you to spruce up the design with some visual
flair with the drupal interface, while maintaining a simple interface.

I also want to make it clear that when I request extreme simplicity on
the site, it is not just for blind folks. As a member of the OVC
mailing list for a while now, my first look at the drupal site required
a good five minutes to take it all in. I believe that it would be best
for all if we can re-organize the information into a single column,
moving any slightly unnecessary bit of information away from the main
page. You have to be pretty brutal.

My suggestion of stuff to be moved off the main page would be:
-News stories go under news
-Site Cloud goes under Links
-Upper right corner links - Recent, Discussions, Feedback, Blog, Wiki -
are moved to appropriate areas
-One link to My Account, which could allow logins

This way the page would be clean, yet easily update-able, and the news
links and commentary could still be accessed through sublinks.


Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) wrote:

> I don't mind the work you're doing at all -- I just want to make sure
> that we get the new site pushed out the door ASAP, so that the site is
> easier to update and maintain, and we can provide capabilities like
> subscribing to email updates, participating in bulletin boards, etc.
> -- all of that is _done_ so it's just a matter of polishing and a
> round of content updating to get it swapped into use. GIven that it's
> that close, I'd like to keep people focused on getting the new site
> finished, and not invest too much time in the old site.
> As far as accessibility goes, we could make the site's default theme
> be text based, but then it'd look primitive to everyone else. I think
> we'd be better off keeping the graphics that we added a few months
> back, but making sure that we put in the right tags to keep the links
> accessible to the reading impaired. If you could make a static copy of
> the new home page and add the attributes, etc., that would make it
> properly accessible, I'll be happy to update the site templates. The
> buttons all have alt tags -- what else should we do to the site to
> make it more accessible?
> The amount of stuff on the page is driven by the amount of
> functionality presented by the site. We can turn more off, if we don't
> want that functionality.
> I like the idea of eliminating some of the graphics in the design --
> they look nice, but a few elements like the graphics mission statement
> ( and
> nav buttons make the site much harder to author. I think that we could
> author the site as a mix of graphics and text that would be almost as
> nice looking, and easier to maintain.
> Moving those pages under the 'about us' page is fine for me. Alan, you
> spec'd out the original site structure -- do you agree with this change?
> OK, feedback on your 'accessible' site:
> - My main comment is that it's visually quite primitive. That's fine
> if this is a parallel site linked to for users that want it, but I
> think that it shouldn't replace the more visually appealing design.
> Aren't there techniques to retain the nicer look but be properly
> accessible?
> - LP

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Received on Mon May 31 23:18:03 2004

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