Boagworld Show S07E04

Web & Digital Advice

Digital and web advice from Headscape and the addled brain of Paul Boag... tell me more

Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Friday, 4th October, 2013

Access CSS

This week on the Boagworld web design podcast, should we use CSS frameworks on live sites and is it okay for accessibility to hold back innovation?

Season 7:
The estimated time to read this article is 47 minutes
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Paul Boag:
This week on the Boagworld web design podcast should we be using CSS frameworks on live websites and is it okay for accessibility to hold back innovation?

So I accidentally bought an iPhone 5S over the weekend, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Did you really?

Paul Boag:
I slipped.

Marcus Lillington:
I haven’t seen this thing.

Paul Boag:
It’s downstairs. I haven’t bought it up here.

Marcus Lillington:
You didn’t get the gold one?

Paul Boag:
Because I don’t want it to go [noise] in the microphone, like it does. When phones when they ….

Marcus Lillington:
I tend to find that it’s only certain networks that do that, like Vodafone does it.

Paul Boag:
Right. That’s interesting. Also on an unrelated note why are you wearing glasses, while we’re doing this?

Marcus Lillington:
Because as I commented to Chris on my way out, I said Chris have you – do you find that your glasses are getting – your glasses – your eyes are getting worse daily now and he goes yes. No he didn’t say that.

Paul Boag:
So you’re wearing them all the time now?

Marcus Lillington:
No. I’m wearing them whenever I am looking at a screen.

Paul Boag:
Oh, okay. I see. It just could be – yes so I accidentally slipped and bought an iPhone S.

Marcus Lillington:
Accidentally slipped?

Paul Boag:
It was seriously.

Marcus Lillington:
I tried to accidentally slipped this morning, but they’d run out.

Paul Boag:
Oh, right. Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Because I found myself in a phone shop as you know.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So it was a really interesting one because I had no in – I got conned actually.

Marcus Lillington:
You were conned?

Paul Boag:
I do think.

Marcus Lillington:
Really? Really?

Paul Boag:
Normally I’m really good …

Marcus Lillington:
I was conned into this thing I really like. But you’ve got a 5, what’s the difference?

Paul Boag:
Yes. Well exactly.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve got 4S, so it’s – I’m allowed to have one.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. So what happened was my wife has reached the end of a contract.

Marcus Lillington:
This is going to be so unbelievable, isn’t it? What you are about to say is going to – is going to be completely rubbish.

Paul Boag:
No, actually it is – no, it’s not actually. It is going to demonstrate that I really was conned.

Marcus Lillington:
Well not conned, conned.

Paul Boag:
I had a – the salesperson …

Marcus Lillington:
Your wife persuaded you or the salesperson?

Paul Boag:
The salesperson managed …

Marcus Lillington:
Persuaded you both?

Paul Boag:
Yes, it was really weird. So we went in, okay and our intention was she was at the end of her contract and our attention was that we will go in and we would buy her a pay as you go sim, right like for example Three. We were convinced that Three did a pay as you go SIM with limited data £15 a month rolling contract, right.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, if you go into phone shops like that and you go you’ve got one of these advertised, they go, yes well that was the last week.

Paul Boag:
Yes, exactly. So we went in and I’m still confused as to why that wouldn’t work. There was some reason. I think it was because they convinced me and I’m not sure that I believe this that Kath’s iPhone was locked to O2 which is the network she is already on.

Marcus Lillington:
Can unlock them, no problem. O2 will do that for you.

Paul Boag:
I know.

Marcus Lillington:
Takes – it usually takes about three weeks to do it, or you can get the bloke down in the market to do it.

Paul Boag:
Yes, so or I could have done it myself. I’ve unlocked phones before myself. So that …

Marcus Lillington:
So that’s no reason.

Paul Boag:
So you know I’m not saying there is any legitimate reason, but at the time standing in the shop it felt like oh, that’s not an option any more, all right? So somehow through this convoluted conversation we went from getting a pay as you go sim that was going to cost my wife about £15 a week – of a month to getting an iPhone 5S on a 30 – sorry, £42 a month contract that last two years. And I don’t know how I got from one to the other thinking it was sensible honestly I don’t.

Marcus Lillington:
Honestly, honestly.

Paul Boag:
Honestly.

Marcus Lillington:
So and Kath got nothing?

Paul Boag:
She has got my old 5.

Marcus Lillington:
But with a …

Paul Boag:
With a 24 months contract and I don’t know how it happened. I honestly – don’t make that face at me.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh – you always tell me off things like this or make me out to be this kind of completely frivolous person and look what you’ve done?

Paul Boag:
I know. I didn’t mean to.

Marcus Lillington:
But I did try to buy one myself this morning. Well I said, when will my contract be up and they said it was October 13, but you can upgrade now. Will it be better off because this is one that – because I ask questions like will I be better off taking a completely new contract once my contract. Oh no, sir – no, no, but an upgrade is certainly a better deal if you’re on an existing contract and I’m just going yes okay, like you do. And fortunately I wasn’t able to be conned into anything because they didn’t have any.

Paul Boag:
See that was my problem.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
It’s the combination of – it was something I wanted they had it in the shop there and then.

Marcus Lillington:
Did he wave it at you like that?

Paul Boag:
To all intents and purposes, yes. It felt very much like that. I mean if they’d only had a gold one left, I would have walked out.

Marcus Lillington:
Then you still would have gone with the gold one?

