The idea of web accessibility has been a hot topic in web development. According to Wikipedia, Web accessibility refers to the practice of making Web pages accessible to people using a wide range of user agent software and devices, not just standard Web browsers. This is especially important for people with disabilities such as visual impairment. Design for accessibility is a sub-category of good design for usability.
Web accessibility has peeked commercial interests also because websites that are accessible work well on mobile devices and allows for easy syndication of content to many platforms - publish once, use many times.
Recently there has been a lot of buzz around the idea of Sustainable Web Development and Design 21 seems like a good forum to discuss the concept. So, I begin ...
From an ecological perspective, sustainability is conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources. I've been working on websites going on 15 years and the same issues always creep up. A website is designed and 1-2 years later, it needs to be redesigned because the organization has grown or the business requirements have changed. This cycle is not sustainable because the website is always behind the organization (as opposed to in-line with it) and creates a financial drain.
Sustainable Web Development includes accessibility but then extends it to scalabilty and agility. Scalability is the ability to grow the website and its functionality without having to start over. Agility is the ability to change the requirements for the website - how things work - without having to start over.
The benefits of this are clear, but are only defined in financial terms. "Let's create a website that doesn't create a financial and effort drain on our organization."
What are the other characteristics of Sustainable web design and development? This post is an attempt to start the conversation and trigger ideas. It is the first post to the **Accessible Web" interest group. Feel free to respond to this post or post directly to the group.