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Re: [HDP] Response to Review of HTML Design Principles Questionnaire

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 21:56:38 +0100
Message-ID: <46CCA306.7080306@cam.ac.uk>
To: Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl>
Cc: public-html@w3.org

Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
>> Henri gave some good examples of problems people try to solve that
>> aren't real in IRC:
>>
>> <hsivonen> Regarding fantasy problems: the thing is people do try to
>> solve them. sometimes the problems aren't 100% fantasy, but common sense
>> says they aren't real problems. Examples: 1) "search engines could"
> 
> I really don't understand how this is a good example. "search engines could"
> sounds like relevant context was omitted.

As I understand it, Henri's point is that it is not uncommon to see 
arguments like "We should add elements <x>, <y> and <z> with attributes 
a,b and c so that search engines can use the information they provide", 
without ever asking people who have experience developing search engines 
whether <x>,<y> and <z> or a,b and c would actually help. Often it turns 
out that they would not because, for example, the features only function 
as intended if they are use correctly by a large proportion of the 
userbase, something that is unlikely to occur in practice (e.g. [1]).

With this in mind, we should not assume problems are real until we have 
spoken to the constituents who are supposedly having the problem to ask 
them if it is, in fact, a problem they are having, and whether the 
proposed solution will actually have any bearing on the problem.


[1] http://www.well.com/~doctorow/metacrap.htm

-- 
"Mixed up signals
Bullet train
People snuffed out in the brutal rain"
--Conner Oberst
Received on Wednesday, 22 August 2007 20:57:15 GMT

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