Paul Boag:
No, no I wouldn’t. There is no way I was going to …

Marcus Lillington:
Champagne, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Champagne. Disgusting, but they’ve sold out. They proved so popular.

Marcus Lillington:
Of course they have. People like bling things.

Paul Boag:
People have got no taste.

Marcus Lillington:
My daughter would love a gold one.

Paul Boag:
Would she really?

Marcus Lillington:
My daughter …

Paul Boag:
Your daughter has no taste then.

Marcus Lillington:
She has a different taste.

Paul Boag:
A wrong taste. I’m back to being bigoted again.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh yes I remember bigoted, Paul.

Paul Boag:
He is back.

Marcus Lillington:
Good to see you again. My daughter is very much of my mind because you may remember I took Friday off?

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Basically I was ordered around the place by my wife. Everything hurts and as you know I was struggling to get sentences out earlier, because I’ve just basically been this slave to make the house the right way up and the garden tidied and everything for the last three days for her, for my daughter’s 21st birthday tea party with all the rellies and everything yesterday. So that’s gone now. So all the weight of the world has been released from my shoulders.

Paul Boag:
Nice.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. But yes my little girl is 21.

Paul Boag:
Wow!

Marcus Lillington:
She would like a gold iPhone 5S, no doubt about it.

Paul Boag:
Did you not buy her one then?

Marcus Lillington:
No, I didn’t. I bought her some nice earrings; you are supposed to buy jewelry. Jewelry – these were nice, quite expensive ones I might add. Jewelry is 21st birthday present, I believe traditionally. I also took her on holiday, took her out for lovely meal, I probably will pay for a flight to wherever she wants to go for Christmas.

Paul Boag:
You think you could throw in an iPhone as well; you’re a pop star after all.

Marcus Lillington:
Was a pop star and that was a very long time ago. And I did buy my son then an iPhone 5 for his birthday, his 18th birthday.

Paul Boag:
Oh, okay.

Marcus Lillington:
So its – yes.

Paul Boag:
My son was angling for him to have the 5S. He is 10.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Was that going to happen? No.

Marcus Lillington:
James didn’t get a contract phone or anything – he had an iPod touch.

Paul Boag:
So what do you think of iOS 7 then?

Marcus Lillington:
Love it. Love it. Love it

Paul Boag:
You love it.

Marcus Lillington:
I think it’s fabulous.

Paul Boag:
I am pretty pleased with it as well.

Marcus Lillington:
I really like minimalist design. So I’m bound to like it.

Paul Boag:
It’s a bit – it has to grow on you. There are certain things I didn’t like to …

Marcus Lillington:
I had various friends in the pub on Friday going, they’ve broken my phone. I hate it. It is shit. Look, I have to do that the other way now and all this kind of stuff. I was like you know and I try to give them the kind of moving with the times and making a design statement and they just said no it’s shit.

Paul Boag:
Really funny. That’s a really funny video on Youtube. I don’t think I can find – I might try and find it in the show for the show notes if I can be bothered but probably not, which is of a child being given the iPhone with the new operating system on, spontaneously burst into tears. It was an – hysterically so. It was like you have ruined my phone. Well my son had the complete opposite reaction. He was actually drooling on the phone for all intents and purposes he might as well have been. He just thought it was the most wonderful thing ever.

Marcus Lillington:
I think it’s fabulous.

Paul Boag:
I do like it.

Marcus Lillington:
Because it’s all about interaction design and in a little space, it’s just lovely.

Paul Boag:
Yes, what I really like about it actually is one some of the – I mean there are a lot of good things.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m not so interested on the iPad, it’s on the phone that I really love it

Paul Boag:
Right, yes. Yes, you’re right. It’s better. And there are some nice – obviously some nice new features, a lot of which has been ripped off from android, but it’s the details, the little things. It’s like have you scrolled up and down on messages, right. Where the bubbles – you have chat bubbles they kind of bounce against one another as you scroll them and there is – the way that an app zooms in on it and zooms out again, its beautiful. And it’s really interesting to see which – because a load of apps have suddenly updated. They have all gotten you know – we’ve gone iOS 7. But you can see the ones that have really got it and those that haven’t, because those that haven’t have just gone flat basically. They’ve removed all of the bevels and embosses and gradients and the rest of it. But something like Zite for example has – which is made up of a series of cards that are new stories.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, yes I’ve got it. Hardly ever open it but yes.

Paul Boag:
But now as the cards appear on the screen, because you’re scrolling down and new cards appear. They kind of zoom into place, they’ve added that subtlety of anima. It’s the animation that really gets me excited I think?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, well that’s – if you like that’s the bevels and embosses of the new design.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Because it’s much more animated.

Paul Boag:
Yes, that’s the delight isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, exactly. But I really like the kind of minimalist white design as well.

Paul Boag:
I do. And I like how – I like the layer thing where the colors come through. I think that’s really nice as well. But there are some annoying things as well. I’m still – I still feel bits of it are not as intuitive as they could be.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, it’s complicated. It’s a big complicated thing. So some of it won’t be intuitive, some of it you do have to learn. But this is a genuine question.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
My wife she hasn’t updated yet, because she’s like change, don’t want that. But I have noticed on her phone somebody me probably, when I was fiddling with it …

Paul Boag:
I will tell you something about fiddling with iPhones in a minute.

Marcus Lillington:
Someone’s just put the lock on that stops it changing. Can I find how to put that back on again?

Paul Boag:
On the old version.

Marcus Lillington:
On the old version.

