CCH Confederation of Co-operative Housing
Ongoing voluntary projects since 1998.
A decade of involvement with the co-operative movement in England brought me to my first long-term commitment as a webmaster. The CCH is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers, for housing co-operatives and tenant-controlled housing in England and Wales.
Originally created in 1998 for a Web Design class at the Manchester Metropolitan University, this site was always meant to be more than just an assignment. It was meant to go online. I offered the site and my services indefinitely to the CCH and was happy to be involved again after having moved out of a co-op a couple of years previous. I am proud to be involved again with such dedicated and hard-working people.
This site deserves more attention than it gets. And I don't mean from the public. As the website for the nationwide organisation for housing co-ops, we do get traffic, even from all over the world. The site was also mentioned in The Guardian not too long ago.
It deserves more attention from me and from the members of the CCH. This organisation is run entirely by volunteers in their spare time, which means things don't happen quickly. It took a long time to raise interest in and awareness of the site and its opportunities for communication within the CCH and the co-operative movement. And even now, there is so much more we could do with this site. If we only had more time.
Since co-ops are largely victims of the digital divide it has taken the housing co-op movement a long time to get online. The average small co-op might use a computer for its book-keeping but might not give Internet access to its members. But over the years this situation has improved. At the last conference I found more and more people with email addresses and the barriers to access such as costs and lack of usability have decreased.
We have a CCH General Council mailing list, which is used for communication within the CCH and a public mailing list / discussion group with around 120 members.
Valid and accessible design and code
It slices, it dices... it validates.
In January 2003 this site was redesigned in compliance with the latest standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and using the latest accessibility techniques as recommended by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The site was rebuilt using XHTML 1.0 Transitional and tableless CSS layout to position elements on the page. Cascading Stylesheets were used for all presentational markup and a separate print stylesheet was also supplied.
The code was validated using the W3C Validation Services.
This site should 'transform gracefully' in all user agents, meaning that even if the layout is lost due to lack of support for the used techniques, the content should still be accessible and the website usable. It should cause no problems for screenreaders and other assistive technology.
Otherwise it is AAA compliant.
Screenshots of what the site looks like in a variety of browsers can be found at the CCH website, as well as an example of the site without style sheets as seen by older or text-only browsers.