One of my favorite resources for knowledge and inspiration in my never-ending pursuit to design the perfectly standards-compliant XHTML/CSS2 site,has just been redesigned. AListApart.com (ALA) 4.0, designed by Jason Santa Maria is a real showcase of, not just attractive, clean, design (which is a discussion for another time), but also of what’s under the hood, and in the tank. In this regard, Jason had backup from Eric Meyer, who wrote the CSS and Dan Benjamin who designed the custom CMS (using Ruby On Rails).
So here’s a question: Do you have to build your own CMS to get one that will deliver compliant, accessible code? I know that some CMS vendors have addressed accessibility concerns in their products (though not in the back-end), but are there any out there that were built from the ground up with a focus on producing clean and lean XHTML code? It’s more than just forcing users of the CMS to add alt tags on the images they upload. It’s serving pages that don’t add 60KB of useless code to a page built from, what started out as, a fully compliant template.
With the code of a page playing such a huge part in accessibility, search engine optimization, load time, cross browser compatibility, reliability, flexibility, and ease of maintenance, it strikes me that this is an area in need of some attention.
OT: As long as you’re there, check out this article on PDF accessibility.