Paul Boag:
You go; you double tap the home page in order to bring up the bar. The bar where you’re closing applications and you flip along left, the other way

Marcus Lillington:
Where the music controls are

Paul Boag:
Yes and it is in there

Marcus Lillington:
See, what’s it doing in there.

Paul Boag:
Secret.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, it’s a bloody secret because I was like it has got to be in general somewhere.

Paul Boag:
My shit of a son who I love deeply. I was – so all …

Marcus Lillington:
Turned it into Arabic.

Paul Boag:
All of Saturday, worse, all of Saturday he was playing Grand Theft Auto, which I was not amused at, because I wanted to play it right

Marcus Lillington:
Is it appropriate for a 10-year-old to play Grand Theft?

Paul Boag:
No. It’s massively, massively not.

Marcus Lillington:
Do you think you ought to be saying that sought of things to our millions of listeners

Paul Boag:
I really wish I hadn’t you know. There is a lot you need to understand about my son and his autism and the way that he responds differently to things like that, all right. Just let’s leave it at that. Trust me as a parent. I’m actually getting red in the face at this. Damn I wish I hadn’t said that. Anyway, yes he was – so he was – I wanted to get on and I wanted to play, okay. I do need to just say that there are bits of the content I have purposely hidden from him, I’m playing ahead of it.

Marcus Lillington:
I use to let my son play shoot’em ups when he was that age.

Paul Boag:
Yes. But this is …

Marcus Lillington:
Not swear’em ups.

Paul Boag:
Yes, this is swear’em up and a lot of sex in it as well. I mean the language is horrendous, but I’ve never heard him swear in his life, funniest thing. Anyway, so I finally managed to chuck him off, so I could play for a bit. I sat down and he sat next to me, fiddling, he was basically going I want to get back on, I want to get back on, I want to get back on, so he didn’t actually go and he start fiddling with this phone and he password locked the bugger, right. And then promptly forgot the pin number.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve got a similar – we are just not going to do any of the normal podcast today.

Paul Boag:
Just it was so annoying, so I then had to stop because he went into again his Asperger’s thing, he went into a complete meltdown over this, it was the end of the world, he is never going to get to use his phone again. So I had to then stop to go and fix his frigging phone and it took forever because in iOS 7 it’s got an activation lock thing and you have to restore it. But then I didn’t have the right version of iTunes, it took me hours, just ahhh. Anyway yes …

Marcus Lillington:
That’s nowhere near as annoying as my one.

Paul Boag:
What?

Marcus Lillington:
Because in the three-day rebuild my house I’ve just been through, Caroline said I want to get that long – we got this thing, we call it the settle, it’s like a long wooden seat, four people, five people to sit on it, it’s massive.

Paul Boag:
28 people.

Marcus Lillington:
And it’s in the sort of back toilet boot room type thing, which …

Paul Boag:
In the servants wing?

Marcus Lillington:
… it’s in the servants wing, yes. And all the ceilings are really low as you can picture in my house. I mean we’ve got get through that, got to go through, we’ve got a conservatory in – on the back of the house and a back door that we walk through all the time and next to that which used to be the back of the house before the conservatory was built, was two basically double glass doors that open.

Paul Boag:
You didn’t put it through that glass door, right?

Marcus Lillington:
No, no. I don’t know where the keys have gone for this door.

Paul Boag:
All right. You can’t open it.

Marcus Lillington:
I can’t open it. And it was like I’m – it’s just annoying me. Thinking about it now it’s like – so I don’t know what to do about it. What do I just kick it open or do I get a locksmith to come around and they go I suppose you could saw the lock inside if you had it strong enough.

Paul Boag:
But they reckon – locksmiths reckon they can open any lock.

Marcus Lillington:
Really?

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
I saw it on a van recently.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. I need them around.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
But anyway, highly, highly and –

Paul Boag:
Mine was more annoying

Marcus Lillington:
We opened that door once every five years and it’s like …

Paul Boag:
How many times have I said you’re badly organized? You bring these things on yourself, Marcus

Marcus Lillington:
I’m not going to say anymore, I’m just annoyed.

Paul Boag:
Me being the other end of that spectrum. You losing the key. I’ve got – you know those boxes you get, DIY boxes with little draws for nails and …

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I have those, Paul, full of nails and screws.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I have those …

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t just throw them in a bag in the shed.

Paul Boag:
I have one of those with keys in and ..

Marcus Lillington:
For each key?

Paul Boag:
No, no different, different and it’s all labeled up and because I’m dysfunctional. Right should we talk about web design for a bit, but that whole conversation about iOS 7, that was all user interface stuff. Although I don’t think you can do, I don’t like the trend of oh, Apple have done this on the iPhone, now we’re all going to copy it with websites. Websites are not frigging mobile phones. It’s a different experience. We were – I was ranting about this before, wasn’t I?

Marcus Lillington:
We discussed this last week.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Its flat design blah, blah, blah I can’t remember

Paul Boag:
Yes, something like that. Right so let’s talk about what I’m going to talk about today. Our first debate topic is about CSS frameworks.

Should we be using frameworks on live websites?

This house proposes that third party CSS frameworks should not be used on live websites.

Have your say

So, Marcus, you’re going to have a lot to say on this topic?

Marcus Lillington:
I think I’m going to lead the discussion.

Paul Boag:
I think really there are just occasions where you can come in as that voice of authority.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, basically I’m much like David here. David Shellies or Sheiles, most people don’t understand the frameworks.

