Friday, September 8, 2023

Molly Holzschlag, RIP

Dylan Smith:

Molly Holzschlag, whose pioneering work in online design standards led to her being dubbed “the fairy godmother of the web,” has died at age 60.


She was a prolific author and regular speaker about the “open web,” advocating for accessible and inclusive online design standards. Also known as “mollydotcom” after her eponymous site that was one of the first blogs, she wrote or co-wrote more than 30 books, and before falling ill she was frequently appearing on Internet conference stages around the world.


Holzschlag, who reported on music for the Tucson Weekly in the 1990s, founded Open Web Camp, a Silicon Valley event that ran from 2009-2013, and was a leader of the Web Standards Project in the years before that. That group successfully pushed browser developers, including Microsoft, Opera and Netscape, to adopt web standards.

Eric Meyer (via Christina Warren):

She had a voice like a blues singer in a cabaret, brassy and smoky and full of hard-won joys, and she used it to great effect standing in front of Bill Gates to harangue him about Internet Explorer. She raised it to fight like hell for the Web and its users, for the foundational principles of universal access and accessible development.


There were so many things about what the Web became that she hated, that she’d spent so much time and energy fighting to avert, but she still loved it for what it could be and what it had been originally designed to be. She took more than one fledgling web designer under her wing, boosted their skills and careers, and beamed with pride at their accomplishments.

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