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Fragmented Development

Web Accessibility - Balancing Elephants

Recently, I've been able to make a layout for Warren County that is too good to be true. It is completely standards compliant (xHTML 1.0 Strict, even!), very accessible (passes automatic verification on Sec. 508 and others) and still looks half good. It also works on all major browsers, degrades beautifully on those that don't support CSS, and only has some minor hiccups on browsers that have... "misguided" CSS support. It's taken tons and tons of work, and I just about peed my pants when I finished it. To a web designer, this is a thing of beauty. This is what we strive for.

This is the equivalent of balancing an elephant on your chin.

This is also why most people are not standardized or accessible. Designing a good web site should not be this hard! As far as I know, Warren County will be the only county in New York State whose websites meet these criteria, and it has been mandated in the state for years. Even the state web site does not meet these criteria.

Until the state of the Internet changes, I can't seriously recommend people get into web design as a profession. It's a terrible thing to say, but web design is less of a programming skill and more of a hacking technique, and until that changes it's a extremely unstable world to walk in. We can only hope that future developments will make designing web sites less of a hassle and more of an enjoyable practice.

Tags: css browsers html general

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