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More questions about Lotus notes and Domino

From: Rich Caloggero <rich@accessexpressed.net>
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 13:39:08 -0400
Message-ID: <01BDC13F.9713CE80.rich@accessexpressed.net>
To: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Hi. This is Rich Caloggero. I posted the original message on this thread.

The website in question is http://www.accessexpressed.net.

I'm still a bit unclear as to the relationship between Notes and Domino. 
Which
is the publishing environment? I've been assuming that Domino is Lotus'
webserver, simmilar to Apatchy and etc. It just serves pages. The 
publishing
environment is Notes. It provides a way to specify the look and feel of the
site and takes care of generating the HTML from the specifications. How 
exactly
does this happen? How much control over the HTML being generated does the
designer have? Does it use all the new features of HTML4 (label fields on 
form
buttons, etc)?

The biggest problem we are having is with the bullet (or twistie) frobs 
which
appear anywhere an object is referenced in a list or database view. See the
directory or events pages on www.accessexpressed.net. I've seen this same 
kind
of layout all over the net, mostly on webpages providing an interface to 
usenet
or mailing list archives, a great application for a database. The twisties 
can
be labeled (and are labeled as "+") and thus when images are turned off,
clickable plus signs appear next to the text of items in the list. For 
example,
we have an alphabetized index of all venues in our directory. The letters a
through z appear with twisties next to them. Clicking on the graphic opens 
up
the list, inserting the database items after the propper letter and 
changing
the graphic to indicate that a expansion of the list is in affect. Clicking 
on
the twistie again collapses the list removing the database items. This is 
hard
to use with a screen reader. The designer says that the text to which the
graphic refers cannot be made an anchor (clickable link). Why? This kind of
layout appears throughout our site.


Please excuse my rambling, but I want to understand this stuff so I can 
make
clear and hopefully informative recomendations to our web designers. Is 
there
any technical docs on this stuff I can look at?
Any info you can provides is most appreciated.


On Tuesday, August 04, 1998 8:16 PM, Robert_Savellis@agd.nsw.gov.au
[SMTP:Robert_Savellis@agd.nsw.gov.au] wrote:
>
>
>
>
> Rich,
>
> I am the webmaster for the NSW Attorney General's Department in 
Australia.
>
> When I designed our first website, it was based on flat HTML. As this
> department had an
> emphasis on providing access to community, I based the design on a
> collection of
> principles that were called the AUS Accessibility Standards, that were 
also
> adopted by
> other NSW government agencies at the time. As such, we were proud of the
> accessible
> nature of the website.
>
> Two months ago, we launched our new website. This website is at
> www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au
>
> This site resides on a Domino web server. My greatest concern at moving
> over to Domino was
> that the HTML component was being removed from the control of the author,
> and placed in the hands
> of the web server.  Effectively, the author creates the content in Rich
> Text Format, and the Server calculates
> the HTML equivalent when rendering it over the web.
>
> As such, I was worried that I would not be able to apply access 
principles
> to this site as with the previous.
>
> There was a lot of trial and error in the design of our new website, and 
I
> even posted a few questions on this list
> regarding the access implications of Domino.
>
> In the end however, a combination of the following has made our site as
> accessible (or close to) as the previous site.
>
> 1. Configuring the template databases to render HTML in an accessible 
way.
> 2. The use of HTML in Notes Web Pages, where appropriate.
> 3. The use of many Accessibility principles in the (non-HTML) design of 
the
> pages.
>
> I will note that before launch we asked the National Federation of Blind
> Citizens of Australia to do a thorough
> testing of the site. They made some very constructive suggestions, but on
> the whole were very pleased with the results.
>
> Rich, I hope that this has been of some help.
>
>
> Regards
>
> Robert Savellis
>
>
> NOTE: Unlink your case, our website does not use the standard look or 
feel
> of a Notes database. It looks like an
> ordinary HTML based website.
>
>
>
>
>
> Rich Caloggero <rich@accessexpressed.net> on 05/08/98 06:00:31
>
> Please respond to "rich@accessexpressed.net" <rich@accessexpressed.net>
>
> To:   "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>,
>       "'webwatch-l@teleport.com'" <webwatch-l@teleport.com>
> cc:    (bcc: Robert Savellis/FSS/NSW_AG)
> Subject:  Lotus Notes/Domino and accessability by the blind
>
>
>
>
> Our company, Very Special Arts Massachusetts,  is developing a website,
> www.accessexpressed.net,  which provides disability accessibility
> information
> related to various cultural organizations (theaters, museums, and other
> venues). The site, as currently implemented, uses a Lotus Domino server 
and
> a
> Notes database. The interface uses the standard look and feel convensions
> of
> Lotus Notes, and is cumbersome at best, down right inaccessible at worst 
to
> blind users. My question is: is there a more accessible set of
> tools/interface
> builders which may make the interface more usable by the blind? Do we 
need
> to
> redesign completely using a different database? Can we build a better
> interface
> on top of what already exists?
>      While I understand the basics of html, client server architecture, 
etc
> I no
> nothing of Notes and Domino and the ways in which it is or is not
> customizable.
> I understand that these tools are quite popular for they provide a
> seemingly
> flexable and consistant way of designing interfaces on top of a fairly
> sophisticated database with minimal effort. It seems that one of the
> biggest
> barriers to accessibility is the lack of accessability-related features
> integrated into most popular web publishing environments. I think a good
> easy
> to use powerful publishing environment whose designers are aware of
> accessibility issues would be a big win for disabled people net-wide.
>
>                                               Rich Caloggero
>                          Very Special Arts Massachusetts
>                          voice: (617) 350-7713
>                          e-mail: rich@accessexpressed.net or rjc@mit.edut
>
>
>
>
>
>
Received on Thursday, 6 August 1998 13:40:18 GMT

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