Wild Web Wrestling: Standardella vs Tablezilla

This panel examined submitted URLs. The panelists were Giorgio Brajnik, Liz Danzico, Steve Guengerich, Bob Regan and Glenda Sims. They will dissect sites based on standards, accessibility and usability.

Bob defined accessibility as 1)conforming to standards, 2) interoperability with assistive technology, ways to resize the text, ways to support audio content, and 3) does it work for all types of disabilities? Giorgio said a web site is accessible if it allows the same success for people with disabilities as for people without disabilities. He distinguished between accessibility and usability.

The first site they tested was sxsw.com, a site we all know well. They used the LIFT online machine, which give you a great deal of information: they tested SXSW with a 508 standard and an automatic test and found that forms are in good shape, image maps are in good shape, a few image problems exist, but generally things are good. This tool tests a whole site, not just a page. Another tool is Web XM that can test for specific things.

They gave a mostly good report to the Texas Rollergirls. They looked at SuperViva where purpose is clear, but the text is too small. Some parts of the design were a little confusing.

Glenda told about the redesign of the UT website. The statistics for bandwidth from the tables layout to the CSS layout were reduced by over 500%. Bob described a Macromedia redesign that allowed immediate feedback from people having accessibility problems with the site.

Giorgio displayed the Target site as it looks to a text reader (completely unusable). Glenda put a practical testing plan on her blog at glendathegood.com.

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