I was pleased (and rather surprised) to be nominated for “standards champion” in the .net awards. The thing is, the competition is, um, quite fierce! I’m up against the W3C, Mozilla, and some of the best known names in the business (like Zeldman). So I’m not picking out a suit for the ceremony, but bear with me a moment, there’s a couple of things to consider.
First of all, the award is for:
a site, individual or organisation promoting accessible design in 2008.
Accessible design, hmm. Well, the organisations don’t really promote accessible design really, so as nice as it is to be considered with the W3C and Mozilla, they wouldn’t get my vote.
Also, if the award were for standards champion of all time, or a lifetime award, then it would be very stiff competition between Zeldman, Shea, Molly, Meyer & Cederhome (in reverse alphabetical order). But I’m not sure any of them have been promoting accessible design this year?
.net is also a UK based magazine, and I’m hoping a little patriotism might bias people towards the UK based entries 😉
So that leaves:
- Christian Heilmann
- Julie Howell
Julie Howell is very well known in the accessibility world, campaigning for over a decade whilst at the RNIB, technically authoring the PAS 78 standard and is still right in the thick of things on an upcoming British Accessibility standard. I would assume that, like me, a lot of Julie’s work is for clients, helping them create accessible sites.
Christian Heilmann, “International Developer Evangelist” at Yahoo!, is the creator of accessible versions of Flickr, Easy-Youtube, a method of captioning youtube videos, and even injecting lang attributes into twitter via google!
Perhaps most importantly of all, he has organised the scripting enabled conference, a day of understanding the issues, followed by a day of trying to fix them! (I will be there.)
I’m one of the founders of Nomensa, we’ve been creating accessible sites since 2001. I post here quite a bit, on quite a wide spread of accessibility topics, and in .net magazine. Not incredibly inspiring stuff, but there is one thing that I haven’t mentioned yet. Recently we created the web accessibility and development guidelines (based on WCAG 2) for a well known multi-national, who will be enforcing this with their development agencies for around 500 websites. That should see quite a sea change at that level, as it will be part of the contract for all their new sites to test against and commit to meeting WCAG 2.
Getting that sort of initiative going took not only buy-in at quite a high level in the organisation, but a lot of work to educate the people involved, and willingness to fit accessibility into their current processes and troubleshooting to get past initial problems.
In terms of putting practical tools for accessibility into the hands of developers, Christian wins hands down. However, please do make your own choice at the .net awards.