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Degrading gracefully

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 18:50:38 +1000 (EST)
To: WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980710184250.8286E-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
From a functional (users) point of view, Style sheets degrade gracefully. 
If their browser doesn't use the style sheet it should not cause a 
problem, since they will (theoretically) be left with clean, 
straightforward, properly marked up HTML which lacks a little in 
presentational pizazz.  This is not a bad thing.

It is only from the point of view of a designer that there may be a 
problem. Somehow this should be an approach of EO - designing for the 
latest Frames and DHTML capable browsers is similar to designing for 
properly compliant browsers - both mean a portion of the audience are not 
going to get what you are trying to offer. The difference is that design 
which is based on acessibility means that the audience get the 
information, whereas design based on gee-whiz technology doesn't.

I think this approach works for things other than Style Sheets, although I
was surprised to discover in this morning's teleconference that MSIE3
doesn't provide the content of a Java Applet, only the ALT. (Mark in the
black book)

(On a side note, I had a call from somebody working in the University 
today, who couldn't get into a website. At all. Turns out that Netscape 
2.01, which is a common browser around this Institute of Technology, 
doesn't cope well with Java-based navigation systems where there is no 
alternative. When the website owner is told that it had taken $80 of 
advice for one person to find that out maybe they'll re-think the cost of 

Charles McCathieNevile
Received on Friday, 10 July 1998 05:12:01 UTC

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