Paul Boag:
Immediately that is you.

Marcus Lillington:
And even cutting out the parts you don’t need will still end up with code. Oh, I get this.

Paul Boag:
So you get it; let’s see what the house proposes.

Marcus Lillington:
Go on then.

Paul Boag:
Right. The house proposes that third-party CSS frameworks should not be used on live websites, all right?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So we’re talking here about you know what third-party CSS frameworks?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I know exactly what is frameworks. Yes, basically if you use a framework then you get a lot of stuff you don’t necessarily need.

Paul Boag:
That’s what David Sheiles is saying.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. So Dan downstairs would say you shouldn’t use them.

Paul Boag:
He would – yes, he would probably lean towards create your own, which I think somebody actually said.

Marcus Lillington:
Westley Knight. I agree with the house. I am a big fan of bespoke coding for the required task, resulting in more efficient code. That one maybe.

Paul Boag:
No, no that was one who actually suggest – here we go. It’s myqroft. Even if you’re using your own framework, it’s hard to deny how useful they are for speed. I’m generally in favor of creating your own. And I think that’s how Dan would feel. He keeps talking about doing it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, it’s useful. But – yeah, create your own framework I’m with you, rather than using a third-party. That’s almost like a separate issue though.

Paul Boag:
Well no, its not. It’s saying it goes back to David Sheiles point. The people don’t fully understand the frameworks they’re working with, right. So there is – and so they end up being bloated, these frameworks are much bigger than maybe the functionality you need. Well if it is your own framework, you can go I just won’t include that bit, because I know I am not going to use that.

Marcus Lillington:
You would understand the entirety of it.

Paul Boag:
Yes, and David Prince takes the other aspect of this, you shouldn’t be using them. He says the problem of abstraction is that there is an immediate disconnect between the developer and the underlying technology. Over reliance on framework can limit the developer’s understanding of what he is doing, the complexity of what he is doing. So again if it’s your own framework, you understand it, while using a third-party one you probably don’t.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, okay. But the thing, I have no opinion on this. So I can just read them out from the other side and feel like I don’t agree or disagree or agree with either side. And I guess the point is here before I even read anything is if you’re going to get the job done using a third-party framework and you are not without it, then you might as well just use the framework.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Well, I mean this is where you’re going to the things like budget and that kind of stuff and time constraints. But …

Marcus Lillington:
Although sorry I just got to make this point, because I’m – this is me being blind – nothing wrong with the tool but you need to understand what it is actually doing behind the scenes. Blindly using them will eventually bite you in the butt.

Paul Boag:
Yes and Scott W said that; and it’s a really good point, but I actually the big argument is it is okay to use frameworks is one that says that it’s quicker and it’s cheaper and all the rest of it. But another thing David Prince says which is sometimes the costs of implementation requires shoehorning, let’s say WordPress into something that’s fit-for-purpose. And that cost of getting the framework to do what you want it to do and the time involved in that can actually be more than creating a custom development from start, which is a fair point. Sometimes frameworks are great, if you’re trying to do what the framework is designed to do.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
If you try and get it to do anything different, then it’s going to start getting complicated.

Marcus Lillington:
But I don’t – as I say, I’m going to keep saying I don’t really which way, but…

Paul Boag:
No, no obviously.

Marcus Lillington:
Branko Šabarić, I think is how you say it, makes the point would you write in-house CMS when you can utilize WordPress or Drupal?

Paul Boag:
Yes. And that is a really good argument actually.

Marcus Lillington:
Maybe, but – maybe he says sometimes you would. We developed our own – oh we certainly extended both of those CMS technologies and written our own as well. But in most cases it simply works and you can focus on the important stuff content and design.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Yes, which is a really good point. You wouldn’t create your own in-house CMS. And I kind of fully accept that.

Marcus Lillington:
But we did, but now we don’t think that’s a good idea?

Paul Boag:
Well no, because now that people have done the work for you, so why …

Marcus Lillington:
In the future are we going to feel the same way?

Paul Boag:
I mean that brings you on to maintenance and stuff and there’s two sides to this. Laurence actually argues that maintenance can be a nightmare with lots of unnecessary overheads, if you’re trying to support a framework that you don’t really fully understand. But on the other hand if everyone in your team is all using the same framework, maintenance actually can be quicker and easier, because for example when jQuery updates to accommodate the latest I don’t know – browser or whatever, you can just upgrade to the latest – next version of JavaScript and know that those browser problems are going to be taken care of, because jQuery does it.

Marcus Lillington:
Why doesn’t everyone write their own JavaScript from…

Paul Boag:
A lot of people would argue the same about JavaScript as they would argue CSS.

Marcus Lillington:
So where do you draw the lines?

Paul Boag:
Exactly. I mean there is no right or wrong answer to this.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I don’t know. Tell me, Paul, which is the – which side of the fence should I sit on?

Paul Boag:
Either side. Yes, it is really arguable either way, because on one hand you have got Laurence arguing oh, if using third-party frameworks is a maintenance nightmare and then in the next sentence Sean is saying actually a framework could be a real boon in terms of ensuring consistent quality code. On one hand you’ve got David Prince talking about the disconnect between the developer and the underlying technology. And then DJ is writing that it abstracts away a great deal of complexity and you don’t have to deal with it. So it’s so dependent, it’s so dependent. Paul Kent gives a good argument for using CSS frameworks. I mean he just talks about freelancers are working on limited budgets. A framework is a good place to start it’s pragmatic.

