Introducing Web Beauty Tips

My Little Solution to the Frumpy Accessible Web

What better way for a design-loving lightweight like me to help spruce up the Accessible Web than to write a series of Web Beauty Tips? That’s how I plan to combat the blight of dowdy, behind-the-times looks that seem to be the norm for otherwise awesome accessible websites.

I’ve already explained why I’m doing this. Now on to what and how. . . .

But first, two important clarifications:

  1. Web beauty tips aren’t just for ladies and gays. (But surely that never crossed your mind.) These will be no-sweat pointers for those inspired to create accessible sites that are alluringly handsome, surprisingly appealing, magnetically attractive…. Put more prosaically, they will be smallish adaptations that make your already inclusive sites also create great first impressions and draw your users in.
  2. I’m absolutely NOT going for drop-dead gorgeous. That’s way too much of a good thing and risks the look overthrowing the content. A beauty coup? No way. These will merely be simple, smallish ways to make things easier on the eye — akin to sprucing up a corner of a room.

How I plan to do this is to create some showcases in tandem with writing a series of posts. I’ll be focusing on a variety of topics, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • blockquotes;
  • buttons;
  • tables;
  • read more links;
  • white space;
  • smaller images;
  • fonts;
  • search forms;
  • and, of course, color.

The heart of the series will be the various showcases. I’m inspired by Smiley Cat, whose showcases fell off the Web for a few weeks late last year, but happily are back. Thank goodness.

My guess is these showcases will expand over time. We’ll see. No promises.

Meanwhile, hearkening back to the my first post in this series, my approach is based on four principles:

  1. Make it attractive.
  2. Keep it small, bite-sized, simple, easy. In other words, I’ll laser-beam in on bits and pieces of the beautifully accessible web.
  3. “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” Don’t let fear of failure on either the accessibility or attractiveness fronts stop you. It’s not stopping me. By the way, “badly” doesn’t mean half-hearted, let alone dowdy. Please read this amazing analysis of G.K. Chesterton’s words.
  4. Have fun.

A picture being worth a thousand words, let us on to the first case study: our unsung hero, the Beautifully Accessible Blockquote.