Accessibility Design Imported From Epistula useability web development

Sites of Evil

Today I was going to buy some Sluggy Freelance books for christmas.

I went to Plan 9 Europe, the European distributor for the comics and…

Well, go see. Your mission is to buy the first three Sluggy books without smashing your monitor.

Your time starts now.

Accessibility Current Affairs Imported From Epistula Projects

Lazyweb – Digital Guardian

I spend a couple of hours every day sitting on trains. Soon, I’ll be spending 4 hours a day sitting on buses. Ideally, I’d like to read a newspaper or something while I’m doing this, but I hate fiddling around with broadsheets on the standing-room-only commuter cattle-pens into London. The solution to this appears to be the Digital Guardian, but it’s useless to me since it requires a web connection to read. You can’t just download a PDF of the entire newspaper (though you can get PDFs of every seperate page & story) and take it away.

So, has anyone heard of any inititives to automatically grab each page PDF of today’s Guardian (With my subscription details, naturally) automatically? Stiching them together isn’t really important.

Accessibility Imported From Epistula Movies web development


So, having seen Thunderbirds (Capsule review: The fact that the plot is microns thick, the acting questionable and the directing iffy is rendered completely and totally moot by the sheer “Oooh, Shiny!” factor of seeing the swimming pool slide back so Thunderbird One can launch. Also: The intro sequence is the best thing ever), I decided to check out the Ben Kingsley (who plays The Hood) Official Site.


Ben Kingsley’s official site is one of the worst travesties of Javascript I have ever had the misfortune to encounter

Turn off Javascript (If you’re not using IE4+) and go there, then view the source. If you go there with JS enabled, you get thrown into an infinate loop of “You need a version 4 browser” alert boxes until you either close the tab or the browser. This is horrible. And god forbid you try to enter with a site reader, or any kind of spider.


Accessibility Imported From Epistula


Have calmed down. No longer feel like the world is out to get me. This is probably temporary.

The worst possible thing you can do to a heavy user of Firefox is to redefine the middle mouse button in Windows to switch between applications. It’s driving me absolutly insane…

Accessibility Design Imported From Epistula internet windows

Reasons IE Sucks chipmonks though chainlink fencing, Number 11 in a series of infinity

Given this URL:[and]_Suzi’s_New_Year_2003

IE does the following:’s_New_Year_2003

Now, I realise the escaping error in the generated URL was my own stupid fault, but the fact that IE automatically reverses any backslashes in a URL – to retain compatibility with Windows’ broken directory seperator – is interesting. It means, for example, we can do this:

@import url(”/assets/cssspecial-ie-stylesheet.css”);

and IE will load it (It will try to “fix” the broken backslash) where Gecko/KHTML will attempt to load a file called “cssspecial-ie-stylesheet.css” in the assets directory is interesting. New browser-hack?

This isn’t news, really. When the first version of the new, all accessible RNIB site went live (And I ranted about it) some of the links contained backslashes, and thus broke for Mozilla, and it’s still annoying, but it might be useful.

What would be really interesting would be combining this with an IIS server. Does the server resolve it as the right path on the system (The Windows one) or as the RFC 2068 compliant one?

My solution, by the way, was to rename the album to “New Years 2003” and leave the escaping problem until I’ve got time to fix it properly.

Accessibility Imported From Epistula useability

Design Blind

The RNIB has launched it’s new site.

I’m appalled.

The RNIB are one of the people behind the UK’s recent push for web-accessibility, including full support of the WAI standards. The RNIB site is a prefect example of a site that, whilst filling most of the technical criteria for an accessible website, is terribly implemented.

The first thing is the worst. The internal URLs are broken. Some of the urls are using backslashes instead of forward slashes, meaning that whilst IE (Which is broken in this regard) displays and links properly, Browsers that actually support the standard (Like Mozilla) get links with backslashes, which don’t work. (An example of this, this page, is the link to “Sarah’s Story”) (The page linked to is mirrored in the link at the bottom of this article, just in case the thing is updated).

The second is the link colours. They define the background to white and the default text to black, but leave all other links alone. If someone (as many Vision Impaired People (ViPs) do) set their text colour to gray and the background to black for ease of reading, with the links as white, the links become invisible.

The menu system breaks at 800*600 resolution, displaying broken lines where none should be. I’m not even going to mention 640*480.

It doesn’t validate. Not even by a little. There is no DOCTYPE specified, and even if we override it there are 83 errors, including tables that aren’t closed properly.

The design also breaks at 1600*1200 resolution, though not by much.

The code is horrible. They’ve defined arbitrary meta tags, half the page is commented out.

In their defence, they’ve provided alt tags for every image on the page. In attack, they’ve also put in transparent pixels with alt-tags to signpost the page. Ten for idea, Zero for implementation, There are far better ways of doing it. display = hidden, for example.

The actual design, as far as it goes, isn’t bad (for me, as a slightly-colour-blind person with poor eyesight) and makes good use of colour, the menu system would be good if it worked in Mozilla.

They didn’t entity encode the symbols.

And the last, because it’s a personal issue, is the table-based design. The entire design is a table, CSS is used for styling the occasional link only. The site is filled with table & font design.

The entire web development team of RNIB should be forced to read Dive Into Accessibility at least twice.