Joe was my dad. He was born in 1917 and raised on the wild Atlantic coast in Ballyheigue, County Kerry, Ireland. When my dad’s family slaughtered an animal, other families would come and help, and take parts they could use. When another family did the same, his family would go help, and take parts they could use in their turn. The community shared.

Last spring I visited Ballyheige and stayed in the old schoolhouse my dad attended. The children were required to bring a piece of coal each day, to feed the communal fire. If a neighbor had a piece of wood, and you needed that piece of wood for your currach, you might offer to help two days tending lobster pots in exchange. That’s the way my dad lived all his life, even after he emigrated and came to New Jersey. He always sought ways to help people, to be of service to others.

We called my dad Joe, and me Joseph, to make a distinction between us. All my life I’ve maintained that distinction. I’ve felt that try as I might, I could never quite live up to his example. I felt that I couldn’t fill his shoes.

I recently changed my Twitter handle. It was @csunwebmaster. I wanted something personal, not tied to an institution or job title. I’ve been doing accessibility since 1999. Accessibility is my passion. So that’s part of my new handle: accessible. Jessi R @canadian_diva replied “@AccessibleJoe you changed your twitter handle! glad to know you’re accessible haha.” Well yes, I am accessible: easy to talk to or get along with.

Last night after Accessibility Camp Los Angeles I was talking with John Foliot @johnfoliot and Dennis Lembree @dennisl about Joseph and Joe. John said he always had a tendency to want to call me Joe and we talked about that. I told him about my dad, and how I had come to terms with being worthy of Joe. John said the handle is approachable. I like that.

It’s remarkable how many people can’t spell Joseph. They tend to spell it Joesph. A long time ago I determined that I would give restaurant staff the name Joe when making a reservation. Joe is easier to spell, and certainly much easier to hear in a crowd. So the second part of my handle is Joe because it is easily spelled and understood by more people. Isn’t this what the essence of accessibility is?

Here’s to you, dad, I hope I’m living up to your example.


I am doing a project to increase the number of free accessible WordPress themes called: Cities.

Site owners are looking for accessible WordPress themes. There is a spectacular lack of accessible WordPress themes. I get asked this question all the time: aren’t there lots of accessible WordPress themes to choose from? No, there are not.

Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Sydney, Boston, Toronto

Karen Mardahl @kmdk in Denmark has agreed to do Copenhagen. Lisa Herrod @scenariogirl in Australia has agreed to do Sydney. Char James-Tanny @CharJTF is doing Boston. Jennison Asuncion @Jennison in Toronto will be doing Toronto.

New York, Mumbai, D.C., Canberra

New York is being led by Pratik Patel @ppatel and there is Mumbai with a team led by Shilpi Kapoor @Shilpi_Kapoor! There is also D.C. led by David Kennedy @DavidAKennedy and Canberra led by Simon Pascal Klein @klepas. How wonderful is this!

Montreal, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Nashville

Montreal is a theme by Rocio Alvarado and the folks at AccessibilitéWeb @AccessibiliteWb. We also have new themes by Ana Isabel Paraguay @projetoinclusiv, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro! Another new addition is Nashville by Anna Belle Leiserson @happywebdiva.

Ottawa, Twin Cities, Augusta Georgia

Elle McPherson @nethermind of Simply Accessible is doing the Ottawa theme project, Joe Dolson @joedolson is doing Twin Cities, and Amanda Rush @cswordpress is doing Augusta, Georgia!

I have reached out to others and am waiting to hear back from them. If you want to get involved, please send me a message on Twitter.

The Cities themes will be made available free in the Theme Directory.