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Re: Green Fingers

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 22:59:21 -0700
Message-ID: <001501c0cbba$9af9ed80$6601a8c0@sttln1.wa.home.com>
To: "Jonathan Chetwynd" <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jonathan Chetwynd" <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
> Matt you've completely missed the point I was trying to make.

On the contrary: not only did I get your point, apparently you didn't get

Sites like Disney, which you mentioned as an example, have spent north of
$100 million on site redesigns over the course of five years to go from the
absolute bottom of the usability barrel to something that is almost kind of
usable. There are quite a few organizations for which that figure isn't all
that reasonable. And this is a media company with graphic and UI talent as
deep as you can expect anywhere.

I've been a part of several major projects involving multimedia web design,
and far more often than not the projects have been several times more
expensive than more traditional pages, and went from nearly on par from a
usability standpoint with traditional sites, to abject failures. Adding
sound and motion is almost never an instant win, and it takes graphics and
user-interface specialists to even begin site development along those lines.
(One thing that nobody has answered for me is how everything that's already
out there, the basis of the Web as it's used today, is ever going to be made
accessible through this method.)

And on top of that, both disney.com and disney.co.uk are (at first glance)
dismal failures on WCAG guidelines for making information accessible to the

> By
> transforming the way in which the message is to be delivered, ie via the
> senses, rather than textually, it is made accessible to people that would
> otherwise not get it.

We're not dealing with simply processing the data that is presented; for
many people WCAG is trying to help, we're dealing with the inability simply
to access the words on the page. You're talking about usability more than
accessibility, and I find your examples of good usability suspect.

> corporate sites that attempt something similar include
> from cinema
> http://www.disney.co.uk
> from fast foods
> http://www.wotsits.co.uk/home.html
> from music, well they are too numerous:
> http://www.getmusic.com/peeps/rkelly/TP-2com.html
> or maybe the player currently at
> http://www.aristarec.com/
> is a particularly transparent means of selecting the artist you want to
> hear..

You pointed out a handful of Flash-based media sites. As a usability
specialist, I don't see anything I would consider to be more generally
usable. Just more shiny. Discoverability and consistency of interface across
the Web (blue underlined links, back buttons, common navigation and search)
is far more important than sounds and motion. (And the presence of
distracting animation on many of these sites makes it difficult for people
with ADD to access and process their contents. What about them?)

> similarly many corporate sites, why does MS spring to mind, are very
> difficult to navigate.

Fashionable as it is to pick on Microsoft, it's rare that a company
maintains the amount of content they do, with the number of content owners
and partners that they have, with the universal audience they have, in any
manner that a detached observer would say is "easy to use." Nor would
experts in the field be able to wave a magic wand and make those sites
navigable with a few easy steps. The state of web usability is not advanced
to that point, and where it has, the findings of the researchers are the
opposite of your impressions.

Received on Monday, 23 April 2001 02:00:09 UTC

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