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RE: An article about Yahoo's simplicity of design

From: Dick Brown <dickb@microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 17:10:17 -0800
Message-ID: <5F68209F7E4BD111A5F500805FFE35B91AF0E2A1@RED-MSG-54>
To: "'Anne Pemberton'" <apembert@crosslink.net>, "'Jonathan Chetwynd'" <jay@peepo.com>, Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
I don't disagree that cause of blindness or illiteracy is immaterial.

But I guess my question is more bottom-line: How can site owners (such as
the WAI) represent large amounts of text (such as guidelines) so that it is
accessible to non-readers? How can the many concepts in those guidelines be
represented in non-text form?

Likewise, what can the online version of the New York Times do to make it
possible for non-readers to get all of the day's news? Is it enough that an
audio summary is available via Audible.com?

Do sighted non-readers ever use screen reader software so they can listen to
the text on a Web page?


-----Original Message-----
From: Anne Pemberton [mailto:apembert@crosslink.net]
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2000 5:00 AM
To: Dick Brown; 'Jonathan Chetwynd'; Scott Luebking; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: RE: An article about Yahoo's simplicity of design

At 01:37 PM 2/2/2000 -0800, Dick Brown wrote:
>Jonathan, are you talking about people who are illiterate or those for
whom>text is difficult to comprehend? (And maybe those two can amount to
the same>thing.)
Dick, a person isn't judged worth or unworthy blind  by whether their
blindness is a result of birth or degenrative disease, or whether it was
caused by carelessness or accident. Likewise, people who can't use text
include those who were unable to learn to read either because of cognitive
differences or lack of opportunity. It's also immaterial if the non-reader
will someday be able to accomodate text, but not yet, as in the case of

As long as those involved with addressing web design, continue to point out
graphic-less, text-only pages as "accomdating disabilities", many folks
with life-limiting disabilities will continue to be "left out" of the
movement to make the web assessable to all. If Yahoo's pages are promoted
as the best example of how to make the web accessible to "all", the critics
have a wide-open door to disregard the initiative's guidelines since they
aren't really inclusive of this large subgroup of the disabled "all". 


>Dick Brown
>Program Manager, Web Accessibility
>Microsoft Corp.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Jonathan Chetwynd [mailto:jay@peepo.com]
>Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2000 9:18 AM
>To: Scott Luebking; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
>Subject: Re: An article about Yahoo's simplicity of design
>I am not quite sure where you got this from however www.google is far
>cleaner and the results suit me. try peepo as keyword and compare results.
>you might like to consider that some folks actually cannot read and Yahoo
>a real mess for them.
>If you care to visit www.peepo.com you will see graphics attempting to
>convey information. It is not perfect, nor finished. The first page will
>have subject areas similar to yahoo but graphical.
>I understand your meaning but it does not take into account the needs of
>people with cognitive disabilities
>Jonathan Chetwynd
>Special needs teacher / web accessibility consultant
>education and outreach working group member, web accessibility initiative,
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
>To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2000 3:43 PM
>Subject: An article about Yahoo's simplicity of design
>> Yahoo as design champion
>> David Strom Special to The Daily Yomiuri
>> Have you noticed that more and more Web sites are looking like the home
>> page of Yahoo these days? What started out as subtle satire
>> (naughty.com), then turned into portal envy (Excite, Netscape, Lycos and
>> others) now has become a full-fledged Web designer's template
>> (word.com). What is going on here?
>> Well, the simple and basic reason is that Yahoo's home page is very
>> simple and basic. It is easy to navigate, it doesn't take too long to
>> load on even the slowest connections, and it just works well. Anyone,
>> even my daughter, can grasp what to do and where to go within a few
>> seconds of seeing it appear in a browser. Yahoo's home page doesn't have
>> much in the way of fancy graphics, has no spinning objects or scrolling
>> bars of information or other visual pollution. For the most part, it is
>> just text and a few small graphics, and on a plain white background too.
>> Word.com's head designer talks about selling out his design principles
>> and just going with what the majority of visitors want. In a letter
>> posted on their Web site last month, he actually apologizes to his
>> readers and his authors (running older browser versions) who were unable
>> to view his pages because of his fancy designs and cutting-edge
>> technologies. I think this is a historic first and notable for the Web.
>> The Web has gone full circle, from a place in 1995 that didn't even
>> contain any graphics at all (remember the text-based browsers such as
>> Lynx?) to a new visual art medium in 1997 to today's homogenous world
>> where text once again is king. And I couldn't be happier.
>> I avoid places on the Web that require Shockwave to navigate their sites
>> as well as places that put navigation links inside graphics on their
>> home pages. Why should I take the time to download this junk when I have
>> other, more pressing things to do with my surfing time? So the
>> Yahoo-ization of the Web is a good thing, not because I like the Yahoo
>> design but because the message of ease of use is finally getting through
>> to Web designers. And we will all be better off as a result, since we
>> can get to where we want to go without waiting for the graphics to stop
>> spinning or scrolling and just be able to concentrate on the text.
Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Thursday, 3 February 2000 20:16:25 UTC

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