practice what you preach

Practice what you preach

This post has been through several revisions whilst I temper my anger!

A common e-mail from myself to some of the people that I have helped build web sites starts something like this....

"Very disappointed!!! I spent ages making your web site accessible to all. I spent ages showing you why it was important to make your web site accessible. I showed you web sites that didn't have any alt tags for images and how unusable that made your site. I showed you how easy it was to at the very minimum give an image an alt tag. And what do you do as soon as my back is turned...."

If this web site was promoting a commenting extension for Joomla and I wasn't using it myself what kind of message does that give to you.

If this web site advocates that accessibility=usability but didn't follow some of the basic rules of accessibility such as valid css, valid html and meaningful alt tags what message does that send.

Thanks to Arno Zijlstra who repeatedly extolled the virtues and benefits of building an accessible web site and Beat of Community Builder fame who sent me the most amazing book I have ever read, Don't make me think, by Steve Krug I've become a strong advocate of building accessible sites as they are more usable.

Today I came across a web site that sells usability testing.

The idea is that you ask them to test your site and produce a video of their experience on your site and "hopefully" point out a few areas that you could improve.

Whilst reading some of the "observations" of client's sites something struck me, the site itself reproduced many of the same "observations".

Perhaps the most obvious was the code used to produce the "buy now" image and link.

<a href="/ordernow.html">
<img src="/buynow.gif" border="0" />
</a>

As you can see the absence of an alt tag for the image means that anyone using any form of assistive technology to view the site will never find the most important link on the entire site.

(And that's without saying anything about using the deprecated border tag)

What am I trying to say with this post?

Never purchase anything from someone who doesn't practice what they preach.

Buy Steve Krug's book and "Don't make me think".

The web was meant to be read, not squished.
This isn't the way to test a responsive design.