Umbrella Today, which is a beautifully crafted site (CSS parallax effect!) that tells you whether or not you should bring an umbrella outside, does not work for me. See, it asks for a zip code—presumably limited to the United States only. But I don’t live there.
Now, I know, there are countless websites that exclude a certain demographic in every imaginable way, not just by geography. After all, on the Internet you’re free to do anything you want. But if you don’t like how something is working (or isn’t working), you’re free to blog about it as well.
Go local, be successful, then branch out
To all the developers out there: going local is a good strategy, but if you can help it, try to make your nifty little web app more accessible than just for your neighborhood.
And I’m not just talking about the one-person startups but also the bigger fish in the pond. I wonder how long it will take for Google Maps to completely and accurately cover the planet. (I don’t know if we should be excited when it does, either, but that’s a different story.)
True usability and accessibility
When we mention the term usability in terms of web development, we look at how comfortable users are in using and interacting with the interfaces that are created. Closely associated with usability is accessibility, which champions the idea of never leaving any differently-abled user out.
Doesn’t true usability and accessibility cover my dilemma with Umbrella Today, since I’m left out of its target userbase?
I do hope the makers of Umbrella Today and other people like them stop discriminating by zip code and start reaching out to other parts of the world.
Again, this is if they can help it. Because if there’s one medium that can make it possible, it should be the Web.