A Web Design Philosophy

Our web design philosophy is built around three main concepts. Here they are:

Before expanding on these three items, it is helpful to have in mind your objectives.


A significant fraction of Internet users have some degree of physical impairment, including long-sightedness, tunnel vision, motor difficulties (may not use a mouse or pointing device), severe or total visual impairment.

Technologies such as screen readers, text-to-speech, screen-magnifiers, voice controlled browsers and aural browsers are now used to provide access for these users. Unfortunately, there is a limit to what these technologies can do - websites designed using exclusively visual and mouse-based effects are in most cases either difficult or impossible to use.

An increasing trend nowadays is for handheld, mobile computing platforms. These also represent a type of impairment - there may be no mouse, low grade graphics - or no screen at all.

State of the art devices include web-capable mobile phones, car navigation sytems and hand-helds with basic browsers, conventional telephone access and experimental projects like 'WebSound' - a voice driven browser which 'speaks' the web-pages back to users and 'TelWeb'. In the near future, information access may well move on from the screen and keyboard setup of today, to be rapidly augmented by devices closer to the human way of communicating. Access via TV will also increase.

Web-sites using deprecated techniques and aimed only at screen and mouse based browsing will have to be 'repaired' (accessibility retro-fit) or abandoned. They are unlikely to work on a pager!

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is aware of this development. A working draft called the 'Web Accessibility Initiative' provides very detailed guidelines to ensure that web-pages will be accessible - available to everyone, designed with future technology in mind.

Detailed information about accessibility

Standards Compliance

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has written widely respected standards for web page programming. They have defined (among many other things) the various versions of hyper-text mark-up language (HTML) - the document description language which currently describes most web pages. The W3C play a leading role in the development of current and next generation technologies. The advantages of having and following standards are interoperability and accessibility - documents and applications should be usable on a wide range of machines and systems the world over.

Ascent Software Ltd. is committed to producing good quality standards compliant material for the world wide web. We promote, implement and recommend compliance!

More detail about how we implement standards compliance.

Ascent subscribes to the spirit of the Browser Upgrade Campaign

Clean and Uncluttered

What makes an aesthetically pleasing page is a question of personal taste. Our aim is to produce pages which are distinctive and attractive, whilst being easily navigable and palatable to a wide range of visitors.

It is worth remembering that a page may look good, but sound awful! Our pages are tested in both visual and aural browsers, using keyboard/mouse and voice driven commands.

Valid HTML 4.0! Valid CSS! Level A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0