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Re: Green Fingers

From: Marja-Riitta Koivunen <marja@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 09:06:19 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>, "Matt May" <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>, "Jonathan Chetwynd" <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 06:52 AM 4/23/2001 -0400, Anne Pemberton wrote:
>         The Disney site has been usable to little ones for a long time. 
> My nephew
>is now nine. When he was 5 and 6, he first learned to use the web to
>connect to the disney site. He enjoyed that Disney, and a Looney Tunes site.
>         I'm not sure why sound or motion presents a problem on larger 
> sites. If
>making such features "accessible" is such a bug-a-boo, perhaps the
>accessibility features need to be re-examined.

The problem is not so much sound and movement if used carefully, sometimes 
especially in entertainment they do add value. The problem is sound and 
movement that is not used carefully and cannot be easily turned on/off when 
the user so wishes. So the user control is missing.

For instance, if you want to read something on the page and there is a lot 
of movement near the text it is very hard not to look the movement and 
therefore harder to concentrate on the text. Also sound can be disturbing 
e.g. because the user is in library and should be quiet or just prefers 
concentrate without sound or because it is bad design and turns attention 
to wrong things.


>                                                 Anne
>At 10:59 PM 4/22/01 -0700, Matt May wrote:
> >----- 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
> >mine.
> >
> >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
> >blind.
> >
> >> 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.
> >
> >-
> >m
> >
> >
>Anne Pemberton
Received on Monday, 23 April 2001 09:11:36 UTC

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