by Malcolm Rowe

Designing for the blind

OK, here I go. I’m going to make this whole website right now on this dry-erase board.

Actually, I don’t own a dry-erase board. This is just the top of my refrigerator.

Miranda July, noonebelongsheremorethanyou.com

Miranda July — who turns out to be the writer/director/star of Me and You and Everyone We Know — has a promotional site for her new book No one belongs here more than you.

This one’s a bit different from the usual stock “here’s my book, here’s my bio” site: it’s a web site composed as a series of photographs. It’s clever, funny, unique, creative, cheap to make, and sure to be very effective. I might even buy a copy myself (and Seth Godin, who I found the site from, likes it too).

The elephant in the corner, of course (and I’m surprised Seth didn’t at least mention this), is accessibility.

Here’s what lynx (my poor man’s screen reader) sees if you visit the page about book tours:

                No one belongs here more than you. Stories by Miranda July 
Presenting: No One Belongs Here More Than You, a new book of short stories
   by Miranda July -- that woman who made Me and You and Everyone We Know.

    * <-
    * ->

Now, sure, some of the point of the site would be completely lost in a text-only presentation, so maybe it’s not worth the trouble to make an accessible version? Right?

But even if you don’t care about blind people, Mark Pilgrim said it best:

I’ve been saying for years that Googlebot is just another blind user with 100 million friends. The only thing that’s really changed is the number of friends.
Mark Pilgrim, diveintomark.org