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Kynn Bartlett: blogs and accessibility

Filed in: accessibility, blogging, CSUN2004, Thu, Mar 18 2004 00:00 PT

Kynn's Obey UAAG logo

He knows I’m blogging this.

On Sunday, I was the accessibility guy talking to bloggers about accessibility. Today, Kynn Bartlett (Maccessibility, Shock and Awe) is the accessibility guy talking to the accessibility community about blogging. Or maybe he’s the blogger talking to the… or maybe I’m… okay. Now I’m confused. Anyway.

(I showed up late. Sorry. It was Microsoft’s fault. I didn’t even get a t-shirt. The end is always the best part, anyway.)

He smirked at the “crotchety old curmudgeons” who code their sites by hand. The point, he says, is to get their message out there, not how hardcore you are. From which, we get Movable Type. He gave a quick demo. The idea of blogs is easy content.

Someone asked about whether blogging makes for publishing, since many people would think of it as grafitti. Kynn said, essentially, that grafitti is still a form of expression (and the Los Angeles River its greatest content aggregator), and it’s good to have the ability to host that expression.

The benefits of blogging to accessibility: Content can be separated from presentation. You can have alternate interfaces: for example, the blind people group on LiveJournal. And RSS: despite the contention over the standard, it passes the just-works test for end users. Stuff like BlogLines for aggregation. (Aww. He featured my blog. Thanks, Kynn!) He actually distracted himself with someone else’s feed during his own preso. NADD much?

Anyone can publish. That includes users with disabilities. “Anything that makes it easier for anyone to publish makes it easier for people with disabilities to publish, because they’re just anyone.” And it doesn’t matter if you’re blind if all you want to do is hate Bush (like Kynn and me). But it’s personal enough that details tend to escape.

Accessibility challenges: “Do we really want people to create all this crap?” Now that the bar is lowered, newer bloggers aren’t learning things that are obvious to Web designers, like alt text. There are things like photoblogs and audioblogs (q.v.: my advice to audio and video bloggers) that aren’t accessibility. And the tools themselves have no guarantee of accessibility.

How do you promote accessibility? Reach out to receptive bloggers. Look at and point to blogs on accessibility. “The Zeldman Effect,” as Kynn puts it, is that whatever Jeffrey thinks is cool is what others will think is cool. The cool part is that the people at the top of the design food chain actually think accessibility is cool. “And that’s starting to trickle down now.” And ensure that all voices are heard, including users with disabilities. The more you make that visible, the more it spreads.

He closed with Mark Siegel of the 19th Floor. (He likes Mark. We all like Mark.) No Pity is a LiveJournal community just to chat without looking for sympathy, etc. (My old-school friend Rachel created that. Rachel’s cool, and her fonts are really big.)

That’s it, he says, get to bloggin’. And go see Kynn’s blogging class.

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