This website is an accessibility nightmare. They've disabled all native active styling without replacing them. No alt text, so when you browse the site using Voiceover you get massive generated image urls as titles. I actually got trapped in the heading carousel because the carousel would advance prior to Voiceover finishing its read-out of the current slide, making it start all over again in the heading
So I'm usually a strict advocate of making everything accessible to screen readers because its the right thing to do and as a society we need to care about people who have visual impairments or have learning disabilities.
HOWEVER. This is a traditional branding and graphic design agency. Literally everything they do is visual communication. Putting aside blind people for a moment, I question whether even people who are illiterate or have dyslexia would need a screen reader for this site...the purpose of the site is to showcase the images.
...and then there's the biggest group for screen reader usage: the visually impaired. Do you not see the irony in complaining that a showcase of graphic design isn't accessible to blind people?
The fact that this is the top comment and the fact that you tested a graphic design gallery with a screen reader blows my mind.
Wow, that's a massive assumption you're making about a sites audience.
Is it really a massive assumption to make that blind people aren't into graphic design and graphic design agencies? I'd be happy to change my mind if you have some examples.
I also don't think its a big assumption to think there aren't illiterate people researching the exploits of an exclusive B2B corporate branding firm doing $500,000+ projects.
They should've totally thrown alt tags in because the effort would have been minimal and it's good for SEO anyways. However accessibility concerns being the top comment given the context and purpose of this site makes zero sense.
This site isn't the same as the mass market digital products we work on in our day jobs (where accessibility is at the top of the crit list, as it should be).
Is it really a massive assumption to make that blind people aren't into graphic design and graphic design agencies?
It sort of is.
Firs thing to remember, is that there's varying degrees of being visually impaired. A cataract patient, for instance, might have a degree of vision while the centre of their field-of-view is impaired. Other people may have deteriorating visual capabilities, but spent their life being able to see, so they have a good level of context on a described image.
Other people, who might be totally blind, might not want to feel excluded, or have worked out a good way to interpret spoken descriptions into mental imagery.
I'll also make note of the fact that someone who might be illiterate can still achieve success in business. *Sir Richard Branson is dyslexic. *
Anecdotally, when I was shooting in the Western Australian State Archery team, one of the guys there was blind. A blind person shooting a compound bow. He had literally 0% vision - everything was black for him - however using other means was still competitive *(in this instance, it was an ultrasonic squealer set up on the target). While that might seem unrelated to graphic design, it's an example of not assuming a visual disability prevents someone from doing something considered impossible without the ability to see.
Those points aside however, consider how someone using a screen reader would respond if they came across the page while searching for something else - with little insight into what they're looking at, it can be confusing to work out if it's even the right page or not.
Doesn't mean he's wrong.
Accessibility is not only for blind people. There is a long spectrum between 20/20 vision and blindness, and a big part people on that spectrum use screen readers to browse the web.
Also, The website is not just a "graphic design gallery", it's the website of a big firm and I bet a big part of its purpose is to generate business, not just to show eye candy.
If your visual impairment is bad enough to the point where you can't read black on white 35px body copy (re: the Pentagram site), you're gonna have a bad time on a site showcasing graphic design.
In regards to generating business, would the people I mentioned above ever be in charge of vendor procurement on a $500,000 visual rebranding project?
While I think it's interesting criticism from Darrell, this isn't the "everyday" persons website. It's not an e-commerce site or a social media site. The target market are those with a lot of money wanted branding for their business or looking for inspiration for their own work. The visually impaired, as Mike put, are not the target market and shouldn't be taken as such.
While it's doubtful that the developers intentionally excluded accessibility concerns, as a business owner, it wouldn't be my top priority.
Also, the business should have the ability to make their website as readable or weird as they want. They own their site and their content. If they choose to make it unreadable, that's their choice. Not ours.
Do you have any specific tools you like for testing accessibility?
For DOM level accessibility checks, I like to use React a11y when I'm working on a React app. It catches basic accessibility requirements like making sure that your images have alt tags, and that your inputs have labels. Airbnb's linter also has accessibility checks built in.
For design, I like to use color oracle for visually checking color blindness. I just started using Contrast for MacOS to check for color contrast accessibility. You can sub this out for various web based contrast checkers.
The rest is mostly just manual for me. I like to enable voiceover on my mac periodically during the course of the build and finding rough spots for screen reader users. Using the Pentagram website as an example, I tend to hide purely decorative images for screen reader users like the ones that appear with each project link.
A very bad touch is that they have applied mac screenshots onto the iPads that display the V Sauce website, other than that a nice simple site.
i'm afraid to look up what V Sauce is...
Vsauce is a very well known "science" YouTube channel with over 12M subscribers and 1B views.
Man, that is pretty rough, I don't get how details like that slip by... But other than that, the site looks pretty great.
I also found this picture to look pretty ridiculous as well.
o shit waddup
here com dat boi
I recommend taking a look at the Netflix Abstract episode with Paula Scher for a little behind the scenes on Pentagram.
i enjoyed that series
Fantastic episode of a great series
terribly disappointed in the Pink Floyd Records work....
they used the stencil lettering from 'Animals' to build up a font, and that's basically it. Of all the material in the PF archive, and they choose the font from Animals to pin the entire brand on?...really?...
ok...I'm a massive Floyd fan and a HUGE fan of Hipgnosis, so this was the one thing I really looked at....I'm sure the rest of the site is fine....but that Floyd stuff got on my nerves....
It's kinda low-hanging fruit.... just use the stencil font etc... kinda like 'oh, lets just use Gerald Scarfes inkscrawl lettering for the whole thing like 'the wall' yay!..we're done!.....
can only imagine that Storm is rolling in his grave.... of all the mind blowing incredible work he did for this band....and this is the best Pentagram could come up with....
You're right, one of their strengths is I could enter a completely new headspace for each record. I never particularly liked any attempts to make a global brand for them, and box set/concert branding always felt incredibly soft, very much leaning on latter Storm Thorgerson stuff to truly encompass what Animals or The Wall was all about.
Damn, well done banana avatar.
Cheers, two box avatar
A great body of work. Personally, not a fan of the site design. Especially the slider. Those transitions are quite jarring.
Should they have used a carousel?
Very Pentagramish - Nothing groundbreaking, but well thought out and designed nicely, if not slightly basic-ly.
They removed a bunch of info :( They used to say which partner/who on the team worked on projects, and had quite a bit more information before.
Homepage is pretty standard, nice and clean. Case study pages and the news section are nice. Does what it has to do really.
Nice reminder that there's more to this industry than the web and apps. These guys don't know what Framer is, or what the current best practice development stack should be. They're still fundamentally great designers, and (presumably) highly sought after.
At least it's more usable than the last one. I was never a fan of the horizontal scrolling they had before.
Is this a recent redesign? It's all floats. If ever there was a site design that could benefit from CSS Grid it would be this one!
Love their work.
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like there is a trend slowly starting now where sites are getting more dense. By that I mean, less whitespace... more content in your view at any given time. There is one section on the new Transmit site that was posted here where information was all jammed on top of one another.
It's kind of interesting. It's how things were a decade or so ago... then things really opened up... and now it's kind of retracting back again.
If they slowed down the time between the transitions it would work much nicer, don't have to time take things in visually.
really into the redesign, perfect for pentagram (clean / safe / contemporary). only thing that felt weak was the parallax transition.