Law Office of Lainey Feingold

Posted November 5th, 2009 by Blair Millen

Visit Law Office of Lainey Feingold site Law Office of Lainey Feingold, the business site of disability rights lawyer Lainey Feingold, was designed by Mike Cherim specifically to conform to the level of AAA under the WCAG 2.0. And having already officially achieved this status, there was hope we might have our first Timeless Universal Design Award on our hands!

The site is built on a customised WordPress platform and, in terms of web accessibility, it’s clearly a great piece of work with obvious care and attention paid to:

  • Semantic markup
  • JavaScript that degrades gracefully
  • Keyboard accessibility
  • Compatibility with a wide range of browsers and assistive software
  • A design that is still eminently usable without images

And there’s plenty of nice touches for site visitors, like focus styling, page summaries and visual tools (i.e. alternative style sheets). We are especially impressed by the exemplary heading structure across the site and the design’s liquid layout. Another nice touch is the fact when the “Remove all backgrounds” widget is clicked, its text immediately changes to “Restore all backgrounds”. A definite plus point for widget usability.

Digging deeper though, a few niggly issues begin to surface. For example, the content link colour has a contrast of only 5.2:1, which falls well below the 7:1 required for anything other than large text by WCAG 2.0 (SC 1.4.6). The checkbox-style navigation poses potential confusion with the greyed-out visited links looking disabled and unclickable. And what about the breadcrumb trail overlapping the border image? In short, it’s this lack of attention to the fine details that lets the site down.

The use of language throughout the site is another contentious issue. Section headings in the navigation, like “Categories” or “Archives”; are not descriptive enough. Perhaps “News and Articles” and “Settlement Agreements” would have introduced more meaning and better usability? And, handy as they are, the list of Page Tools are poorly labelled; rather than clearly state what they are, we’re given representative terms instead: e.g. “Basic Page Theme”. What’s “basic”? It’s actually high-contrast, large type.

Finally: the visual design. The colours are sombre and fitting for a corporate site but there‚Äôs just no wow factor. That said, it does not detract from this site’s sheer quality or its AAA achievement. Definitely a site that could - and should - be used as an example of accessible design. Web design students… start taking notes.

Following review, the Law Office of Lainey Feingold site was judged eligible for an Award Level of “Quality Universal”. Congratulations, Mike!

9 Responses to: “Law Office of Lainey Feingold”

  1. Mike Cherim responds:
    Posted: November 5th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks guys. Certainly a very thorough, and I think fair, review. I must admit the short headings and navigation texts you mentioned are all me. I hate long ones that wrap. It’s a personal thing, but the clean visual appearance of one or two short words instead of full blown — albeit descriptive — text appeals to the designer inside me. I don’t have an issue with the breadcrumb position. It’s not an oversight. It was intentional, that’s why it fades out almost completely. I tried moving it out but I didn’t like it as much. Sorry you don’t like that one, lol. Regarding the content link color… I don’t know what to say. I thought that so many folks, myself included, looked at that stuff for the whole “official” thing with the WAI I am shocked and saddened it appears that’s an oversight. I could have sworn we checked that! I will have to pick a darker color if Lainey wants me to. (That’ll be on me, Lainey.)

    You guys really had me going at first glance. I saw the star but I mostly noted the word “Timeless.” I was thinking, Timeless, no freaking way. There’s no such thing as a Timeless site, I thought to myself, that’s just for incentive. Anyway, I totally agree, the site doesn’t have nearly enough WOW for anything like that.

  2. David Zemens responds:
    Posted: November 6th, 2009 at 7:58 am

    As always, a terrific design and look from Mike. And also, as always, a highly accessible and standards compliant design and coding.

    @Mike: I am curious about one thing if you read this comment, and this is just a subjective thing, not critical at all; What process went into deciding on the left justified layout? Just curious, because I am a big fan of centering the layout, but as I said, that’s totally subjective.

    Nice work as usual Mike. I know you are working on other things and going in different directions, but the web world misses the monthly websites that you used to produce!

  3. Twitter Trackbacks for Law Office of Lainey Feingold - [] on responds:
    Posted: November 6th, 2009 at 10:33 am

    […] Law Office of Lainey Feingold - – view page – cached The Law Office of Lainey Feingold earns a Quality Design award from […]

  4. uberVU - social comments responds:
    Posted: November 9th, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by accessites: - Law Office of Lainey Feingold:…

  5. Mike Cherim responds:
    Posted: November 17th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I don’t remember, David.

  6. Steven Wallbank responds:
    Posted: November 18th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Great work Mike Cherim, really an example for us all.

  7. Yahbi responds:
    Posted: December 7th, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Congrats. Nice work. This may be a stupid question, but where is it that someone can get a WAI report like the one for this site that’s linked to from the index page here? I looked on the WAI site following the navigation links, but couldn’t locate any info. Before anyone suggests I didn’t look hard enough, I’m legally blind and use a screen reader to access sites. I’m just curious about where someone can submit a site for a WAI report because I have a sighted friend that does accessible web design and thought I’d tell him about it.

  8. Mel Pedley responds:
    Posted: December 8th, 2009 at 4:53 am

    WAI don’t normally audit a site in this fashion. In this particular case, it was part of a practical implementation of the new guidelines (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0) to prove that they could be applied in the Real World. We do, however, have a list of online resources that your friend could use.

  9. Yahbi responds:
    Posted: December 10th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks for the link to the resources list. Most of the list does have to do with accessibility, but what pray tell does a pagerank checker have to do with web accessibility? Blind and disabled folks don’t give a hoot what a site’s pagerank is. All they care about is whether or not they can access the site without too much hassle. Plus, pagerank checkers violate google TOS.

Sorry. Comments are closed.

Note: This is the end of the usable page. The image(s) below are preloaded for performance only.