[ubuntu-web] Updated guidelines for community sites

Alan Bell alan.bell at theopenlearningcentre.com
Thu Oct 14 23:51:21 BST 2010


  I have to say I think the new design is a step backwards in terms of 
readability and accessibility, for a start the #333333 text on a 
background of #F7F7F7 makes the body text look fuzzy and hard to read 
for low-vision users, I don't think the wiki navigation changes too much 
for screen readers, but if there are going to be guidelines for 
community sites it would be good to see some reference to good practice 
of navigation design for screen readers, similar to this: 
http://jimthatcher.com/webcourse4.htm
Personally I really don't like fixed width layouts, I have a very large, 
high resolution screen 2048px wide and I like to fill it full of lots of 
very small text that I can absorb fast, not just a little column down 
the middle. Conversely vision impaired users will want to zoom in to get 
a larger font size, (and the default in the new design is pretty titchy 
so a lot of people will need to zoom in) but on something like a 
1024x768 screen if you zoom in the horizontal width quickly gets wider 
than the screen and you end up horizontally scrolling which is icky and 
nasty. It is so easy to get a web browser to dynamically reflow the text 
to the available width which satisfies the pixel junkies like me and 
also those who need to have large text (and I am not talking HUGE text, 
just as big as a regular large print book one might get from the 
library). In fact, fluid width is the default behavior of browsers and 
has been from the dawn of time, fixed width layouts just deliberately 
break a cool feature that paper can't match, just in order to provide a 
more paper-like aesthetic environment for the designer.
Matthew, Inayaili, Alejandra and any other web designers are more than 
welcome to join the #ubuntu-accessibility channel on IRC and ask there 
how other people see your designs. For example with the Ubuntu UK 
community website we are developing I started with the wordpress theme 
and gradually increased the contrast of the text until a reader with low 
vision reported it as not being fuzzy. The team is there, please take 
advantage of it.

Alan.

Alan Bell
The Open Learning Centre


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