[thelist] Macromedia.com redesigned

Seb seb at members.evolt.org
Wed Mar 5 18:20:03 CST 2003

>Yeah, the teeming hordes of blind wanna be web developers with
>incompatible screen readers that happen to look into buying software
>while MM's home page is in beta, and Linux freaks too cantankerous to
>bother rolling over to a computer set up similarly to 99.9% of the
>Internet's population before they start spewing off That. They've.
>Made. Up. Their. Minds. And. Everyone. Who's. Ideas. Are. Different.
>Than. Theirs. Is. Wrong. Period.

Okay, I didn't want to get into this tonight, as I'm tired and haven't got
time to do a full write up, but some points:

It's not about blind wanna be web developers. It's about people who suffer
from any kind of visual impairment. I know several developers in this
situation, and the inability to do basic things like change the font size,
the colours and turn off background images are *absolutely fundamental* to
how easy it is for them to use the site. We're talking people who use MM
products on a daily basis. Accessibility is about how easy it is for people
to access information, not talking in terms of extreme disabilities. It is
far too often dismissed into irrelevance by people who ought to try to
understand the subject before making gross simplifications and descending
into insults.

Beta. Beta beta beta. The only people who ever should see any site or
software whilst in beta *are the beta testers*. Public sites aren't beta.
They're live. They're the finished article. If you have to start soliciting
feedback about a design, do some testing, don't just dump it on the public
and expect them to deal with it or to do your work for you. This is a basic
principle of quality assurance. Don't end-of-life a finished, public
product until the replacement is ready. Definitely don't do it if that
product is the only way that a large number of users can access the
information they need to buy other products from you.

>>If Macromedia itself can't disprove the point, what the hell
>>chance does it have of convincing the rest of us to try?
>The point being that you're not interested in become a Flash developer,
>of course.

So what? I'm not a Flash developer, and never will be. I do, however, use
Macromedia's site as my first port of call for information about a range of
their products that I do use, and to find out more general information that
enables me, as someone with purchasing authority, to buy and recommend
their products. Until I  can view the site again at work (which I can't do,
because it *crashes my browser* - another cantankerous linux freak), I
can't access that information reliably.

Hell, once a site crashes my browser, I generally make a point of not using
it again. So do most people I know. It's called a "barrier to entry", and
it's part of that accessibility thing.

There's also the problem that a number of large corporate clients who I
work with and have worked with in the past, who don't use Flash 6. Full
stop. The simple reason is that they have strict network management
policies in place that prevent their (potentially thousands) of employees
from installing plugins. If I'm trying to sell one of these customers a
site license for one of Macromedia's products, they'll likely tell me the
site is unusable, and they'll come up with an alternative product that they
can find on a site they can use.

- seb


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