GAWDS Redesign Redux
January 09, 2004 | View Comments (5) | simpl(e)y done different
For the redesign of GAWDS (our version) we settled on trying to keep things simple. On some of these redesigns we want to "push the envelope" and take things in a different direction, but the GAWDS just needed something simple, since their content is not really that complex. We feel that is what we did. canadadrugs.com
Obviously, the goal for any new organization like this is to get people to join. In fact that is probably the goal of any organization be it old or new. On the current GAWDS site, the ability to register is not easily found, which can deter people from even knowing that it is an organization that you can in fact join. With this in mind the first order of business was to simply let it be known that you can apply for membership and to make sure that no one could miss it and with that you get the right section of the big orange box.
People may wonder what are the benefits of joining or what the guild is about so links were prominently placed in the section also. Whether you wish to join or find more information you should have no problem achieving those tasks.
What is this?
First impressions are a big deal and when first going to a site it should be immediately clear what is about. This is where the big text in the left section of the orange box comes in. Really can't miss it.
The layout fits the content. On the original site there are some news feeds from other sites, but we felt that those took away from the purpose of the site. Also, not all of the feeds always pertained to accessibility, further detracting from the goals we set for the site.
We only used two-sided border because we felt it gave the Guild a more structured feel without being too closed in. Accessibility is about letting everyone in and so those lines show exactly that.
We have to admit that we were just in the "bright orange" kind of mood and since we didn't have any other colors to work off of from the original site, we figured orange would be okay.
We feel we achieved our objectives with this redesign. Hopefully, the organization takes notice and maybe implements some of these ideas. We understand they are going to hold a redesign contest soon and the sooner the better. Image is very important for them simply because their intended audience is designers. Coming up next: Fark.com.
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You should probably include a link in this entry to your redesign. I had to read it twice before I realized that you had linked to the redesign in a previous post. And the way you linked to GAWDS is rather confusing. I really couldn't figure out how anything you were saying matched up to want I was seeing or why on earth you would be proud of any of that.
Now that I have found the correct redesign. I like it. The massive orange banner may be a bit overbearing. Making the "The Guild of Accessible Web Designers..." text black on orange instead of white on orange may help that a bit.
Also the left border on the navigation sidebar is one pixel to the left of the dividing line in the banner. It makes my eye twitch (Tested in Firebird 0.7+, Safari 1.1.1, and Mac IE 5.2).
Thought I'd offer some constructive criticism...
While I like the layout and the look of the site, I feel that you can't really justify text in images for a site which preaches about accessibility. People with a visual handicap (reduced visibility, color blindness etc) should be given the power to read text in a size _they_ choose - you can't really decide for them which type is sufficiently readable. In the same reasoning, I'm a bit disappointed that you used image replacement for the headers. While it's good for strictly visual sites like the http://www.csszengarden.com, it doesn't fit with the goals of a site which promotes accessibility.
Also, some of the class- and id-names you've chosen are visually descriptive instead of semantically descriptive (eg. InnerFrame, orangeBox, leftCol).
For the rest; good job, you've obviously thought carefully about the design.
Xian: You are totally right and that was really just a bad oversight by not linking the redesign in the post. I know I was thinking about it when I was typing.
Jeroen: We understand what the site is advocating, but really it came down to what the intended audience was, and to us that was designers. Could we have come up with a better solution given longer time? Without a doubt, but with the time constraints we set for ourselves when doing these projects this was the optimal solution. Due to the fact we use an image replacement technique further goes to show we were thinking about accessibility. Yes users should have an option to resize their text, but when it is a good size like it is on the site, maybe we didn't see a reason why they would.
Fontsizes are always a hot topic. The one thing I've learnt from a lot of discussions about them, is that it's always best to let users override them or set for themselves when accessibility is required.
You're right about the intended audience, and I've thought about that myself too. But on the other hand, the focus of the site's project is accessibility, so the site should be totally accessible. It's the same thing as sites which announce conferences about webstandards, but totally fail to validate themselves.
So I guess the question to ask becomes that if a font-size is of a significant size, as is the case with the redesign, does it become an accessibility issues or an user preferences issue?
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