Why are we making it difficult for people to read the very important content of the Indymedia sites???? This is true of all the UK regional sites with the honourable exception of the Sheffield IMC which uses larger fonts and is much easier on the eyes.
What these IMCs are actually, inadvertently, doing is discriminating against, not just the partially sighted, but all of the millions of people around the world who have less than perfect vision. I suggest you compare the design of the Royal National Institute for the Blind web-site with UK indymedia and draw your own conclusions:
Note the big difference in fonts sizes.
They are also campaigning for "accessible web-design":
I also append an article from this week's "Guardian Online" by Jack Schofield.
This is a very serious issue and it is not the first time that it has been raised since the UK IMC makeover.
Why has Indymdia ignored previous points about this question???
Decorators with keyboards
Thursday July 17, 2003
I would love to see a few web designers thrown in jail. Sadly, the best we can hope for is some small fines and a few marginal improvements to the rubbish that currently masquerades as good web design. It is not enough, but it would be better than nothing.
The reason for optimism is that the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) is backing a number of individuals in taking legal action against various as yet unnamed websites that they say do not comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Very few government and commercial websites are adequately usable by the partially sighted and blind, or offer an equivalent service to disabled users. That is simply not acceptable on social grounds. It is also, as a matter of fact, a betrayal of the principles of the web.
In the old days, a decade or more ago, the development of the whole IT industry was blighted by incompatible, proprietary systems that often couldn't talk to one another, couldn't run the same software and couldn't easily display one another's data. It was hard and often expensive to get at data on one machine from another.
Tim Berners-Lee solved that problem. As long as you could pipe data into the web's simple Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML), then you could read it via the internet from any other machine with a web browser. The "core values in web design" are therefore, according to Berners-Lee, the "principles of universality of access irrespective of hardware or software platform, network infrastructure, language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental impairment".
Universal access is not a happy accident: it is what the web is for.
Unfortunately, we have hired a generation of web designers who don't know anything about computing, or the principles on which the web is based, or the reasons for its success. In fact, most of them are not web designers at all: they are graphic designers, or print designers, who have strayed into an area they don't understand. They are just painters and decorators with keyboards.
The worst web designers of all are the trendies who think things should be "cool" rather than functional. However, almost no one will go to a website - or go twice - because it looks "cool", while millions will be driven away by lack of functionality. None of the web's most successful sites looks cool and that includes Amazon, eBay, Google, Hotmail and Yahoo.
Designing sites for accessibility and usability has many advantages. Pages will be smaller and easier to write, easier and cheaper to maintain and serve, they will download faster, and reach a wider market - including the growing number of people with wireless personal digital assistants and phones.
Next time you are invited to see a website - which will be demonstrated on a high-res screen on a fast network - take a PDA along and suggest trying it via a mobile phone connection. Or with a screen reader, as used by the blind. It won't work. Why not?