Redacting for Dummies

I normally avoid topics unrelated to web design and usability on this blog. However, I think this is worth pointing out and commenting on publicly. The following images are from a document that can be found at the ACLU website at

Overlooked Site

In reading over Paul Scrivens’ post at the 9rules Network I realized I had forgotten to include him in the list of links on my sidebar. This is an unfortunate oversight on my part. He has been a tireless advocate of good design and I have learned a great deal and enjoyed myself immensely reading the discussions he has led on his network of sites. I hope that you will visit them and see for yourself the fine work he has been doing.

Jargon and Secret Codes

How often have you tried to read a web site only to find that it is packed with jargon and secret codes in the form of acronyms and abbreviations that are never spelled out? Sometimes it appears that the author’s intent was to obfuscate their meaning for all but a select few individuals who are already in the know. When building a web site there are some simple techniques and some oft overlooked markup that can alleviate this problem.

JavaScript: The Right Way

I have been dealing a lot with the best way to incorporate JavaScript into web sites recently. It’s clear to me that there are many designers who never try to use their site with JavaScript turned off. This is not to say that using JavaScript is bad or wrong, simply that, like a gun, in the wrong hands it can lead to most unfortunate outcomes. If you plan to use JavaScript there are a few guidelines you should follow to minimize the casualties.

Alternate Content

One area where there is a lot of confusion in accessibility is the use of alternate content. There are questions about where it belongs, what form it should take, and whether it is acceptable or not. I’ll be addressing a few of the basics here. We’re going to leave more advanced questions like what to do with multimedia content for a later entry.

Flash Accessibilty

I’ve been looking into Flash Accessibility for a number of projects and I’ve been cautiously pleased by what I’ve seen. It looks as though the Flash player version 6+ and Flash MX 2004 have incorporated a bunch of new accessibility features that allow them to work better for average users as well as for users with serious disabilities. The Flash player now hooks into the MSAA in Windows to work with screenreaders. Flash is also good for such things as text zooming (and image zooming) and you can actually outdo browser support for accesskey attributes by using keylisteners to provide keyboard shortcuts within your .swf. It looks as though Flash is headed strongly toward being capable of delivering highly accessible […]