Marcus Lillington:
Does it not depend on the skills of the coder as well?

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
If you’re not that great, maybe if you are or someone who is more of a kind of layout type person, but you’re a freelance and do everything and this is your weakness, then surely you’re doing your clients a good service by using these frameworks because the code is – it might be a bit bloated, but it’s going to be high quality.

Paul Boag:
But it’s of high quality, yes. Absolutely. I mean for example when I – because I’m not the best coder in the world anymore because I’ve …

Marcus Lillington:
Anymore? You were once the best coder in the world?

Paul Boag:
Okay. I am not at the height of my own abilities …

Marcus Lillington:
I didn’t know that, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Oh shut up. So I would say at one point I was a decent coder.

Marcus Lillington:
At one point you used to code ASP classic.

Paul Boag:
Oh yes, well that was a long time ago I used to do that. But when it came to rebuilding Boagworld recently, I adopted clearLESS which is a kind of CSS framework, linking the show notes to that. And actually it made me able to do it much, much quicker and I know that Jeremy was – and his team of coders was behind that and so I know the quality of it and it would be better than I could code myself. And also because of the way it was designed, it was very light way. So I think sometimes it’s about picking the right framework as well. I think it’s another part of it. I mean as is always the case with these things you can go either way and there are – it depends on doing it now, saying it depends. David Prince kind of summed it up for me when he said framework CSS or otherwise provide rapid development opportunities. Speed to market needs to be balanced with the inherent bloat and it comes down to the stronger business case should win. And that’s what it is all about at the end of the day.

Marcus Lillington:
Common sense.

Paul Boag:
Common sense. And this is on a case by case basis.

Marcus Lillington:
And this one is – this is case by case, Thomas says yes, it’s all of those things. You can make a sensible decision based on yes, this one it works on, this one it doesn’t or this isn’t my strength so I’m always going to use frameworks, yes. Its – you can …

Paul Boag:
I mean some of the debate topics like the second one we’ve got today I’ve got quite a strong opinion. And I’m obviously right. When I have a strong opinion that is the definitive answer, but in this case I really don’t. I love the fact that Dan will code everything from scratch because I know it will be lightweight, I know it will be fast, I know it will be efficient and I know that probably when I sit down and read through it I’ll get it, because its not got unnecessary stuffing, but equally I love the fact that using clearLESS made building Boagworld so much easier for me where my coding strengths aren’t quite strong as his and it was also my own project and I don’t care as much about those, that whether it uses one or not. Would I – equally if we had a client that came along and said it’s absolutely all about performance, performance is our primary thing then I would go, no let’s avoid using a CSS framework. But if another client came along and said we’re looking for something really good documentation on something, something we need is and we know is going to be robust over the long-term, something that you can get to market quickly, something that’s easy for us to maintain and learn, then a CSS framework might be appropriate. So it’s just kind of got to pick the right thing at the right time.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
Should we move on from that? Let’s go on to something that’s been more black and white. Let’s talk about accessibility.

Should accessibility hold back innovation?

This house proposes that accessibility shouldn’t be allowed to hold back innovation.

Have your say

Right so this one when I write these okay, and I put …

Marcus Lillington:
People assume you mean something, don’t they?

Paul Boag:
Yes. When I write these and I put them online.

Marcus Lillington:
Come and beat you with a stick.

Paul Boag:
Well actually – and also I try to write a bit background around them to kind of because it just gives …

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. To give an argument either way.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Well, I try not to. I try not to give an argument. I try to give both sides of the argument, make the statement and allow people to get on with it. Unfortunately sometimes my own biases slip through and it’s kind of obvious what I think. And I think this is probably one of those where I stacked it. Because it took a long time before anybody started to really agree with the sentiment of this. Because I actually I worded the – the statement is, this house proposes that accessibility shouldn’t be allowed to hold back innovation. So I purposely worded it the opposite of what I believe you – I absolutely believe accessibility has to be first, innovation should support whatever or how we innovate should be built on an accessible base. But I worded it the other way around on purpose to kind of counteract my own bias. But then what I wrote around it was probably so incredibly biased that it kind of shoved the comments in one particular direction. So I had trouble getting people to agree with it, to begin with. But then a few did come out of the woodwork.

Marcus Lillington:
To disagree with it?

Paul Boag:
No, to agree with it. This house proposes accessibility shouldn’t be allowed to be held back…

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
This house proposes that accessibility shouldn’t be allowed to hold back innovation.

Marcus Lillington:
All right. You just got your agrees and disagrees around the wrong way in your comments, that’s all there.

Paul Boag:
Have I?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Oh that’s stupid of me. Yes, you’re right. Yes, I’m going to change it, otherwise it’s really going to confuse the hell out of me as we go through.

Marcus Lillington:
Now I’m confused.

Paul Boag:
Now we’re just confusing one another. Okay, well let’s go through some of the comments, because some of them are really interesting.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. Some people agree, some people don’t.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So Steve – Steven Tew – Tew? Tew; Tew, Tew, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub; there is a reference nobody will get.

Marcus Lillington:
Do you think it’s Mr. and Mrs. Tew.

Paul Boag:
This Tew – two Tews.

Marcus Lillington:
Two Tews.

Paul Boag:
Steven Tew argues both sides of it, which confused me at different points.

Marcus Lillington:
He asked another question, yes go on.

