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  Thread:   Re: Further development of site
  Date Posted: 2003-03-27 13:38:42
Author: Anne

Hmm. Interesting! I've been involved in developing online communities for a while (see and and came to this site because of my involvement in Arts in Action's Tech Art Project for artists with disabilities. Web usability and accessibility for people with disabilties are my special interests.

There's a huge amount of information on these subjects free of charge on the net. eg take a look at usability guru Jakob Nielsen's site and the W3 Accessibility guidelines at
For a giggle while you learn what not to do, go to

To be sure your web designer is going to observe usability and accessibility principles you must specify this in your brief. Even then, you need to find out whether they have any knowledge in this area. Web designers as a race are pretty keen to showcase their technical rather than usability skills (viz the proliferation of pop-up menus on the ccd site.)

Re the undesirability of "flash graphics". Usually this refers to an issue with the use of Microsoft FLASH, a software package which produces animated graphic sequences which might be purely decorative (pictures and patterns) or for navigation purposes (eg rollover buttons, pop-up menus).

The animated "FLASH movies" (pictures and patterns) are problematic because they take a long time to download and require special software to be visible to the user.

Pop-up menus are also problematic because they jump around and are difficult or impossible for users with low dexterity to use. The ccd site is a wonderland of pop-up menus created in FLASH or equivalent.

While the idea of "open source" development sounds nice and would probably produce a wonderful site in the end, let's remember that a web designer has already collected a large cheque for designing this site. I'm not sure I'm willing to give away my professional knowledge free of charge to fix it.

Also, I'm not sure there's such a thing as open source licencing in Australia. I believe that the designer owns the copyright until and unless this is transferred by legal means to another party. CCD would need to check this out.

One free tip before I go: Requiring the user to download pdf/doc files is a barrier to participation. It would have been so simple (for both designer and user) to have the user click on a mailto: link that activates an autoresponder which sends the appropriate form by email.

:-) Cheers for now!
Anne Tichborne
Independent Web Designer

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