W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-evangelist@w3.org > December 2002

RE: Promotion of XHTML

From: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 16:10:12 -0700 (MST)
To: Chris Hubick <chris@hubick.com>
cc: W3C Evangelist <public-evangelist@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.44.0212301530561.87137-100000@measurement-factory.com>

On 30 Dec 2002, Chris Hubick wrote:

> > In other words, what should be the first priority: changing human
> > nature, changing Microsoft, changing W3C marketing, changing CSS/HTML,
> > or changing browsers?
> The problem is making people care about doing something the /right/
> way.

First of all, I suspect there is no /right/ way to do it, and even if
there is, we do not know it. But let's imagine for a moment that we
know the right way to do Web design. Why do people not care? Is it
because, by their nature, people prefer "easier"  solutions? Is it
because Microsoft made people not care? Is it because W3C marketing is
not effective enough? Is it because modern CSS/HTML makes people to
stay away from what is right? Or do browsers make people do wrong

It is unlikely that you can make people care if you do not know what
causes them not to.

> Someone learning how to make web pages can sit down and relatively
> quickly get the results they want without any regard to proper
> structural based web design (font tags, etc).  It's hard to explain
> to them why doing this is wrong, especially since "everyone else
> seems to do it this way".

True. Two conclusions can be derived from your observation:
	- either "proper structural based web design" is not "right"
	  for humans (so we need to change humans or change our notion
	  of what is right)
	- or the environment where people learn encourages "wrong"
	  behavior (so we need to change the environment)

What we do next depends on which of the above three primary obstacles
we want to change (humans, the notion of "right", or the environment).

> You can talk about right and wrong, and accessibility, browser and
> platform neutrality, but the problem is most people /do/ /not/
> /care/.  Students glaze over.  They especially don't care when doing
> it the right way is vastly more difficult that doing it the wrong
> way (table based layout for example). Even if it was easy, they
> still wouldn't care.  And for the most part they don't want to
> understand why they should care, they just want their page to be
> cool and work - which they can get with little effort.
> So, in answer to your question: Human Nature.

If you are right, then we are obviously wasting our time here. I do
not think it is reasonable to expect that we can change our own Nature
(except for, perhaps, destroying it).

In my opinion it is not Human Nature. It is our notion of "right"
and/or the environment that we have created. It is not clear to me
whether perfect structural markup is the "right" thing for humans to
use. Humans are not computers. You say that "most people do not care"
and, hence, "create wrong markup". I say that the environment they
create in forces them to create wrong markup.

A student does not care whether the design/markup is structural-based
or table-based. Thus, a priory, student does not favor one over the
other! The environment should force that student to favor the "right"
approach. Changing environment is possible, and the first step would
be to identify what makes the current environment bad (again, is it
the editors, the markup itself, the browsers, etc.?)


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Received on Monday, 30 December 2002 18:10:16 UTC

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