People who know me in person know that I’m from Wisconsin and a fan of the Green Bay Packers. Fortunes for both the Pack and accessibility have improved since I was a kid watching Packer defeat after defeat and limited to only radio coverage of the post game aftermath.
Today there’s a better than 50% chance the Pack will win a game and I can read all the press coverage I want from hundreds of online news sources. One of my favorites is the Packers Blog from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Packer beat reporter Greg A. Bedard is really a standout reporter and illustration of how to use a blog effectively for sports journalism.
Bedard recently started rating player performances after each game and a summary of what the team would do to cut the roster down to 53 by the time of the 2010 NFL campaign. The initial blogs for both of these topics featured a graphical chart for the data being discussed, which was obviously not very accessible.
I wrote a simple e-mail asking for a text version of the info, making the standard offer to give more details and such as needed. It was a treat then to see Bedard start including tabular versions of the data by publishing Google Docs versions of the spreadsheets I suspect he uses to generate the graphical info.
Oh sure, the accessibility isn’t perfect and the industry behind any tool that generates HTML can do more to make accessibility happen automatically. Hint, The W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative has an authoring tool working group devoted to this very topic with guidelines out for last call review.
It was refreshing to have these tables just show up after one simple request without a lot of back and forth or need to convince someone that accessibility really does matter. So as they chant at Lambeau, Go Pack Go! And thanks to one beat reporter for making his work available to more of his audience.