Paul Boag:
He asked another question, which I think is a good question. I like and that’s why I wanted to kick off with his question which is, is actually – is the debate about whether we should hold back innovation because we are concerned about accessibility. Actually should the question be are assertive technologies able to …

Marcus Lillington:
Assistive technologies.

Paul Boag:
Assistive technologies – able to keep up with the pace of change? Which I think is actually a really good question. So the question there really is, is it actually our responsibility as web designers to be supporting accessibility or is it the responsibility of assistive technologies to keep up to date with the pace of change?

Marcus Lillington:
Can you give me an example of when – of something that wouldn’t be accessibility – accessible, but would be pushing the boundaries of innovation?

Paul Boag:
Right. Okay. Not necessarily pushing the boundaries of innovation anymore, but like I said it’s Ajax is a great example of that, right. So screen readers, again thinks on black-and-white, but if you do not build your Ajax codes in the right way, so you want to bring in content into the page without reloading the page, right? If you’re not careful about how you do that, that the page will update, but there will be no to a screen reader who can’t see the page, they will be unaware that the update has taking place. So what you need to do is when you build it, the page updates and the focus is moved to the bit that is updated so that the screen reader can read back the updated text.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. So when Ajax was being developed, should the developer have thought of the right ways to do it initially or would they have experimented and done a bad version first?

Paul Boag:
Yes. What the – relative to what happened was is that they just did it and then people started to go hang on a minute, this isn’t working for screen readers and then there was a lot of back and forth about how can we solve this or what do – whatever.

Marcus Lillington:
So based on that, then you could say that we wouldn’t have had any Ajax if …

Paul Boag:
Exactly. And that’s the argument, but my problem – I think my problem isn’t so much – I’m happy for there to be innovation that ignores accessibility in the scenario where it’s in a sand pit…

Marcus Lillington:
I was going to say sand box type stuff. I was going to use that very word.

Paul Boag:
Yes except I said sand pit when I meant sand box.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s why I’m here, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Yes, it is correct to me. So I kind – that’s kind of fine, but then moving in to a production environment I worry about. I also worry about how – a new technique comes along, we use Ajax as an example even though it’s not a new technique anymore. But at the time Ajax came in …

Marcus Lillington:
What about Youtube? Early days …

Paul Boag:
All video, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, all video. Basically all video, early days.

Paul Boag:
So, that comes along and everybody goes yes I want this one on my website. Oh it’s not accessible. Never mind let’s do it anyway. Now although accessibility has backfilled both of those cases, because you can now add captions to videos, you can now make Ajax’s accessible. A lot of people don’t do that.

Marcus Lillington:
Correct.

Paul Boag:
Right. So that the accessibility isn’t baked in and that’s what worries me. That’s what I don’t like.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
So let’s have a look at some of the other things …

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, we will but you still got the point of maybe video is a bad example, but maybe the Ajax one isn’t. Is it really that much of an innovation that we’re better off with it really?

Paul Boag:
Yes. Well, a lot of things if you compare I mean where Ajax started, if you compare MapQuest as it used to be Google maps, then yes, it’s a huge step forward for a lot of people. There are lot of occasions when Ajax is used when it perhaps shouldn’t be and it is the old line Jeremy Keith talks about is of as something becomes more application like, then it’s probably going to need more Ajax and that kind of thing. So there are certainly for example Google Docs would be impossible without Ajax, that kind of a situation.

Marcus Lillington:
So the price was worth paying then?

Paul Boag:
You could argue, yes it was. But it wasn’t …

Marcus Lillington:
I’m trying to make you make a choice.

Paul Boag:
It wasn’t if you were a disabled user or blind – or somebody who used a screen reader. I believe that innovation has – great that’s – German Mayer says it, let’s continue to innovate, but we have to protect accessibility as well.

Marcus Lillington:
But what does that actually mean? I guess what I’m trying to nail this down, yes of course.

Paul Boag:
I don’t think everybody agrees that, mind. I think that of course on your part

Marcus Lillington:
No, but as a statement I think that is – it doesn’t say what he means. He just makes a statement. There is …

Paul Boag:
Yes, fair enough.

Marcus Lillington:
You could – that could mean so therefore everything that ever is – invented must be 100% accessible as soon as it’s released to the world.

Paul Boag:
No, I don’t – to me Steven Tew again sums it up, that he feels as if accessibility has taken a back seat in these discussions. That for me is the heart of the issue. That we stopped caring about accessibility, people – there was a stage where we talked a lot about accessibility and how important accessibility is and then suddenly all these cool things came along which were difficult to do and be accessible at the same time. Not impossible, but difficult.

And so we started going – it’s like yes Ajax also have a accessibility problems, but then – and it was that kind of sweeping under the carpet that worries me. So I guess we’re now wondering or perhaps the house proposition isn’t necessarily worded as well as it could be. But there is – again it depends – it is actually the statement is not a good one because in often cases there is incredible innovation happening in the world of accessibility. Kimberley talks about this, doesn’t she, says some exciting innovations in the field of accessibility consider iOS and the fact that – it’s a touch screen device, how the hell do you use that when you’re blind? But actually I was – when I was in Wales, in August we were taking the train up to the summit of Snowdon and sitting next to me was a family and the father was blind and he had an iPhone, he was taking photographs of his family and the view using an iPhone.

How did he do that? He was blind, because it goes to faces center frame, to faces left frame. And he knew what side he was sitting on, so he knew where the view was. So if he – he was sitting on – where the window was, he could compose it and he was taking photographs. That’s amazing innovation in accessibility. But I just worry that we pretend accessibility isn’t an issue or we kind of ignore it. That’s my concern I think.

