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Accessible Blogs

30/07/2007

Author’s note: this post was written in 2007.  At time of revision (Aug 2009) far more information is available regarding the accessibility of many blogging services.  For example Wordpress supply a detailed codex relating to accessibility for Bloggers. There are also now excellent services such as Web2Access that provide centralised resources giving advice about accessibility and tools such as blogs.

I was invited to talk to a Young Pioneers group in North Nottinghamshire at the Holocaust Centre, early last month. The group are seeking to create the first British memorial to disabled people killed during the holocaust and are considering accessible ways to get responses and discussion from other disabled people and groups across the UK and internationally.

Finding out about accessibility from blog providers themselves can be difficult, and there doesn’t appear to be a centralised accessibility resource directly concerned with blogs. Many people with disabilities’ own blogs appear to be hosted everywhere and anywhere. Evidently, general accessibility guidelines such as the Web Accessibility Initiative apply to content, but blog servers can be opaque on the subject of the steps they have taken to ensure an accessible interface for users, and accessible results for visitors. So which service should you use? Typepad?!

On what I could find, Google’s ‘Blogger’ is cited as the most friendly blog format. Their blog templates are all CSS based, standards compliant, and usability tested. But this is old information (see stopdesign, 2004). So who currently holds the blogging accessibility crown? In a very-straw poll, stemming from the favourites listed by Ouch, the BBC’s Disability Lifestyle e-Zine, I found that Blogspot is, perhaps, most popular with people with disabilities.  I’ll post more ‘facts’ as I find them.  Please contribute if you have any thoughts…

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