Pretty Simple: web, digital, social

I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.

Margaret Thatcher

Debate and discussion are vital to the progress and development of web accessibility. With that in mind it’s great to see that, as ever, there is plenty of discussion going on out there in the fora, blogs and Tweets of those interested in the subject.

For anyone looking to get stuck in, Accessify Forum offers an ideal starting place. Expect plenty of well-informed and well-meaning conflict around all things accessible.

Meanwhile, Henny Swan has sparked an interesting, albeit oft mooted, discussion on her blog ( about whether accessibility is only for people with disabilities. My opinion is that it is – we have other terms (usability, availability, etc) for talking about the needs of other users. Any attempt to broaden the scope could lead to losing sight of that – although all are, of course, inextricably linked. Not everyone agrees, though. Go see for yourself and join the debate.

And elsewhere, Ann McMeekin of is running a poll on the use and location of a site’s Accessibility link. Plenty of discussion already, with a surprising number of people unsure of what such a page is. Should it offer practical tips, a technical statement of conformance, or both? And should it be proudly placed at the top of the page or squirreled away elsewhere? Cast your vote today!

And for Local Gov types, this year’s Better Connected report from SOCITM is at the centre of a little bit of discontent over at the E-Access Bulletin, which has put what some consider to be an overly negative spin on the results. Given that it heavily focuses on findings based on the superseded WCAG 1.0, it was obvious that debate was on the cards.

These are just a few examples of the wonderful discussions going on, and it’s only through engaging in these debates that we can reach the right conclusions and increase the efficacy of our own attempts at building an inclusive web.

So don’t just sit there – go debate!

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5 Responses to Don’t just sit there – debate!

  1. Gary Miller says:

    Hi James,

    Nice blog! It’s given me a few things to thing about, and a few links to investigate.


  2. Henny Swan says:

    Hi James – great post, a call to action!

    You mention Twitter and I don’t know if it’s me or the people that I follow but it seems to have exploded with accessibility talk recently. I used to post news on there all the time but don’t so much now as so many people are doing a good job.

    It does make me wonder though, I tend to do most of my “debating” over Twitter and have become a little perturbed that while this is a great thing for on the spot discussion with lots of people that it does get lost in a way that commenting on blogs doesn’t.

    I actually blogged about how Twitter seemed to be killing commenting and have even cheekily asked people who have responded to posts from my blog on Twitter to comment on my blog. And I’m making a rule to do that myself.

    I’m just not sure how we can aggregate all the great comments and Tweets otherwise…unless someone far cleverer than I wants to build an app that grabs blog related Tweets and streams them into your blog. Mmmm, that could be tricky.

  3. James says:

    Cheers Gary, glad you’re finding it useful.

    Good point Henny – I’m always worried about missing things on Twitter which, on a blog or forum, would be nicely archived and referenced. Also, although it seems like most of the world is Twittering nowadays, the truth is that most people aren’t on there, which means they’re missing out on the debates.

    Great idea to get people to repeat comments on blogs etc. I’ll start doing the same!

  4. David Sloan says:

    Great blog post – I too have suddenly shaken off the shackles and decided to speak my mind much more regularly via twitter (thanks to @iheni for persuading me!). See latest post for another debate – this time on the design of accessibility conference web sites…

    But, interestingly, the more time I spend on Twitter, the more I follow links to places such as this – and the more I comment on other blogs. So Twitter is making me comment more, not less :)

  5. James says:

    Interesting point about Twitter increasing your blog commenting David, thanks for that. And thanks for the link to your own blog – some interesting stuff there.

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