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Original Essays | March 6, 2014 2 comments
I have this recurring nightmare that my mother is alive. She never died. I've made a terrible mistake. I have to call my editor. We can't publish... Continue »
Sarah HortonDescribe your latest project.
I just finished a book called Access by Design. I've been interested in how the web can adapt to meet different needs and circumstances. Like most designers, I started out designing web sites that could not be adapted or modified by users because that aspect of the web seemed to run contrary to all I knew about design how could I allow users to view pages in Comic Sans type when I knew that that was bad for them! Then people started talking about how that very flexibility and user control made the web accessible to people with disabilities. That's when I think I finally "got" the web. I stopped trying to nail down designs and began to focus on universal design and usability.
The book's title, Access by Design, describes the philosophy, and its subtitle, A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers, describes the practical applications. The book is for web designers who want to incorporate access into their design approach. Much like our physical spaces that are designed and built to provide universal access, our web sites can offer the same, if not more, opportunities for access because the web is flexible. Users can adapt their web experience to meet their needs and preferences.
The book begins by laying out the fundamental characteristics of web access, and defines the attributes of the medium that enable access. The introduction is followed by fifteen chapters devoted to different web elements, including text, graphics, interactivity, editorial style, and page layout. The chapters contain best-practice guidelines for universal usability, defined, elucidated, and illustrated. Ben Shneiderman wrote a terrific foreword, and so many individuals and organizations contributed examples that illustrate the guidelines.
I am very excited about this book, and hope people find it useful!
What inspires you to sit down and write?
Talk a little about your favorite childhood teacher and how that teacher influenced you.
What was your favorite book as a kid?
What new technology do you think may actually have the potential for making people's lives better?
If you could be reincarnated to live for one day the life of any scientist or writer, who would you choose and why?