Being a Modern Marketer Requires Basic HTML & JavaScript Skills

So my day job is marketing operations for AddThis. Today, I had to make some changes to our Contact Us form. It required that I change the backend routing which is done with JavaScript. I opened my Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and edited with the switch statement to include a new option that we were adding.

Yep, I’m a marketer and I know how to code. I have an IDE. I was able to write some basic JavaScript. And… it all worked.

I firmly believe that modern marketers have some basic HTML & JavaScript skills. You’ll find yourself needing to edit the code of an HTML email because something isn’t displaying correctly.  Are you going to run to a developer every time? No. That creates a HUGE bottle neck. Just do it yourself.

AddThis Website Tools is used by a lot of marketers. It requires that you copy & paste a couple lines of JavaScript and paste it into the code of your site. If we ask you to spot the <body> tag, that shouldn’t freak you out. Knowing how to do this yourself will gain you a tremendous amount of respect from your engineering team.

The modern marketer needs to be able to find their way around HTML, CSS, and some basic JavaScript. Marketing is increasingly technical and has to work with technical people. Having some basic technical skills is a MUST.

Do You Make Web Sites? Use WCAG 2.0 and Make Your Web Sites Accessible

I’m so excited and pleased to announce after many years in the making that the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is now a full blown official Web Standard.

WCAG 2.0 guides developers in how to develop their Web sites so that they’re accessible to the most people possible (especially people with disabilities).

My friend and W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Education & Outreach Coordinator Shawn Henry recently put out a call to action:

Let’s work together as a community to make WCAG 2.0 a unifying force for web accessibility. There are so many websites and exciting new web applications being created today with accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for some people with disabilities to use them. Let’s change that, with WCAG 2.0.

Matt May has a good post about WCAG 2.0 being done at the Web Standards Project.

My congrats to the W3C, all my friends at WAI, and in the WCAG Working Group.  I know how hard you’ve all been working to make WCAG 2.0 a success.  Now lets get it out there and have lots and lots of people start using it.

Has the Web Standards & Web Accessibility Movement Lost Its Mojo?

Was just reminiscing…  Remember the good old days when it’d be just so much fun to sit around and talk about things like Web standards or Microformats or Web accessibility?

It seems like back in the day every week there was some new article in A List Apart or Digital Web Magazine that just blew your mind.  I remember when the thought of getting something published in A List Apart was talked about like you were getting something published in the Harvard Law Review or the American Journal of Medicine.

I used to eagerly download the speaker audio from all the Web developer conferences (An Event Apart, Web Directions South, @Media) because these titans of industry would unlock the solution to some type of major development problem that I had been having for months.

I remember when I’d go into Barnes & Noble and I’d dart for the Web Development section because there was sure to be some kind of new book by one of these titans of industry.  I can’t remember the last time I got excited about a new Web development book.

I remember when being appointed to a Web Standards Project task force was considered “making it.”

It really seems like all the excitement around things like Web standards, Web accessibility, microformats, and such has stopped completely.  Granted I’m in a bit of a differnet line of work now but I still stay pretty tuned into that scene.

Is this good? Have we achieved success?  Is the world accessible and standards compliant… or have we just become incredibly complacent?

With the innovations in things like HTML 5 and WCAG 2.0, can the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) reinvigorate the whole web development standards movement?

I don’t think we’ve achieved complete success.  I think there is still a lot of work to do.  But how does Web standards get its sexy back?

Michigan State University will Require New Web Sites to be Accessible to People with Disabilities

This is really cool news! My old employer Michigan State University (MSU) has recently enacted a new policy that will require Web pages published after December 31, 2008 to be accessible to people with disabilities.

All new and redesigned University Web pages published after December 31, 2008 must be in compliance with Section I of the WA Technical Guidelines, unless granted an exception under Article IV of this policy. University Web pages published before December 31, 2008 must assess compliance with Section I of the WA Technical Guidelines and submit a review summary and remediation plan to address any areas of non-compliance to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator in the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives by December 31, 2008.

This rocks!  If you know me, you know that making Web site’s accessible to people with disabilities is really important to me.  I’m really proud of MSU.

