One Alt Attribute at a Time

    January 12, 2007

It’s so easy to forget the universe extends past our own elbows. I was trying to recall when I first became interested in website accessibility, and I can’t remember.

For me, incentives to make improvements to websites for special needs people likely came about because many of them spoke up about their problems.

Sometimes we hear them. Sometimes we don’t.

Witnessing a severely seeing impaired person trying to read a website on a laptop, a few years ago, made a big impression on me. I find it hard to get her struggle out of my head, and yet her attitude was of gracious acceptance. For her, this is how things simply are.

My friends, Matt Bailey and Joe Dolson are my teachers for accessible web design. Each of them found their passion for it because something in their personal everyday lives made accessibility issues obvious. They could see past their elbows because there was something to look at.

What about those of us who don’t?

My friend, Elizabeth Able, came to Cre8asiteforums as an unknown person. As we got to know her, we learned that her mother has a school for blind or partially sighted children called the Louis Braille School. She is now a Moderator and our Blog Editor. When the time came for web design help for the school’s website, Liz sought the help of the forums. The experience of making school’s website accessible for its target market provided the perfect opportunity for the rest of us to learn.

Recently, Joe accepted an invitation to become a Moderator at Cre8asiteforums. Liz has posted an Interview with Joe Dolson on the forums blog. One source for his passion is also his mother.

My mother is the executive director of VSA Montana, the Montana state affiliate for VSA Arts – an organization dedicated to making the arts accessible to people with disabilities.

There are times when I feel frustrated because I wish to be “doing more”. That phrase’s meaning changes on a regular hormonal basis. Some days, I want to rush out and save something (environment, children in poverty, people in war torn countries, struggling single parents) and some days I want to recycle or give to a good home every bit of waste I see in the house (Stefan’s socks in the living room, the stupid junk mail from the mailbox).

As a person doing business on the web, who some people know, I think that I could do some good somewhere, for someone, the way the companies do in this piece called Simple Question: Who Else Can Win?

Maybe all it takes is one new image alt attribute or text link title attribute a day, to get a feeling of accomplishing something positive for somebody.

It’s a terribly small piece of html code, but a leap forward for humankind.

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Walk beside me, that we may be as one.” Ute, Native American proverb.



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Uability Consultant, Kimberly Krause Berg, is the owner of,, and Cre8asiteForums. Her background in organic search engine optimization, combined with web site usability consulting, offers unique insight into web site development.