Joe Clark: (E-mail)

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Web standards development

I have over 20 years' experience following graphic design and have been writing about it for a decade. I've also been online since August 1991-- well before the Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee.

You'd think, then, that I would relish the opportunity the Web gives us to advance the field of graphic design. In reality, my priorities are accessibility, usability, and standards compliance. The Web, after all, is like cinema or television in that carries its own accessibility or inaccessibility with itself: Just as TV shows can air with captions and audio descriptions or without, Web pages can be accessible (and usable, and standards-compliant) or not. It's incumbent on Web designers to provide a high degree of that Holy Trinity of programming goals while also aiming for excellence in graphic design.

A contradiction? Sometimes, yes. Many times, no. The World Wide Web Consortium recently released a prioritized checklist of steps Web designers can take to make their pages accessible. Most of those steps are simple, while some remain a challenge due to incompatibility among browsers.

I try to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, so all the pages in my site meet high levels of accessibility. (Of course, I cheat a bit: There are no graphics anywhere on this site at present, which makes access quite a bit easier.) But I've also engaged in a few demonstration projects to advance the state of current Web-design practices:

See also: Captioning and media-access articles.