Contemplating Web Design.

I’ll admit it. This week’s reading made me totally embarrassed about the appearance of my blog. My title, the layout and design I chose, it’s configuration. It’s all just… terrible. (But it can be fixed!)

But it also got me thinking about what it could be, who I want to share my work with and what I want people to see. One of the take-aways from this collection of readings was that the construction and configuration of a site matters, and it matters a great deal. Putting thought and effort into that process returns great rewards in terms of impact. 

When I think about this process (and my final project for this class) I’ve started contemplating what the possibilities are. Given my research interests and the academic community in which I am engaged, accessibility and audience are chief concerns of mine.  In considering the form and function of my site, I’ve gathered inspiration (obviously completely outside of my skill set, but inspirational nonetheless) from two sites that handle language and access in an interesting way. 

  • The Deaf Studies Digital Journal – This is a peer-reviewed journal that is experimenting with the combination of American Sign Language and English in several ways – Journal articles are presented in American Sign Language, accompanied by pdf articles/transcripts in written English (Note: even the navigation menus provide ASL access)
  • Deaf Magazine – combines print and web to provide German Sign Language videos to accompany written content.

As both these demonstrate, the term “accessibility” can mean much more when we consider the unique web-usage of community members. It also sparks some reflection for me about low-vision/deafblind individuals and the complexity of providing accessible web experiences.