Archive for October, 2006

A Constitution for a new website

I’m working on a brand new web site for an organisation that doesn’t sell anything, but needs to communicate clearly to a range of audiences, from government to members of the public.

As you’d expect, there’s a lot of healthily competing requirements from different organisational stakeholders – and, as all of my readers will know, websites designed by committee serve nobody’s interests, especially not the users’.

So I’ve written a Constitution for the new website – a (hopefully) simple explanation of principles that all can agree, and from which more detailed policies can be derived. It deliberately doesn’t try to get very detailed (as it’s for a broad cross-section of the business), but if a subsequent policy contradicts something here, it is unconstitutional and can’t be adopted.

I publish it for your interest – and would love to get any feedback on it from any budding Alexander Hamiltons out there.

Added 4 November 2006: A few people have emailed me and asked if they can adapt and use the Constitution for their own sites. The answer is yes (and thanks for having the courtesy to ask). It’d be great if you could post your amended versions on your sites and link back here (and add a comment here linking to your version) so there might develop a body of best practice.

Continue reading A Constitution for a new website

Paul McCartney interview

Interviewer:Sir Paul, now your second marriage has failed, do you think you’ll ever go down on one knee again?
Sir Paul:I very much doubt it. And please, refer to her as “Heather”.

Where the rubber meets the road: web accessibility and pragmatism

At last, the podcast audio and transcript of the talk Patrick Lauke and I gave at Geek In The Park.

Riddled with swear words (all Patrick), rambling at times (that Patrick again), you might nevertheless find it useful. (Summary)

Initial transcript provided by CastingWords, with subsequent editing by me and Patrick. Patrick did nearly all the work, and paid for the transcription. What a guy. Released under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0.

No Friday joke

There’s no Friday joke this week, as I’ve had the bad news that a mate of mine died – he drowned in a bowl of muesli. Apparently, he put the milk in, leaned over with his spoon, and the currants pulled him under.

The wonderful web

man against sunset, holding balloon in worshipping-like stance with small child staring up at him

Almost three years ago, I wrote a short blog post about The Balloon Man of Kovallam, an American who worshipped the setting sun by blowing up balloons, whom I met when travelling round India. I’d often wondered about who he was, what his story was, and where he went afterwards.

So I was amazed and delighted to read a comment from his son, posted two days ago, with more information about this mysterious gentleman.

Isn’t the Web wonderful?

School reunion

I went to a school reunion last week, hoping to meet up with an old flame – a Dutch girl who wore inflatable shoes. I was gutted when her friends told me she’d popped her clogs.

(More fictional dead friend gags next week!)

Accessibility wars again

Mike Davis lobs a blogrenade at those who think accessibility is about universal access. For what it’s worth, I agree that accessibility is about disability, but think there’s room for us all; the war against idiots like the DTI are more important than internecine squabbles.

Haven’t posted much in a while as have been feeling a bit crap and multiply-sclerotic after catching near-terminal brat-lurgie from my kids, but I did spend a day in bed checking a transcript of the Geek in The Park talk that Patrick and I did – to be published soon. (It’s bloody hard work transcribing; hadn’t realised it before.)

Meanwhile, Matt Machell reviews the accessibility book; as it’s too early to get sales figures from the publisher, it’s nice to know that someone has read it. (Also noticed a review on Godbit.) If you’ve read it too, would you mind commenting on amazon.com? Get the word out to the 99% of the web dev community who don’t read the same blogs that you do and I do…

Matt also reminds us that you’ve got until Sunday night to do a ZenGarden-like makeover in the Pimp my HTML contest. Now, where’s my spare animated gifs …. ?