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Re: Old browsers...

From: nir dagan <dagan@upf.es>
Date: Fri May 15 06:58:47 1998
Message-Id: <199805151051.MAA00765@sahara.upf.es>
To: charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Note: this is an answer to a message sent to GL but it belongs here (I think).
The message that I reply to is appended below.

The guidelines exploit new features of HTML4.0 but these features 
shouldn't harm any user of an older browser. If an author write a summary 
for TABLE and a longdesc for IMG, an older browser wouldn't crash, it just
wouldn't do anything with these attributes.

One must admit that HTML4.0 allows for more cross-media accssibility
than older versions of HTML. Using HTML4.0 accessibility features helps 
users of new browsers but doesn't hurt others. The "interim"
guidelines take into account current limitations of browsers.

Concerning low level hardware, I think that there is a tendency 
(at least in declarations) to make browsers more economical in RAM,
and browsers that implement HTML4.0 (or at least significant parts of it)
may be installable on older machines as well. Modern browsers may be 
smaller in RAM than existing ones (e.g., the huge Communicator 4).

Regards,
Nir Dagan.
http://www.econ.upf.es/%7Edagan/ 

> 
> Old browsers make up a significant proportion of the market. As far as I 
> know there is NO HTML 4.0 compliant browser available, and Microsoft (whom 
> I believe are closest with IE4) are not expecting one for some months to 
> come.
> 
> But people are reading the guidelines now, because they are trying to do 
> what WAI wants - make their material accessible. For some time to come 
> HTML 4.0 based guidelines will leave the people who are trying to use the 
> web in the cold. If this is the limit of our effort then we are 
> effectively preaching accessibility some time in the future. Given that 
> tere are workable solutions for the present, which will continue to work 
> in the future (although better solutions will become available), I would 
> feel that saying 'You need and HTML 4.0 browser to have accessibility' is 
> not good enough - it is the same as a website which says (as many still do)
> 'your browser does not read frames - get a real browser...'
> 
> (My computer, a 386 with 4MB RAM, Lynx and a 2400 baud modem is good 
> enough to read an accessible site, and I can't afford a computer which 
> would run a modern browser. I suspect I am not alone.)
> 
> 
> Charles McCathieNevile
> 
> 
Received on Friday, 15 May 1998 06:58:47 GMT

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