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Redirect (Re: Request for review: updated HTML Techniques draft)

From: Jens Meiert <jens.meiert@erde3.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003 12:37:40 +0200 (MEST)
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <10282.1066991860@www24.gmx.net>

Just a remark and some thoughts again related to the redirect problem
(Uncategorized techniques: Meta redirect), although of course previously discussed
[1]; first of all, if you think about referring to .htaccess or other
server-side redirects, don't forget to rename this issue, and maybe it's even now
useful to simply call it 'Redirect'.

I don't agree to this flat banning of redirects since they can be used
reasonably (except related to auto-refreshing mechanisms almost causing Usability
as well as Accessibility problems, and 'abuse' of meta elements). So I'd
prefer to recommend server-side redirects (via PHP or .htaccess) when they are
really unavoidable (!), as it might be the case when an important resource has
moved (I sometimes encountered this problem when having restructured a site
while there is huge traffic on it).

Normally there will be no alternative for a redirect in this case
(especially in business use), and I again rather see massive problems when sending
users into the nirvana, since only a small amount of users will either go ahead
and follow a link to the new file location or even take the trouble to search
for this resource, and so they will mostly leave the site; also imagine
telling companies not to use redirects (even in sensible cases) -- that's
absolutely unrealistic (and imagine what effort it might be to create even dynamic
pages referring to new file locations).

I don't want to protect anyone who misapplies redirect mechanisms, I only
want the WAI to offer realistic, fair, and acceptable mechanisms, rather
appealing to 'common sense' than banning everything which 'might' entail problems.
Otherwise, if you are that convinced that redirects are absolutely
unnessecary and only causing problems, persuade Apache or PHP developers or even the
responsible W3C working groups to chuck out all redirect opportunities.

And, last but not least, almost no user of screen reader or voice browser
technology won't even notice if he's redirected via a server-side technology;
and do you notice it using a Web browser? Are you that struck when being
redirected (try [2])? And don't you see Usability and/or Accessibility problems
when landing on 'Error 404' pages? -- But I'm only repeating what I said
before, so I guess you understand what this post was about to express, and I hope
the WG will only recommend server-side redirects in cases where it's

All the best,

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2003JulSep/0131.html
[2] http://meiert.com/lib/documentation/var/selfhtml80.zip

Jens Meiert
Interface Architect

Received on Friday, 24 October 2003 06:38:09 UTC

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