Marcus Lillington:
I think like many things in the world of the Internet and the web development that’s going to become less and less the case the more professional we become as an industry.

Paul Boag:
Yes, maybe.

Marcus Lillington:
Because let’s face it, 10 years ago half the agencies, and I’m probably being generous, were a bunch of cowboys and it’s not so much the case now.

Paul Boag:
That’s true. Things get – it depends whether the right of innovation carries on the way it is, because yes sure things eventually become accessible in the same way as app, Ajax or videos eventually become accessible. But that lag time can be a really quite painful for people with disabilities. I refer back to the Olympics and Tim Berners-Lee statement that the web is for everyone. And how I feel that actually I don’t think the web is for everyone. I think – I would love it to be, but in reality I think a lot of people are excluded from the web because of visual impairments or whatever else. The first time you listen to somebody try and navigate a website with a screen reader, you realize quite how bad the web is.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, well it’s also we’re not used to that hard experience which is – it is so alien, it’s painful. But I think if you listen to – if you used the screen reader all the time, you get used to it. But that doesn’t mean necessarily that it is still a good experience.

Paul Boag:
What worries me – webdev2 summed it up for me. He said I find the original statement, the web is for everyone, while admirable a little bit of idealism. Idealism is great, but it’s not always realistic. In answer to your question there seems to be a move away from universal access, but should we accept this is inevitable? I think I am inclined to say yes, if you want to see any progress and not be perpetually – what’s that?

Marcus Lillington:
That’s why I’ve moved on to jokes.

Paul Boag:
All right, okay. Fair enough. Anyway but this point that he is making is that he’s inclined to say yes, that it is inevitable that we move away from universal access and that is what upsets me. I don’t think it is inevitable and I think the moment we start saying its inevitable is the moment it becomes inevitable. Does that make sense?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
We can’t just back off of it as an issue. I think the web is too important for that, personally. But there you go, perhaps I’m just ranting.

Marcus Lillington:
No, no.

Paul Boag:
For me it’s like the essence of the web is – this thing, it’s for everyone. I really honestly believe that and I’m not willing to compromise on that. I hate to think it’s going to be anything less. On one hand we’re working hard to bring people online that have never been online before, people in developing countries getting online with mobile access and the rest of it and I hate the fact that we …

Marcus Lillington:
It really did does depend what you mean by that statement. I know I keep coming back to this – get back on the microphone, Marcus. I’m back on the microphone. I was getting all relaxed there, leaning back in the chair. But if you mean the content and let’s face it, we do generally mean that these days …

Paul Boag:
Sure.

Marcus Lillington:
… then yes, the web is for everyone. If we …

Paul Boag:
No, that’s the thing.

Marcus Lillington:
But then …

Paul Boag:
If there is a screen reader, it’s not for – there is content I cannot access because it’s being injected with JavaScript or it’s in video format.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes that’s wrong, of course

Paul Boag:
Right. Okay, fair enough.

Marcus Lillington:
But there are certain experiences that you can have on the web that you can’t have through a screen reader.

Paul Boag:
Sure. I’m not saying it has to be same experience. No, that’s ridiculous.

Marcus Lillington:
We agree. I’m just trying …

Paul Boag:
Clarify it so that, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, make some …

Paul Boag:
Yes. Absolutely you’re right. I’m not expecting the same experience. I’m just saying the people who are using screen readers or who have other forms of accessibility should be able to access content and navigate the website with minimal problems.

Marcus Lillington:
I couldn’t agree more.

Paul Boag:
And that anything short of that to me is a failure of us as web designers. Yes, those who produce assistive technology have their part to play in it. But there is no real reason why we can’t make content accessible and there is no reason why we can’t innovate and move forward, while considering accessibility. We innovate and move forward while still considering business objectives or we still innovate and move forward while thinking about usability or aesthetics or anything else. Why can’t accessibility be part of that mix and be right up there. But then you may disagree with me and that is fine. You are wrong, but it’s fine. And you can go along and actually comment on these. If you go to the show notes associated with this particular [email protected]/season7/episode/0705 – 4 even, then and that will give you links to these various articles where you can go and make your comments and contribute to the discussion, because I think for example the accessibility one yes, admittedly not the CSS framework, but the accessibility one is like fundamental things about what we want the web to be. What we want our industry to stand for and so we should all be getting involved in that and talking about that. It’s kind of thing that shouldn’t just get washed and aside; no, pushed aside.

Marcus Lillington:
Washed under the carpet.

Paul Boag:
Washed under the carpet.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s not right is it?

Paul Boag:
I’m really not set up to be a podcaster you know.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s not right is it?

Paul Boag:
I can’t actually talk. I used to be able to talk. I’ve lost the ability as time’s gone on. Right, yes so and talking of which as well we need more of these kinds of topics to talk about.

Marcus Lillington:
People have said they like them.

Paul Boag:
They do. Yes, it’s gone down really well this season.

Marcus Lillington:
But what was that thing about some other cool podcasts? Somebody was getting …

Paul Boag:
ShopTalk. We’ve got to do a joint thing with ShopTalk apparently.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
They are really good. They’ve got – bastards actually. They’ve got really – link in the show notes.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s nice to be compared with the same…?

Paul Boag:
I don’t think we were compared. They just said they wanted to do a crossover.

Marcus Lillington:
I saw a pie chart that had – I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
Boagworld on one side.

