Web Accessibility, Standards Compliance, yadda, yadda, yadda...
If you'd like to cut to the chase, jump to our portfolio section, now. If, however, you are interested in why we design for accessibility and standards compliance, and more importantly, what the advantages of an accessible, standards-compliant Web site are, read on:
First, a little history
The World Wide Web was concieved as a universal medium. The idea was to allow people to share information across platforms: the same information can be accessed by my PC or your Mac. Information can also be accessed using various user agents, including: text only browsers like Lynx, screen readers, voice browsers, refreshable braille displays.
"The fundamental principle behind the Web was that once someone somewhere made available a document, database, graphic, sound, video, or screen at some stage in an interactive dialogue, it should be accessible (subject to authorization, of course) by anyone, with any type of computer, in any country."
The phenomenal commercial growth of the Web, and a corresponding introduction of inadequate authoring tools, has, unfortunately, led to a proliferation of poorly designed, inaccessible Web sites. Many visually attractive sites are totally inaccessible to people who are blind, or deaf, or people who have limited motor abilities. The poor design of many sites also means that they are inaccessible to those using older technology, those using cutting edge technology, and even those in adverse environmental conditions (for example, poor lighting.)
Let's talk standards
The notion of the World Wide Web as the wild wild west has its appeal, but standards, however loosely adhered to and implemented, are what make it work. A standards-compliant Web site complies to standards for HTML code and other Web technologies as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Developers of Web browsers and other Web enabled devices use W3C standards in developing their products. A standards-compliant Web site will be compatible with all kinds of browsers and Web devices ("user agents").
Here's what we do
We design accessible Web sites, and provide consulting services which enable clients to address their own Web accessibility issues. Our sites are well designed, fast, attractive, standards-compliant, and accessible. Sites designed by aSimpleMachine.com are usable with alternatives to the standard desktop browser: voice browsers, screen readers, refreshable braille displays and text-only browsers. In addition, our design considerations include captioning of all sound and multimedia, keyboard alternatives for those who do not use a mouse, and color contrast considerations for those with limited vision or color blindness.
What's in it for you?
We think the greatest benefit of an accessible, standards-compliant Web site is the ability to reach a larger audience. An accessible Web site really allows you to take advantage of your opportunity to reach a world wide audience through the Internet. Often Web site audiences around the world do not have the up to date versions of Web browsers and operating systems that are common in the United States. Our designs are viewable on any browser!
In terms of cost, an accessible site, with a larger audience base, reaches more people per dollar spent. A universally accessible site also eliminates the need for a duplicate site that is accessible. With ADA and Section 508 concerns on the horizon, a site designed to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines, will limit your exposure to risk, and eliminate the potential for a costly redesign in the future.
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