Accessibility statements and site viewing options

In Glaucoma and photography, Richard Rutter notes that the Glaucoma Research Foundation has a really well-written accessibility statement. Reading it reminds me that I really need to revisit the accessibility statements I write. I say reminds me because in December Gez Lemon posted a guide to Writing a Good Accessibility Statement, and after reading that article I realised I had a bit of work to do.

One more thing that strikes me about is the way it presents various options for text size, contrast and layout. I'm not normally a fan of site viewing widgets like the tiny graphical buttons you can use to change text size that many public sector websites use. They are almost always nothing but cosmetic patches to sites that are in desperate need of major surgery. Not to mention the fact that they are in most cases just replicating functionality that is best left to the browser, as mentioned by Patrick H. Lauke in Big Button Report misses the point?.

But the way they are implemented on the site I find myself actually using them. Worth noting is that there is an option to switch between multi-column and single-column layouts. You don't find that very often.

I'm not sure what it is that makes these widgets seem so much more usable than the awkward ones that are so common. Maybe it's that the designers had the courage to put them in a bar across the top of the site instead of trying to hide them.

What is everyone's thoughts on widgets of this kind?

Posted on May 10, 2006 in Quicklinks, Accessibility