What a great article from Jim Byrne! I love that he takes a stand against creating websites that are accessible to “everyone.” It is a subject I was always curious about. He points out that we are striving for too much in wanting a site to be accesible to the whole world. Everyone is too broad a definition.
No single website is going to work for every user in the same way. If it HAS to be equal to all users, say for a government site, then yes of course you should take every measure to do so. Aside from that, all sites are not created equal simply because of the content they contain. I for one am a perfectly average person with a typical use of the web. If I go to a site on astro-physics, I’m not going to understand it just because it is written in plain text. I don’t understand physics, no matter how simple the language is.
I totally agree with Byrne’s notion that we must make websites accessible to machines first, then people. If our computer doesn’t understand what we are saying, how is our user going to? Something gets lost in translation that way. That’s why we triple check our coding in every browser- web designers need to know that the computer understands. I believe we use technology to help people understand. From the tools were allowed by technology, we can arrange information in ways that makes it easier for people to take in. None of that would be possible if the computer didn’t understand first!