New and Improved Accessibility Weekly, 2021 Edition

Published on by David A. Kennedy

Recently, I launched a refreshed version of Accessibility Weekly after months of steady work. That covers not just the newsletter itself, but the website too. It’s the third major iteration of the project.

Refreshed Design

I refreshed the design of the site, and to a lesser degree, the newsletter. It features the same reddish-pink color and light background, but with Fira Sans doing the type work. I wanted to keep the same high contrast, minimal look, but add more uniqueness with a web font. The old site used system fonts.

Issue Archive

All past newsletters now exist in their own archive. The old site had only a home page, relying on Mailchimp for archives. But those went back 10 issues at most. Not great as far as owning your own data and controlling the design and featureset.

Goodbye Mailchimp, Hello Buttondown

Speaking of Mailchimp, I switched to a new email provider called Buttondown. In 2019, Mailchimp restructured what it considered subscribers. This led to increased prices, plus realizing I don’t use many of its features beside email. The new approach had me on the lookout for a better option even though I stayed on my old plan. I discovered Buttondown, and enjoy its simple, but elegant approach to newsletter creation. Buttondown’s creator has been very responsive to my questions and eager to improve its accessibility.

The newsletter kept the same basic look with a few minor tweaks. It no longer uses table elements to lay out the emails. Buttondown does this by default, and works well if all you need is a simple email template. I moved away from using the reddish-pink color for headlines, reserving it strictly for links. A few readers requested this!

Site Architecture Featuring Eleventy

Like my recent redesign here, I went with Eleventy. I liked the idea of controlling everything, static files and not having to worry about a database or premium CMS hosting. I’m excited to try out a few ideas around analyzing the links in past issues, which should be easier with text files.


I’m thankful for two return subscribers this year, Automattic and CommonLook. If you’re looking to learn more about accessibility. sign up!

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