Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Four Parties Contribute to an Accessible Blogosphere

Filed under: Blog Accessibility, Blogging — by Glenda at 11:27 pm on Friday, May 15, 2009

For the most part, when a ‘traditional’ website is developed, a team comes together to complete the task. Sometimes the team consists of the proverbial me, myself and I; other times the team is several people, with potentially an outsider with a specific expertise brought in. Either way, the team works together on the common goal and, when done correctly, accessibility is considered and implemented at each phase of development.

Blogs, on the other hand, differ in development in that four distinct yet separate parties are involved; they very rarely, if ever, come together and work as a team. However, each party impacts a blog’s accessibility (or inaccessibility), oftentimes without even realizing it:

  1. Blogging platforms – such as WordPress, TypePad and LiveJournal – have a double duty in terms of accessibility. First, the code produced by the platform, which is actually a content management system, should meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (or other appropriate guidelines). Accessible code benefits the blog’s readers. Second, the blogging platform interface – the part bloggers use when writing posts and such – should meet the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. Accessible blogging platforms benefits bloggers with various disabilities (from mild to severe).
  2. Theme designers control the blog’s layout, colour scheme, font sizing and such, which greatly impacts accessibility. If designers do not consider accessibility, many readers will be excluded from the community.
  3. Plugin and widget developers create functionality and ‘shiny objects’,enhancing blogs’ interaction and interest for readers. However, once again, if accessibility is not considered when developing these plugins, many readers are limited or restricted from benefitting from them.
  4. Bloggers begin blogging largely to share a expertise or a experiences or to create a voice for themselves. Bloggers blog to create content and to build a community.  Unlike website designers, many bloggers do not have training in html or style sheets. Further, some blogging platforms restrict bloggers’ access to their themes. These two factors limit bloggers’ impact on the accessibility of their own blogging community. Yet, there still ways in which bloggers can improve accessibility.

My goal is to work with each party to increase accessibility within their specific territory of the blogosphere. I’d love to begin with bloggers and to work with them to build the most accessible blogs possible within the constraints of being a blogger.

Here is where I’d love your input by taking this very quick poll:

{democracy:2}

Your input will help me to decide on the name for an upcoming project. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Trackbacks

  1. Thoughts on Design » Two Accessibility Discussions You Need to Follow
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6 Comments »

Comment by DeeJay

May 16, 2009 @ 1:34 am

Hi Glenda — I hope you like my Job Title suggestion. It seems appropriate since what you will be doing is holding up a mirror so that all the interested / involved parties can CLEARLY see HOW what they’re doing/creating impacts the Accessibility Question. Their ultimate impacts will likely play out in either one of two ways: They’ll help or they’ll hurt. (Am I being naive to think it’s as simple as that?) I’m sure most will — once they become sufficiently aware — actually RUSH to HELP! (That’s the world I live in, anyway.)
Peace and Love to You, Glenda
DeeJay

Comment by Hilary

May 16, 2009 @ 4:43 am

Hi GLenda .. I wish you luck with your project and it will be interesting see it devleop.

All the best
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Comment by Maggie

May 17, 2009 @ 7:57 am

Hi, Glenda;

I am eager to see what you develop here — it’s exactly the question I’ve just started working on in my own blog (where I know less than nothing about html, css, or accessibility standards).

Just bought you a cup of coffee … and was gifted with your e-book in return — Thanks!

Comment by Ruth Ellison

May 17, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

Hi Glenda, all the best with the project. I’m keen to see how it develops!

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