Sitepoint’s Tech Time just dropped in the inbox and it has a great quote from James Edwards, caught while visiting Melbourne and attending the most recent WSG meeting:

“One person’s preference is another person’s real need. It may be that a group of users finds it easier with Ajax, but if another group of users finds it completely impossible then you’re cutting people out, and you’re doing it for basically nothing.

“I think of it as a hierarchy, basically, where accessibility is the most important thing, and usability comes next, and preference and design and aesthetics comes next. All of those things are important, but if one affects the other then you have to think which is the most important.

“And to my mind, accessibility is always the most important, because accessibility impacts on what people really need. Everything else is just preference.”

This just sums up everything I believe about web development so beautifully – I am not a designer, and, frankly I can’t make a site look pretty if I try, but I can make a site work for everyone who needs or wants to use it, and I can get someone to help with the pretties.

Every now and then I come across a client who doesn’t care how well their site works, who doesn’t understand that they are stopping potential clients from giving them money, all in the name of ‘making it pretty’. I know some people are more aesthetically minded than me (ok, I’ll be honest – the whole world is more aesthetically minded than me :)) but customers actually being able to use the site is more important than them thinking ‘I like the colour scheme’!

In a bricks and mortar shop, if the shelves were stopping the doors from opening *no one* would say ‘but the shelves are so beautifully designed – lets leave them there’. Ever.
Anyone can see that the shelves are blocking the door, but layman can’t always tell what the problems on a site are, but this is not a reason for not addressing or looking for the problems!

Accessability, On!

(Kudos to Kim Krause Berg for telling me to get blogging – I think I am back :) Hopefully I’m not lying to myself :))