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Re: An article about Yahoo's simplicity of design

From: Jonathan Chetwynd <jay@peepo.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 09:14:55 -0000
Message-ID: <006501bf6ef0$53cfd8c0$2d499fd4@signbrowser>
To: "Dick Brown" <dickb@microsoft.com>, "'Anne Pemberton'" <apembert@crosslink.net>, "Scott Luebking" <phoenixl@netcom.com>, "w3c" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I am very glad to have the opportunity to than you publicly for raising many
important issues that are worthy of attention.
We need to discuss these topics in order to produce valid results.

My main concern is with surfing rather than page content.
ie how can one enable non-readers and those with cognitive disabilites to
gain the most from their experience with the web.

In a broad sense we may be sure that those things which cannot be stated in
a well phrased sentence are few and far between.
That is the purpose of news headlines, and photos.
(No-one except a pedant gets all the days news, we flick through and pick
out that which concerns us, surfing the page.)
It is more a question of ensuring that one can find suitable media,
and that one is not consumed by irrelevant detail.

Accessibility is thus concerned with the formatting of the information, and
it is important to provide evidence of good practice.
WAI has some way to go. Currently the site is very text heavy and provides
very little of benefit not only to those we discuss, but the mass
population. http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/Gallery.html represents a
change in direction that could benefit everyone.

Photographs are of enormous benefit, as are symbols.


There is a natural divide between illiteracy and cognitive disabilities.
People with cognitive disabilities would certainly not benefit from streams
of spoken text at high speed.
Equally whilst the blind currently have few objections, the illiterate might
not wish to confront their disability so directly.
Would you consider this approach in their best interest?


It is not merely that we should seek to create executive summaries of
We need to consider in what way that information is to be accessed.
Most of our students have expert skills in some areas, they suffer due to
their weaknesses in others.

How are non-readers to be enabled to gain access to the expert areas that
are their concerns and at the same time be enabled in those areas that are
their weakness?


Jonathan Chetwynd
Special needs teacher / web accessibility consultant
education and outreach working group member, web accessibility initiative,
----- Original Message -----
From: Dick Brown <dickb@microsoft.com>
To: 'Anne Pemberton' <apembert@crosslink.net>; 'Jonathan Chetwynd'
<jay@peepo.com>; Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>; <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2000 1:10 AM
Subject: RE: An article about Yahoo's simplicity of design

> 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
> accessible to non-readers? How can the many concepts in those guidelines
> 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
> audio summary is available via Audible.com?
> Do sighted non-readers ever use screen reader software so they can listen
> the text on a Web page?
> Dick
> -----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
> children.
> As long as those involved with addressing web design, continue to point
> 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
> 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".
> Anne
> >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
> >you might like to consider that some folks actually cannot read and Yahoo
> is
> >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
> >tx
> >jay@peepo.com
> >
> >Jonathan Chetwynd
> >Special needs teacher / web accessibility consultant
> >education and outreach working group member, web accessibility
> >W3C
> >----- 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
> >> 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
> >> 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
> >>
> >> 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
> >> 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
> >> 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
> >> 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
> >> 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
> http://www.pen.k12.va.us/Pav/Academy1
> http://www.erols.com/stevepem/Homeschooling
> apembert@crosslink.net
> Enabling Support Foundation
> http://www.enabling.org
Received on Friday, 4 February 2000 04:17:16 UTC

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