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Re: A few comments on NIDRR's Abledata website

From: Marjolein Katsma <access@javawoman.com>
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 19:33:46 +0100
Message-Id: <4.1.20000219193111.0474f420@pop3.demon.nl>
To: W3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I'll politely disagree here...

At 09:43 2000-02-19 -0800, you wrote:
>NIDRR's Abledata website is an excellent example of accomodating a wide
>range of users' preferences.  For people who have the band-width
>and prefer very visually interesting presentation with rich graphics
>and features using Java, there is one set of pages.

Maybe I didn't dig deep enough, but I didn't see any Java. What I did see was JavaScript rollovers on navigation buttons. No problem with those that I could see - but you don't need Java support for that, only JavaScript support.  (never mind that in at least one browser you have to enable Java to get JavaScript, I think - the two are complete different things).

> For people
>who don't have the bandwidth or need accessible web pages, a different
>version is available.  (My suspicion is that the search engine has been
>programmed to be able to generate dynamic web pages in different formats.)

I looked at this version (with my able but spectacled eyes) and found them much more usable than the "graphics" version.
The "graphics heavy" version not only uses graphics but also sets some font faces (like "Book Antiqua") which happen to be present on my system but are really not suited for the web but more designed for print. With my preferred default font size (!) I found the body text quite illegible; to get reasonable legibility I had to step up font size setting in my browser. (I could of course even override font face but wouldn't that be a bit much to ask?) The same problem (different fonts) on the home page where the choice is given and explained.

>This web site points out the advantage to the user of being able
>to tell the server which type of web page to send.  The user only has
>to select the correct link.

I think the idea *may* be sound. But it falls flat on its face by providing a page that is hard to read for those who think they can deal with Java (actually JavaScript) and graphics. The chosen font faces make it hard, the graphics background makes it harder. Not to mention that the code is not valid either; it seems to be produced with some version of Front Page without validating or repairing the code it produced.

>Notice that the user gets a format which
>more closely meets his needs with no fussing about style sheets.
>A very naive user could use this web site and easily get a more preferred
>I have to admit I'm impressed with the thought that went into designing
>this web site.

Um - I'm not impressed at all. A really good design for the content (at least the content I've seen) would be accessible to all and not even necessitate two versions.


Marjolein Katsma
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Received on Saturday, 19 February 2000 13:33:54 UTC

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