Archive for June, 2023

Reading List 306

Reading List 305

CENTRAL BIRMINGHAM 2040: Shaping Our City Together (unofficial accessible version)

My chum Stuart is a civic-minded sort of chap, so he drew my attention to Birmingham’s strategic plan for 2040. There’s a lot to be commended in the plan’s main aims (although it’s a little light on detail, but that’s a ‘strategy’, I guess). However, we noticed that it was hard to find on the Council website (subsequently rectified and linked from the cited page).

I was also a bit grumpy that it is circulated as a 43 MB PDF document, which is a massive download, especially for poorer members of the population who are more likely to be using phones than a desktop computer (PDF, lol), and more likely to have pay-as-you-go data plans (PDF, ROFL) which are more expensive per megabyte than contracts.

PDFs are designed for print so don’t resize for phone screens, requiring tedious horizontal scrolling–potentially a huge barrier for some people with disabilities, and a massive pain in the arse for everyone. For people who don’t read English well, PDFs are harder for translation software to access, so I’ve made an accessible HTML version of the Shaping Our City Together document.

I haven’t included the images, which are lovely but heavy, for two reasons. The first is that many are created by someone called Tim Cornbill and I don’t want to infringe their copyright. Some of the illustrations are captioned “This concept image is an artist’s impression to stimulate discussion, it does not represent a fixed proposal or plan”, so I decided they were not content but presentational and therefore unnecessary.

Talking of copyright, the document is apparently Crown Copyright. Why? I helped pay for it with my Council tax. Furthermore, I am warned that “Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings”, so if Birmingham Council want me to take this down, I will. But given that the report talks glowingly of the contribution made to the city’s history by The Poors and The Foreigns, it seems a bit remiss to have excluded them from a consultation about the City’s future.

Because I am not a designer, the page is lightly laid out with Alvaro Montoro’s “Almond CSS” stylesheet. I am, however, an accessibility consultant. The Council could hire me to sort out more of their documents (so could you!).