Thanks for the article below. I agree whole-heartedly and considered applying this entry as a comment to the article below, except I was already planning to blog about this. The recent lawsuit of Target by the National Federation of the Blind is only a small indication of what’s to come.
If you’ve received Communications Arts Interactive Annual 12, you were probably impressed with the design and diversity of design solutions as I was. The sophistication of these sites is astounding. And the panel of judges were certainly leaders in their respective fields.
What I found shocking was the predominance of Flash-only based Web sites. Not just integrated chunks here and there, but full flash sites with embedded navigation and content. Of the 30 Web sites awarded, only 3 were traditional HTML-based sites and only our good friends at Veer had a standards-based CSS driven Web site. (I should note that a few of the sites had text-only versions, but they were more like after thoughts.)
At the risk of sounding like Jacob Nielsen, I think the judges chose style and presentation over usability and universal access. I’ve always considered CA a standard-bearer in the print world, and for a time in the web world too. But their choice of awardees sends a single to the design community that they are certainly not the standards-bearer. I’ll save the benefits of standards-based design for another article.
Flash has it’s purpose. We love Flash and use it extensively. My hope that we can educate the business community at large that a Flash site is the only way to set yourself apart. A little help from our peers CA would be nice.