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RE: HTML messages (was: Re: Please comment on issue summaries)

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 08:52:19 -0500
Message-ID: <6EED8F7006A883459D4818686BCE3B3B7AE2B0@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Yvette Hoitink" <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Yvette writes:

<blockquote>
I agree with Jens. With text messages, everyone can select their own
font preferences in their mailtool while with HTML you have to jump
through hoops to do the same thing, if the tool allows it at all. I
catch myself missing items from John's mails sometimes because the font
is so large I don't see the entire sentence at once and skip words
(how's that for a paradox?)

My opinion: Although I see the benefit of HTML in some cases I would
prefer it if we stick to plain text for the mails themselves. If you
feel you need the additional markup possibilities that HTML provides,
just attach the HTML-version to the plain text mail. I did this for my
2.4 summary as well. 

Gregg, John, could you please give your opinion about this?
</blockquote>

Interesting. I'd be glad for some more information about the way my
messages look when they appear in your inbox; I certainly don't mean to
make them more difficult to read! (And while we're at it, could someone
please invent a new convention for marking quoted mail messages? The
convention of prepending a greater-than sign in front of each quoted
line each time it's been quoted becomes very distracting when you listen
to it-- I hear things like "greater greater greater" followed by a few
words fromsomeone's message, followed by "greater greater greater" and
then a few more words, etc., and even though I'm pretty good at tuning
out the distractors I do get lost sometimes when trying to follow a
complex line of argument.

Of course this whole thread involves precisely the discussion we've been
having about the relationship between WCAG and ATAG.  My mail client
(Outlook) creates HTML markup, and evidently some people whose mail
clients render that HTML according to my default style sheet somewhat
difficult (or rather, the style sheet that outlook creates based on my
preferences).  If the mail clients were both ATAG *and* UAAG conformant,
each of us would be able to send well structured messages that could be
rendered for each of us according to our own user style sheets.  So it
wouldn't matter if I had my default font at 24 points (for example),
because your user agent would render the message in 12 point if that's
what you wanted it to do.

And, of course, the W3C mail archive strips out any HTML that *is*
included in messages, thus making long messages far more difficult to
navigate because all the header markup is stripped out.  (Cf. Becky's
response to the 2.4 issue summary, etc., etc.)

BTW, I'd be very interested in knowing whether *this* message shows as
plain text or as HTML-- I *think* Outlook bases its behavior on the
format of the message it responds to...

John


"Good design is accessible design." 
John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C
1 University Station G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/


 



-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Yvette Hoitink
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2005 5:41 am
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: RE: HTML messages (was: Re: Please comment on issue summaries)



Jens Meiert wrote:
<blockquote>
On this list, it seems to come into vogue to post HTML messages instead
of plain text mails (Lisa, Becky) - is this really necessary?

I don't want to start a discussion about plain text and HTML mails (no I
won't), but personally, I definitely do prefer the text form (as I
always did). </blockquote>

I agree with Jens. With text messages, everyone can select their own
font preferences in their mailtool while with HTML you have to jump
through hoops to do the same thing, if the tool allows it at all. I
catch myself missing items from John's mails sometimes because the font
is so large I don't see the entire sentence at once and skip words
(how's that for a paradox?)

My opinion: Although I see the benefit of HTML in some cases I would
prefer it if we stick to plain text for the mails themselves. If you
feel you need the additional markup possibilities that HTML provides,
just attach the HTML-version to the plain text mail. I did this for my
2.4 summary as well. 

Gregg, John, could you please give your opinion about this?

Yvette Hoitink
Heritas, Enschede, the Netherlands
E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl
WWW: http://www.heritas.nl 
Received on Monday, 25 April 2005 13:52:31 UTC

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