Birthing Fix the Web
Posted by gailbradbrook on November 23, 2010
A week or so after “delivering” (launching) Fix the Web I realise I’d been right when I told one of the coders of the site that it felt like having a baby! Having set a launch date and being busy with several rounds of bug and user testing we were of course still fixing issues up to the last minute. “Keep pushing” I said to the coder Ben Jarlett (he has been working with his brother Joe on the site and some web accessibility experts).
So the baby came and we launched and got lots of nice coverage. The traffic on the site is heartening. And of course there are glitches and hitches. People have said my baby isn’t beautiful ! Fortunately I’m not too sensitive about this, as some mothers might be (my second baby, did in my own words at 10 and a half pounds and well squashed, look like Chairman Mao). The design needs a think through according to a few people- it would be good they say, to not equate accessible with ugly.
We had some accessibility issues ourselves with the Fix the Web site – embarrassingly of course and somehow I knew it would happen! Sorry for this folks! I think its good to be humbled and as someone who has some responsibility for a few sites I would hate to be casting stones (she who is without sin). On the one hand I feel strongly we shouldn’t compromise on the issue of web accessibility, in terms of what we expect and ask for. On the other, I have a degree of sympathy with website owners and think experts need to afford the rest of us some time to catch up.
It would be useful to know who is and isn’t an expert when owners want to get advice or build a new site. At the moment I believe there is no qualification as such. We have a few links to things that can help and I know an association is thinking about this…
I will be setting up a steering group for Fix the Web’s development- lots to discuss and think about, many people have made suggestions for improvements. Let me know if you would like to be on the group. I have kind of had a steering group to date of course, but time to widen it and be a tad more formal.
I have a general ethos for us to be open / transparent..but needing to think through risks and keep the site simple. So some changes will take time to come through..