R.I.P. Leonard Cohen

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen, 1934–2016

Sad to see you go

Almost all the votes are in at it’s clear the UK has voted to leave the EU. I feel sad, mainly because the reasons given for Brexit were almost all about fear and lies. I sincerely hope though that the UK and EU together can figure out a deal that makes sense for both parties, and that ordinary people won’t suffer too much because of the times ahead.

Remain

Today I’m traveling to the fourth WordCamp Europe, organised this year in Vienna. It will probably be the largest WordCamp, i.e. community-organized WordPress conference ever. My thoughts however are very much in Britain, where my relatives and millions of their countrymen and -women will be voting today on whether the UK should leave the EU or remain a member. I find it almost unbelievable that Europe (and the UK) might be in an even bigger mess than before just because of two men’s lust for power. But it’s too late to wonder about Cameron’s and Johnson’s motives – Britain, I hope you stay with us. Don’t let the populists win.

Cultural differences

Yesterday we bought a tray for our baby’s high chair. It came with a small instructions leaflet with the same text in multiple languages. They all seem to have more or less the same information content, but there were some differences. Here is the beginning of the text in each language.

UK

Congratulations on your new Playtray!

Germany

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Kauf von Playtray!

Sweden

Grattis till er nya Playtray!

Denmark

Tillykke med jeres nye Playtray.

Norway

Gratulerer med anskaffelsen av Playtray.

France

Nous vous remercions d’avoir choisi la tablette Playtray!

Spain

Enhorabuena por la compra de su nueva Playtray!

Netherlands

Dank u wel voor het aanschaffen van de Playtray.

US

WARNINGS

If you do not follow these warnings, your child could suffer from serious injuries.

Committing to Good Markup

Solid, semantic and accessible HTML markup matters. When most people look at a web page, it doesn’t make much difference to them whether headings are coded with proper <h1> and <h1> tags or <span style="font-size: 20px">. Still, for someone using a screen reader, not to mention search engines and feed readers, it can make all the difference in making sense of a document. Luckily this specific issue is now rare, but in a world of plugins and cool themes that generate semi-adequate markup, we’re often not using HTML and CSS to their full potential in building solid, accessible and search engine friendly sites.

By we I mean me of course. WordPress is awesome, and it’s one of the few CMS’s around that has committed to accessibility on the admin end (I’m not saying it couldn’t be improved). Unfortunately tight schedules and the very fact that its so easy to whip up a site using a few plugins and occasionally ready-made themes means its very tempting to be lazy.

So here goes: I hereby promise to continue to build usable sites, with a renewed commitment to good semantic and accessible markup. Because the web should be for everyone (and there’s nothing like some sweet, elegant HTML is there?).