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Building Accessible Websites (VOICES) Paperback – October 11, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Using a strategic approach to the issues in a journalistic style, this book will be a foundation for how people think about this issue going forward-the first book people would read on the topic, before delving into the minutiae of the moment.

With lawsuits and human-rights complaints proliferating, and with simple awareness of accessibility percolating through the industry, soon it will be hard to find a web shop that won't be producing accessible sites, whether it presently has the experience and know-how or not. Government mandates, lawsuits from disability groups, more non-English speaking web users, and an increasing population of Web-enabled devices make this a vital topic.

About the Author

Toronto journalist and accessibility consultant Joe Clark's 20-year obsession with accessibility dates back to a fateful winter night in the mid-'70s when he stumbled across a captioned TV show. Clark bolsters his portfolio of nearly 400 published articles with a strong background in graphic design and over ten years of experience online.

He writes, programs, and designs web sites from scratch. Dubbed "the king of closed captions" by the Atlantic Monthly, Clark also consults with clients to improve the quality and quantity of accessible sites, video, cinema, and television.

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Product Details

  • Series: VOICES
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders Press (October 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073571150X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735711501
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,140,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By James on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
First of all, I would like commend Mr. Clark for addressing this topic at all. Accessibility is an important in computer development.
While the content seems to be accurate, and quite detailed to the point that you could use the information in the book to actually build a site with it, the writing is so poor and very difficult to read. Mr. Clark needs to throw away his thesaurus and hire an editor. He would be better off delivering his message in a clear and concise manner, and spend less time writing in a very "fancy" way that would be better suited for thesis papers rather than a book targeted towards the masses. This heavy style of writing makes it a difficult book to digest while riding the subway.
Pretentious - the one word I would use to describe the overall style of writing. This really put me off as a reader, making the content even more difficult to absorb. (In one case, the author actually explains his choice of word, "indention" as opposed to the more commonly used "indentation". His explanation seemed to imply that everyone who uses "indentation" is clearly *wrong*; two online dictionaries confirmed that "indentation" could have been used.) Of course, my opinion that the writing of this book is pretentious could also come from actually having met the author.
Read this book only if you really have the time to struggle through all his big words to get at the meaning behind them.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Craig Cecil on October 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Written in 2002, this book is still considered the gold standard in web accessibility. I have no idea why. What Joe Clark has accomplished here is to spread about 20 pages of good accessibility information across a 400 page miasma. Most web designers don't care about the history of captioning and transcription systems--we just want the facts, man. What should we do, and what should we avoid. Best practices. Etc. That info is in here, but you have to cut a swath through the verbosity to find much of it. Or just read the last page of each chapter, which summarizes the previous 40-odd pages in six or less sentences. Save yourself the price of the book and scan through the entire text of the book online. In the end, Building Accessible Websites is an inaccessible read.
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133 of 151 people found the following review helpful By BinaryHelix on January 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Am I the only one who finds the cover art to be a bit... questionable?
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Lindsay Wells on December 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
The information in to book is okay, but the little font really hurt my eyes. It felt like parts of me were being stretched to their limits; parts that just simply were not meant to be stretched. The book was pretty good though. A little dry for my taste. Oh, and if you look closely at the cover art, you can see a goat!
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book has some wonderful information. However, I find it ironic how this book discusses accessibility and the book itself is not accessible! It is written in tiny, tiny font. I had to use a maginifying glass to read it! After struggling through a few chapters, I moved on to another book, Maximum Accessibility, with much larger font.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul L. Bogen II on December 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
From the first line of the book it is obvious Joe Clark holds all other human beings in contempt and feels like his reader are idiots wasting his time.
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36 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Terry J. King on November 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to reading this, but what a disappointment. I need information on what the laws and standards actually are, not what Mr Clarke thinks they *should* be. This book seems less about accessibility, and more about Mr Clark. For example, there is an extended section triumphantly detailing every typeface used, every piece of software the author used to write the book - with version numbers - and we even learn the colour of his Mac. We find out who his friends are, and what music he listened to while he wrote the book. We are privileged to be told which of his friends gave us the CDs of those pieces of music. All of which leaves no room for discussion about such fripperies as JavaScript or PDF. Who'd want to learn about those in a book about Accessibility?
The book is also maddening to read. I need information, delivered relatively neutrally. The typeface used next to figures has an annoying, pretentious little loop between 's' and 't's, making it difficult to read. The main title font has exactly the same size caps as lowercase, when Mr Clarke of all people should know that a lot of reading is carried out by recognising the 'shape' of words rather than reading each character (that's why READING ALL CAPITALS IS SO DIFFICULT). The index is poor and badly laid out, the screenshots are fuzzy and difficult to see. Then there's the author's verbal tic of dropping in french words when the English would suffice, which is tres annoying, n'est ce pas? Especially to those who don't parle Francais. The constant authorial interventions to demonstrate his own learning makes reading the book feel like being hectored by some prissy, preening self-obsessive.
My verdict (to take one of the chapter titles as a two-word summary): Why bother?
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gerard L. Torenvliet on December 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this book, Clark presents a lot of advice to help authors in creating accessible websites. Each chapter gives advice (albeit very opinionated) on how to design accessibility into a page. Because this is done outside the pale of established accessibility standards, this is not a book to read if you want to learn the standards. However, this perspective does emphasize that accessibility is much more than just meeting a few checklists on a Section 508 or W3C WCAG form.
Clark's writing is engaging and colourful; that having been said, if you tend to appreciate dispassionate books, this is not a book for you.
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