My New Standards Role

Cindy Li and Brian posing with silly glasses

It’s finally official and I can talk about it… so I am! My pal, Arun, who has served as AOL’s representative on the W3C’s Advisory Committee for the past three years, has been elected to the W3C’s Advisory Board. That’s a huge honor, and very cool, both for Arun and for AOL. That means he’s got his hands full – what with his membership in two working groups and his spot on the Advisory Board (plus his day job). So, I’m going to take his spot on the Advisory Committee! It’s a huge honor to represent AOL at the W3C and I’ve got my work cut out for me. AOL’s participation in the W3C while Arun was AC has blossomed, but there’s more work to do. We need more folks to participate, and participate in a meaningful and consistent manner (something I’ve not been able to do in my time in the CSS Working Group, unfortunately). It’s as much a management problem as it is a technical one, to give people the time to contribute beyond the travel (and a time management problem – we’ve got to be willing to carve out the time).

There’s lots to do, lots of folks to recruit to “the cause”… and I have to find some way to abuse my new power!!

(there’s no real power, just a lot more e-mail, apparently)

For now, I’m going to try to remain a member of the CSS Working Group, but I’ll probably need to drop it and concentrate on my duties on the Advisory Committee. Thankfully, we’ve got Jason and Justin, two super-talented designers, to take my place!

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.


  1. Oh good! More Kevin and Arun time. For what it’s worth, I couldn’t be happier! Yay to both of you and you know whatever my pedantic semantic issues, I love you both and couldn’t be happier to hear this news.

  2. Congrats!!! I had heard about Arun, but I hadn’t heard the rest of the story. I can’t think of a better pair to represent AOL. W3C is lucky to have you both 🙂

  3. I’d say congratulations, but I’ve an idea what the job involves (and I may patent it, ha!) so suffice to say Good Luck 😉

  4. /me needs to update his worldwide list of restaurants 🙂
    Congrats Kevin !

  5. AOL and accessibility? That is similar to the contradiction in terms of the CIA, isn’t it?
    I love h3.AOL’s new format. h2.Particularly the chatter h1.tag cloud h3.format.
    That mess gives sighted viewers a visual perception of the confusion that a blind individual, for example, has to deal with through entire content.
    AOL, in terms of accessibility, has had their work cut out for them with the massive amounts of content they produce.
    Hopefully, the progress made by AOL will migrate into CNN and all of the Time Warner online content.
    That criticism stated, America Online is the safest and most secure place for surfing the Web, including use of their e-Mail services.
    Good luck.

  6. thacker, if you look, AOL’s actually not doing that bad. is quite accessible, for both unsighted and less-sighted users. Try resizing the fonts and see what happens.
    Things aren’t perfect. We’re a big company with lots of development groups, all of whom are at different stages of understanding and implementing accessibility best practices. We’re working on it.

  7. Kevin–
    I have watched AOL for 15 years or more, at least. They have made significant in-roads to provide accessibility in their Web based content. The standard AOL portal/software may be another matter.
    I have seen an increased use of “tag clouds” within a lot of content. My point that I was trying to make was, while AOL tag clouds do not present a problem for assistive technology user agents, that for sighted viewers they are visually confusing. Separation of adjacent links with something other than white space is a good thing for all users. It is another reason why meeting accessibility standards across the entire platform benefits everyone.
    I was doing a minor sarcastic rant, anyway.
    I appreciate your response. Thank you very much.

Comments are closed.