We want to showcase and provide awards-recognition for certain websites — and the developers and designers who make them — which shatter the misconception that accessible web sites are boring and basic. It’s not so and we intend to prove it, or rather, we’ll ask others to furnish the evidence for us. Specifically, we’re looked for sites that met or exceeded our expectations (see our criteria) in the following categories:
Accessibility is of great concern in the creation of a truly universal site. After all, if a web site’s content cannot be accessed, it’s not a very good website to that person or group. One example: Let’s say a page bears meaningful text-content in a image. If that image isn’t visible or readable, and if alternate text isn’t provided, the content will be lost. It might be just fine for you, but for others it may be quite difficult to deal with. We like to see sites meeting a minimum Priority 1 Accessibility Checkpoint rating.
This is closely tied into web accessibility and thus universality. It all goes hand-in-hand. We like to see well-formed web pages built using the latest in universally-supported web standards. Web pages built with semantic markup. On the web a heading really needs to be a heading, not just some big bold text. This simple item can greatly affect how the page is read using assistive technologies. Non-standard browsers are less capable of dealing with page errors and omissions. We recognize the importance so expect this in quality sites. Moreover, we like to see sites build to “Strict” standards if alternatives for that language exist. Loose and transitional standards were meant to simply bridge the gap between the widespread use of legacy browsers back in the 1990s. This is no longer the case. Any reason to use these temporary DTDs is no longer really that valid.
Stunning Good Looks
In addition to all of that above, people who can access websites in the conventional sense — newer computer, modern browser, fast connection, etc. — are attracted by good looks. We are, that much is certain. We like to see sites that are created with looking good in mind. In fact this is the whole point. Making an accessible site doesn’t mean the site has to be plain. It takes a lot of care to strike the right balance, but it can be done and executed well.
Attention to Detail
We expect to see the previous three categories blended into a cohesive package. Moreover we like to see sites that attend to the finer points. Language used, clarity of design, page organization, page load times, good use of “title” element, headings, keywords, first paragraph, SEO, spelling, and grammar. A website is like an orchestra, the various sections must work well in concert. If only one section is off, it will be a global detriment.