W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 1999

Re: Visible, simple, accessible sites

From: John Nissen <jn@tommy.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 10:51:10 GMT
Message-Id: <53846@tommy.demon.co.uk>
To: mitake@alum.dartmouth.org, wai@tommy.demon.co.uk
Cc: jn@tommy.demon.co.uk
Hello Mitake,

You make a good point about entering a page other than the main page 
(or front page as I prefer to call it).

What is definitely confusing is if the buttons on the page have
the same names as buttons on the browser.  So no button on the page 
should labelled "home", but rather "main page" or "front page".  
Likewise no button on the page should be labelled "back", but rather
"parent page", "next outer page", or perhaps simply "out".

However there are two solutions for getting to the parent:

a) have a button on each page (except the front page) to its parent;
b) work out the parent's URL from the current URL, and use this.

The latter assumes that the URL naming adds a slash-something for each
level in the hierarchy, so to go to a parent you simply strip the
last slash-something off the current URL.  This could be done by the
browser, with a Parent button.

I assert that the more you can leave to the browser the better,
so the browser keeps track of where you are in the structures,
and builds up a model which you then navigate with its buttons.
The danger of having buttons on the page is that this subverts the
model being built by the browser, so the browser cannot in turn
present the simplest possible model to the user.  OK, the buttons
can be there, but allow the user to simply ignore them.  Of course
at the same time we need more intelligent browsers and a strict
URL naming convention corresponding to the site hierarchical
structure as formed by internal links.

The way forward towards more intelligent browsers is a matter for 
W3C and the WAI user agent group. 

Cheers from Chiswick,

In message <1287516182.937590386@[]> 
Mitake Holloman Burts writes:

>I find site specific  back and home links to be extremely useful and
>important when my initial introduction to a website is a page other than
>the main page of the hierarchy, i.e. when I am using a search engine or a
>reference page. It often gives me an easy way to understand the larger
>context of a given page. I am generally frustrated by pages which don't
>give me a way to get up to their parents.

>> At 05:04 PM 9/17/99 GMT, John Nissen wrote:
>>> 2.2  Don't have back and home buttons on the page
>>> Again these are confusing, as the behaviour conflicts with that
>>> of Back and Home buttons on the browser.
>>> 2.3  Have a hierarchy, navigated top-down
>>> Keep the site hierarchical, and encourage people to enter at top level
>>> (by premoting the URL for the top level page, by always refering to the
>>> site by this URL, by using it as link from other sites, etc.).
>>> Have links only down the hierarchy, except for cross-links where 
>>> they are natural (e.g. in an index, see 2.4).

Access the word, access the world       Tel/fax +44 181 742 3170/8715
John Nissen                             Email to jn@tommy.demon.co.uk
Cloudworld Ltd., Chiswick, London, UK   http://www.tommy.demon.co.uk
Received on Sunday, 19 September 1999 06:51:15 UTC

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