Marcus Lillington:
Two fifths was them, two fifths was us and the one fifth in the middle like a little chunk was the perfect podcast.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t listen to them, so I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
I don’t listen to them a lot, but then I’ll tell you what, what I like about them is they’re entertaining. They are good presenters and so many podcasts are dull as ditchwater.

Marcus Lillington:
“Hello this week…” like your first one, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Yes, my first one. Things have improved kind of.

Marcus Lillington:
Kind of, yes or they’ve stayed the same.

Paul Boag:
We need more debate topics, because I’ve got next week’s, but then I’m out. So I need some more ideas.

Marcus Lillington:
We could just spread the net to everything in human history.

Paul Boag:
Debate the civil rights movement in America or something. Yes, absolutely.

Marcus Lillington:
Anything you like.

Paul Boag:
Do you want to know what’s on next week?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes please, Paul.

Paul Boag:
So next week we’re going to – we’ve got two. This house proposes that larger screen sites need to learn from mobile design and hide navigation in order to remove clutter. That came from Scott. I actually think it’s quite interesting. My major reaction to that was, nah a silly idea and then as I started thinking about it, there is arguments on both sides of that one. So that is quite good one. And then the other one is this house proposes that clients should stop paying for licensed proprietary content management systems and embrace open source. So that will be a good one as well. I quite like both of them.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. Cool.

Paul Boag:
But we need some stuff after that.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
So make sure. Marcus, make it happen.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ll make it happen. I’ll make them up as we go along.

Paul Boag:
You make one up, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
I can make some up

Paul Boag:
See if you can make one up.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. Okay, well you could extend that one to another one.

Paul Boag:
Oh, good. What’s what?

Marcus Lillington:
That this house proposes that unqualified people shouldn’t be allowed to use content management systems or something like that.

Paul Boag:
Oh, I liked that. Yes. Yes, Content management system shouldn’t be for the masses.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, something like that.

Paul Boag:
Yes, and that’s good one. I like that one.

Marcus Lillington:
Because I kind of agree with that.

Paul Boag:
I’m going to write that one down

Marcus Lillington:
And it’s slightly contentious.

Paul Boag:
I know you feel like it. Very good. Okay I can’t write it down, because I can’t find the…

Marcus Lillington:
Because you can’t use your fingers

Paul Boag:
I’ve forgotten how to write. That will be it. So yes do you have a joke for us?

Marcus Lillington:
Ian Lasky has come through with some jokes. I don’t know how many to use; we’ll do two. Who led the Jews through a semi permeable membrane? Are you thinking?

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
Was Moses.

Paul Boag:
I knew it was something to do with Moses obviously, but I couldn’t work out…

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve got something better. Don’t you just hate that situation when you’re picking up your bags at the airport and everyone’s luggage is better than yours, a real worst-case scenario.

Paul Boag:
That’s terrible.

Marcus Lillington:
He knows, he understands.

Paul Boag:
He understands your sense of humor.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. That is just so good.

Paul Boag:
We’d be so stuffed without Ian. This debate thing I tell you, talking about being stuffed without listeners and contributors, the comments have been phenomenal on these debate topics. It’s like have you ever …

Marcus Lillington:
Have we got to Hitler on any of those?

Paul Boag:
No, nobody has said …

Marcus Lillington:
That it will happen.

Paul Boag:
It’s inevitable, there is a theory about that. But you know have you ever like listen to a debate like a party political debate or whatever, and you go from one side, good debate like West Wing they always used to have them. And depending on who was talking I would agree with them.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
A bit like that at times it’s like, this is definitely wrong and then read the next comment. Well, actually this is definitely right and it’s been really, really good. So keep it coming, guys. I’m really enjoying it. Just posted another one today. Should designers be using Agile? So that’s going to be one. We can do that one at some point.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
I’m very confused. Actually do you know what, I think I read the wrong ones for next week.

Marcus Lillington:
Did you?

Paul Boag:
I’m very confused, why that one isn’t coming up.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh well, never mind.

Paul Boag:
I’ve no idea what’s going on now.

Marcus Lillington:
It will be a surprise next week.

Paul Boag:
It will be. So that’s – no, it’s not what I said, I’ve done the wrong ones. Do you want to know what’s on next week, that’s the week after.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
So next week. So one is this house proposes that those designing websites should adopt the same Agile development processes as the developers they work alongside, which is quite a controversial one, because lots of designers struggle with that. So there’s definitely two sides of that argument.

Marcus Lillington:
It depends.

Paul Boag:
I know but there is no fun in that. And then the other one is – what is the actual statement that we bring out, which is going out later this week. Well, last week depending on when this goes out, so confusing. This house proposes that static design comps are an irrelevance in the world of responsive and interactive design. So that will be good one. That’s next week. And then the ones I read earlier are the week after.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
Given it miles ahead.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, we go loads; you don’t need to think of anymore. He was lying.

Paul Boag:
No, no. We will run out very quickly. I’m so screwed in my notes then. So I’m totally out of control. I can’t speak anymore, I can’t organize myself anymore, perhaps it’s time to finally stop doing this podcast.

Marcus Lillington:
No, no. We are back in the swing of it now.

Paul Boag:
Are we?

Marcus Lillington:
We got 10 listeners instead of six.

Paul Boag:
Are we up to 10?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Wow! That’s amazing. Okay. All right thank you guys for listening. I hope you find it useful and we will talk to you again next week when we’re going to be talking about who the hell knows what.

Marcus Lillington:
Bye.

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