Our customer is one of the largest corporations in the world. They have
several hundred brands, each of which is valued at upwards of $100M. Most of
these brands are many decades old and have historically been advertised in
traditional media such as print, TV, billboards etc. Style is everything,
particularly for the cosmetics brands.
 
The problem we have is that the brands have a very well established brand
image that the brand managers and the design agencies are not willing to
compromise at all. They don't care about SEO, accessibility or anything else
really. They spend millions on market research to find out what their
customers like, and they cater for the majority. They are (currently)
unwilling to risk diluting this in any way to cater for minorities, and they
are far from convinced about the commercial benefits if they did.
 
If you're building a site from scratch for a brand that is not well known
then I agree it is relatively easy to achieve a design that is both
attractive and accessible. In a case like ours where the customer already
has something they like, it's a lot harder or may be impossible. Many of
these brands have billion dollar sales, so they are rightly wary of making
any change that isn't supported by market research. After all, what's the
downside for us if we're wrong?
 
Incidentally, the Zeldman site is not a good example in my opinion. In fact
all image replacement techniques are a non-starter because the image cannot
be resized and the colours cannot be changed. sIFR is still too flaky (at
least all the examples I have seen are).
 
Steve

  _____  

From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On
Behalf Of Tim Palac
Sent: 14 August 2007 23:02
To: wsg@webstandardsgroup.org
Subject: Re: [WSG] Usability & Accessibility Over Design?


You've got an interesting point, Steve.  Transitioning from non-accessible
websites to accessible websites seems
like it would require some sacrifice in look and feel.  In fact, I was prone
to thinking the same thing, but check out 
http://www.zeldman.com.  You see that he's using images in the navigation,
but when you disabled the styles these
turn into text links.  I haven't ever used this technique, but doesn't that
achieve what you're talking about? 

Even if this whole text link with CSS images is too complex, it seems like
the web is going away from graphical
representations of text in general.  What you lose in graphics, you gain
back in SEO and accessibility - that's an 
easy way to pitch it to a client.  Besides, CSS can do some stunning things
with text.  A good example is 
http://www.particletree.com - the only images on that page are with a
specific purpose, and not to replace text. 

Also, I'd question you in saying that continuous movement, audio that loads
automatically, and "whizzy stuff" is
enhancing to the user experience.  Honestly, I'm more prone to turn off a
site with these features, especially the 
audio that plays automatically - when you reload the site, it reloads the
audio, and that's just annoying :)  Have you
gotten feedback that this is positive, or is it just what the client wants?

-Tim
www.timpalac.com


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