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Re: "Fixed" Print Versions (was: wichita state's usability resources)

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2001 08:45:55 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "gregory j. rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: WAI Cross-group list <wai-xtech@w3.org>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

         The http://m-w.com site is an excellent educational resource. I 
was a bit amused at your "prosaic every day use"  at a kiosk, sending email 
without a spell checker. Bet there are very, very few hits to the site with 
that use, but suspect the site has many hits of kids looking up definitions 
for their homework. Kids with advanced computer skills will copy and past 
the definitions to a word processor document and turn that in, and the 
traditional student will handwrite a copy from screen to homework paper. 
Incidentally, the games provided on the site, tho geared to much older 
students than I work with, are interesting even to an adult who likes word 
games.  The Word of the Day activities are perfect for classrooms. The 
games are changed daily, so the site is encouraging frequent use by those 
who like such activities.

         So, I doubt seriously that "prosaic everyday use" is as a 
substitute for a spell checker. The site offers so very much more, all of 
it valuable to different 

         But I see the problem you have with the site. The input fields for 
Dictionary and Thesaurus are in the middle of the page - perfect for visual 
users, but when you listen to it, you have to focus on the stuff that a 
visual user can ignore if they are coming only to use the input fields.  It 
may be nice if the site had a basic version designed for speech readers, 
but even then if they put the dictionary and thesaurus fields first, there 
will be some users who would prefer the first link to go to the word or 
game of the day.

         If I ever knew, I've forgotten what WAP stands for, but it sounds 
like it is solving the problem of providing the page in a version you find 


PS: Sometimes when folks put a page up to be printed, such as coloring 
pages, they forget to allow for the browser top and bottom, and you end up 
with a picture printed on two pieces of paper until you download the 
graphic and print it offline.

At 09:37 PM 7/27/01 -0400, gregory j. rosmaita wrote:
>aloha, kynn!
>as someone who plys WAP sites/services with a screen reader & regular old
>browser (usually lynx32 or IE5.5SP1) whenever i can, i wonder for which
>profile i'd opt...  WAP sites (at least currently) have the advantage of
>chunking and brevity -- the palm interface for the mirriam-webster's
>dictionary, for instance, is precisely what i, as a user of the dictionary
>wants -- a means to simply issue a query without having to wait while the
>merriam-webster company's home page loads around the object of your desire
>or so you don't have to wade through loads of links if you don't have a
>"jump-to-first-form-field" mechanism available to you, or so you don't
>have to remember 25 different search strings so that, by using either your
>AT or the UA's search functionality, you can skip over all the intervening
>(and to the user who can't ignore it, extraneous)  materials...  like it
>or not, the majority of people who visit a site like www.m-w.com aren't
>there to investigate the merriam-webster family of products and services
>-- they are there because they are doing prosaic everyday things, such as
>composing email using a web based interface without a spell check utility
>on a public terminal, and they want the web to be as convenient as
>reaching across the desk to pick up a well-worn reference book or opening
>a drawer and pulling out one of the franklin talking dictionaries... which
>is one of the reasons why wireless is so "hot" -- everyone wants to get
>there before wireless providers figure out a way to effectively serve push
>technology upon them...
>a company like merriam-webster's greatest assets are its reliability and
>its usability -- if people can use it easily, they'll use it frequently,
>and when the time comes to buy a big fat print or deluxe CD-ROM
>dictionary, or even a cheap pocket dictionary for those "unplugged"
>weekends, people will immediately think of the dictionary which they know
>and upon which they've come to rely, and just maybe, they'll make the
>purchase online...
>besides, there's a sort of justice, or at least irony, in the blind using
>WAP portals to circumvent intrusive, distracting, and detrimental content
>-- not many of the ads are alt texted (or, if they are, endowed with
>meaningful alt text) to begin with -- increasingly, commercial sites are
>deploying OnLoad pop-up ads which are little more than a small,
>emasculated browser shell containing nothing but a GIF or JPEG, most of
>the time without even a "click here to close" link or "Close" button...
>and then there's the fact that the only way i _can_ interact with the
>wireless web is from a desktop, using text-to-speech technology...
>TELEPHONE, n.  An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the
>advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.
>                          -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devil's Dictionary_
>Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
>             Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html
>On Fri, 27 Jul 2001, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
> > At 8:52 PM -0400 2001/7/27, gregory j. rosmaita wrote:
> > >which is, in fact what you've done at http://kynn.com/resume/ where you
> > >offer your resume in 3 flavors: "web", "print", and "xml" -- which, i
> > >suppose, means you're still in the running for the highly coveted
> > >positions i have to offer...
> >
> > Whew!  That's a relief!  :)
> >
> > BTW, since I can't stop talking about my employer these days (for some
> > reason), I should probably add to this discussion the idea that one of
> > the alternate interfaces in the "first cut" of our UI library generates
> > a PDF file for printing upon request.  (E.g. a link saying "PDF file
> > for printing" or whatever.)  It's also a fixed format -- although it
> > eliminates the navigation and stuff -- but is also one of several we
> > provide including more accessible versions.  This is a valid approach,
> > right?  (BTW, the interfaces in the "1.0 UI library" are "screenreader",
> > "palm/pda", "WML/WAP phone", "PDF", and something else...oh, yeah!
> > "Graphical browser.")
> >
> > --Kynn
> >
> > --
> > Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
> > Technical Developer Liaison
> > Reef North America
> > Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
> > Tel +1 949-567-7006
> > ________________________________________
> > ________________________________________
> > http://www.reef.com
> >
> >

Anne Pemberton

Received on Saturday, 28 July 2001 09:20:37 UTC

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