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Re: plain text has its points

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 10:59:02 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199812071559.KAA22246@access5.digex.net>
To: charles@tux.w3.org (Charles McCathieNevile)
Cc: kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
to follow up on what Charles McCathieNevile said:

> There is a guideline about this in the PAGL document. The basic
> idea is that hypertext can extend text. That extension should
> not be used to cover for a flawed text - 'click here' is an
> example of the sloppy way in which hypertext can be misused.

I am afraid you have the cart before the horse, there.

Language usage, and what constitutes "good usage" is determined
by an equilibrium of "whatever works."  It is not layered on past
good usage.

"Click here" is good hypertext usage.  Hypertext links are not
meant to be read in isolation.  As an accomodation to people who
skim by reading just the sensitive text, because this happens to
work with legacy adaptive technology, we have an rule that says
"don't say that."

This is not because it's bad hypertext usage.  The string "click
here" may be the single most common value of a link content on
the web today.  It wouldn't be that popular if it didn't fill a
need.  If one is not that blunt, the number of people who don't
understand what to do to follow the link becomes appreciable.  I
have seen this on pages where I try to be artful and people just
don't get the point.

"Click here" is artless hypertext, but it fits Cranmer's
requirement of "language understanded of the people."  It's gonna
win.  We need to face that.

Yes, we should issue a temporary restraining order against it;
but yes, it should be _temporary_.  This injunction is not a real
solution.

Al
Received on Monday, 7 December 1998 10:59:13 GMT

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