MSU has always been at the forefront of making their Web site’s accessible.  I’m honored to have played small role in this movement many many years ago.  I raise my glass to the folks that have carried it to this.

Check out the Michigan State University Web site on Web Accessibility.

The W3C Web Site is Getting a Redesign… SWEET!

Yesterday, W3C staffer and resident blogger Karl Dubost put up a post to tease what I’m assuming is a redesign of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web site.

Sounds like it will be announced by renowned Web designer Ethan Marcotte on June 24th at the An Event Apart conference.

I think I speak for all designers and developers who espouse Web standards when I say THANK YOU.  The redesign will make our lives so much easier and enjoyable.

iPhone Web Apps vs iPhone Software Apps

On Monday, geeks from around the world watched with baited breath as Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in addition to announcing the 3G iPhone, gave a status update on iPhone 2.0 which will include 3rd party software apps.

They software apps they demo’d were awesome and showed the amazing breadth of what you’ll be able to do with the iPhone.

BUT… I wonder if all this interest in creating 3rd party software apps for the iPhone will quell interest in creating Web apps.

While the promise of iPhone software apps leaves me with glee, it also kind of bums me out.  Why would you want to create something that can only be used on device?

I can’t imagine that Apple will ever license their iPhone software out to other hardware manufacturers.  If you make a software app for the iPhone, it will always stay on the iPhone.

While the promise of the Web is that if the browser makers and the Web publishers both adhere to standards, you’ll have no problem using the content or application no matter what device your on.

The biggest problem with Web apps on the iPhone 1.0 was that the connection was too slow.  You really desired for better interactivity and response when you did something.  Well, having 3G in the iPhone should fix a lot of this.

I wonder if just like with the computer, where we saw a generation of apps first start off as software and then move to the Web (mail, office productivity), if we’ll see the same with mobile and the iPhone.

What do you think? If you were to create an app for the iPhone would you do it as a software or a Web app?  If software, are you comfortable with being so silo’d?

W3C Launches eGovernment Activity

Recently, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) launched its eGovernment Activity and Interest Group.  The group is being co-chaired by my former boss and friend Kevin Novak along with the W3C’s Jose M. Alonso.

The mission of the activity is to “to explore how to improve access to government through better use of the Web and achieve better government transparency using open Web standards.”  This will manfest itself in a series of published best practices and guides.

Having worked for a large government organization that made government data available to the American people, I’m aware that nothing happens quickly.

I hope and pray that this Interest group will be able to get buy in, engage, and create community around these ideas with government officials and people all across the world.

Browsers Supporting WAI ARIA :-)

Just read on Gez Lemon’s site Juicy Studio that with WebKit’s recent announcement of support for WAI-ARIA, all the major browsers are now doing something to support it.   This ROCKS!

For those of you not familiar with WAI-ARIA, it’s a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard for making all those ajaxy fancy user-interface components (like tree menus or alerts) accessible to people with disabilities.

Last year at a W3C conference, I got to see WAI-ARIA demoed by a blind gentelmen.  It was WAY cool.  I hope all browsers move quickly to suppor this as much as possible.

Start Using WCAG 2.0 Right Now!; Yep, It Advanced to the Next Stage!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that one topic I’m passionate about is making the Web accessible to people with disabilities.  We all depend on the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) guidance via the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to help us through the process.

Well… WCAG 2.0 has just advanced to the next stage of the standards development process, Candidate Recommendation. What they need you to do is to go use it.

This weekend, get together with your friends and convert all of your sites and your blogs to being WCAG 2.0 conformant.  It won’t take that much work.  When you’re done, write about how it went.

Have you converted yet?  What do you think?  Let’s make our sites accessible so everyone can use them and access them.

W3C releases a Web Compatibility Test for Mobile Browsers

This is really cool.  The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) has just release as Web Compatibility Test for Mobile Browsers. It tests against compatibility with twelve different Web technologies.

Point your phone’s browser to:

If you see twelve green boxes, your mobile browser has passed the test.

Here’s hoping that this compatibility test will cause the same level of competition among mobile browser vendors as the release of Acid 3 did for desktop browser vendors.