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Re: Whitehouse.gov Usability: The Web Wing

From: robert.neff <robert.neff@uaccessit.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 20:25:51 -0700 (PST)
Message-ID: <200109140325.XAA14080@gloworm.cnchost.com>
To: Andrew Arch <amja@optushome.com.au>, EOWG <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
i appreciate andrews's comments and have one coment 
that is open for discussion on table width. 

andrew advises to use relative over fixed.  while i 
agree with his anlaysis, i disagree using relative. 
froma retail and content environemnt, i set table 
width to 600.  this ensures that it can be printed on 
every printer.  if the graphics and other content 
push the width to over 600, then it does not print 
well.  the customer will have a poor customer 

i have seen this width many retailers that use table 
width set to 645 or over 700.  i have had problems 
printing pages with relative tables.

i would be inclined to suggest there may be a 
techinique here to state how best to use relative 
tables.  does anyone have any thoughts here?  


---- Andrew Arch <amja@optushome.com.au> wrote:
> Ok North Americans, how come everyone's picking on 
the White House this
> week? On a serious note, doesn't S-508 apply to the 
top site? Seems to make
> a bit of a farce of the legislation.
> Andrew
> ==========================================
> WebReference FEATURE:
> Whitehouse.gov Usability: The Web Wing
> Along with a new administration we get a new and 
> improved Web site for the nation's first house, 
> President Bush's staff has eliminated much of the 
> administration's content and reworked the design. 
The new site,
> although faster loading, still has some usability 
> Hopefully by exploring the usability and design 
problems of this
> prominent public site, we can show you what to 
watch out for in
> your next redesign.
> The new design is definitely an improvement over 
the old one
> (remember those big oval buttons?). It has some 
good content,
> short blurbs for new stories, and a tighter layout. 
The page
> nearly fits into one screen, a big improvement over 
the old one.
> For navigation the page uses more text than 
graphics. This makes
> it more accessible. However, some common usability 
> remain.
> 1. Fixed FONT sizes are used rather than relative
> 2. Fixed table widths (horizontal scrolling)
> 3. Too many graphics (slow load), non-working 
rollovers (Mac)
> 4. Overdone ALT text (Don't Make Me Think!)
> 5. Glaring HTML errors (</HTML> starts the source)
> 6. A hard-to-read cursive font
> 7. Inconsistent navigation
> Using one big and complex fixed-width TABLE makes 
for a slow
> initial load  (25 seconds to see anything at 
31Kbps). Unoptimized
> HTML and perhaps worst of all numerous blocks of 
unused commented
> HTML bloat the home page unnecessarily.
> A quick check with Websitegarage.com shows poor 
load time, and fair
> browser compatibility and HTML design. 72 HTML 
objects to grab and
> a total of nearly 90K for the home page make for a 
slow load over
> today's average connection speed, 56Kbps. I want to 
see where
> President Bush is now, not wait around for his page 
to load.
> Some possible solutions would be to:
> 1.  Use relative font sizes  (let the user decide 
how to size fonts)
> 1a. Use CSS to control font sizes - linked 
stylesheet sitewide would
>      make for easier maintenance
> 2.  Use relative TABLE widths (fluid tables fit in 
more screens)
> 3.  Consolidate nav bar graphics into one 
client/server side ISMAP
> 4.  Tighten up ALT text (easier to understand with 
graphics off/Lynx)
> 5.  Validate your HTML
> 6.  Use a more legible font for graphic text, or 
use straight text
>      and CSS hover, or table/DIV rollovers
> 7.  Clean up navigation, have a usability audit 
(home page link on
>      home page?)
> 8.  Even better, use CSS to layout the page for 
newer browsers
> Shouldn't this page set an example for other pages, 
> .govs?  What about section 508 of the ADA? Don't 
just take my
> word for it, other usability experts agree.
> http://www.useit.com/hotlist/spotlight.html
> http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-
> http://www.io.com/persist1/logs/999571856.html
> LA Times/Useit.com/Ben Henick Weblog, Sep. 3, 2001
> http://www.webreference.com/
Received on Thursday, 13 September 2001 23:25:52 UTC

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