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Articles 25 · 09 · 12

Nuit Blanche : a website for any surfer

  • Design

We recently worked on the website for the annual event called “Nuit Blanche” in Brussels. This year, the focus was set on “accessibility”. In the official program (the print and the online version), you will see the icons for different kind of services offered to people who don’t necessarily have all the senses to enjoy the night :

  • Accessible to people with reduced mobility
  • Accessible to the hearing impaired
  • Accessible to the visually impaired
  • Accessible to a visually impaired audience accompanied by an Image Whisperer

AnySurfer - toward an accessible internetDuring the website’s design process, we made the proposal to improve the accessibility of the website itself, and proposed to have the official AnySurfer label.

AnySurfer is a part of Solidarity in Sight, a non-profit organisation for the visually impaired in Belgium. It has close connections to other associations who plead for the interests of the disabled, and focuses on auditing and improving website accessibility. The  requirements for the label are based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines specs from the W3C, translated into a set of somewhat more practical and pragmatic recommendations.

Every organisation, company or government can call in the AnySurfer team for an accessibility audit of their website. They will receive a report that describes all the accessibility issues and includes screenshots, code examples and suggestions for improvement.

Websites that comply with the AnySurfer checklist are awarded with the AnySurfer label.

I already had to obtain this label for websites in the past. And in my memories it was a tough job to get it, because of constraints in the structure and the design.

But it seemed easier than before on this project. The reasons are pretty clear too : technologies and browsers have evolved in the last few years, and the production tools we use to develop websites at Spade allow us to build and improve websites quickly.

Accessibility is also no longer a distinct process, but is directly integrated into the development method itself. We covered 85% of the issues during the building process. And for the last 15% we greatly enjoyed working with the Anysurfer team, and will surely be more accurate in the future on those small things that sometimes “don’t matter”.

In the end, we built a beautiful website for Nuit Blanche Brussels, on-brand with the printed communication. We built the back office with a CMS called SPIP that allows the client to easily manage 3 languages and event objects. On the front-end, we used the awesome responsive CSS framework “Foundation“. The website is adaptive to a wide range of devices like tablets, desktops and smartphones (see more about the “Responsive Web Design” here).

Nuit Blanche Brussels on 3 different devices

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