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Re: A few comments on NIDRR's Abledata website

From: Marjolein Katsma <access@javawoman.com>
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 21:08:15 +0100
Message-Id: <4.1.20000219204139.047b3ef0@pop3.demon.nl>
To: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>, W3c-wai-ig@w3.org

At 11:28 2000-02-19 -0800, Scott Luebking wrote:
>Hi, Marjolein
>I believe the first page said that the full graphic web page used Java,
>though I didn't try to confirm it independently.

Yes, that's what it says. I just didn't see any Java - and I know many web page authors have at least only a vague idea about the difference. I didn't see all pages on the site -  but when I chose the "graphics" version I immediately saw JavaScript which led be to suspect the author may be one of those who doesn't know there's a difference.

>I found the graphic version to be much more interesting to use.  I loved
>the coloring.  The Welcome image had a nice leather texture to it.  The
>images for the buttons made them little easier to a identify rather than
>just pure text. 

I liked the coloring, too. In fact, as far as I can determine there's absolutely nothing wrong with those buttons either: they are simple images (not applets), they have appropriate ALT attributes, the rollover effect only adds some extra color for those who can see and handle the (actually not so heavy) graphics.

Even the background (what you call "leather" but I didn't have a name for it ;-) ) isn't too bad - the main problem I see is with the font faces set for the text: the fonts by themselves are already not very legible on a web page and on the background it's worse. Did you look at the source code? Do you have those fonts installed on your system? If not, you'll be seeing something different from what I see.

>I liked having buttons to select because it was easier
>to move my cursor to instead of having to go for a smaller text

A very good argument *for* using graphical buttons for navigation: they are certainly much easier to hit if you use a graphical browser with a mouse. As long as you use appropriate ALT attributes - which as far as I can see is indeed the case here.

>The page
>uses a lot of the capability of web pages to provide a rich
>presentation.  The low graphics web pages were pretty boring visually.
>For those who use more graphic cuing, they may not be as prefereable.

True enough. But the low graphics page could very easily be made a lot more attractive by adding some color. Specifying a background color takes just a few bytes.

>While I would agree that some of the cosmetic points you bring up need
>to be addressed, they are minor details and readily fixed.  The key
>point is you can get the format you prefer to work with and I can get
>the graphic-rich form I like with which could include special
>Javascript/Java features.  Would you want to deny sighted users of
>graphically-rich web pages?  What would that accomplish?  I'm sure that
>sighted people would not see that it is to their benefit.

Quite the contrary. And there are two approaches one could take.

You could add nice color and even graphics to the low-graphics version. As long as the graphics are kept small, the page could be made quite attractive and if one is really using a very low bandwidth connection with a graphical browser it's likely that loading graphics is turned off already anyway.

On the other hand, the high graphics version could very easily be improved by just choosing a different font (or *not* choosing one, and leaving it to the user's defined defaults). An appropriate font could be legible enough on that background. The pages (at least the ones I've seen) would still be usable with graphics turned off. They would also still be quite usable (and accessible) with no JavaScript support since all it really seems to do is change color when the mouse hovers over it. While it helps as feedback for which link will be the active one when the mouse is over it, navigation does not rely on JavaScript.

What I'd do is start with the graphics version, fix the fonts used, make sure the HTML is valid, and it would probably already be valid for Bobby, too.  I didn't check, but I suspect very little would be wrong after making sure the code is valid.

BTW, the home page says it's validated by Bobby but also has legibility problems - Bobby doesn't seem to take sighted users into account ;-)

>At one time I brought up the question of whether access to a page is
>important or access to information.  Note that the web site points out
>that the information is the same.

Precisely. The point I'm trying to make is that with very little effort you can have a single visually attractive page that is just as accessible as the special version is now. *Including* the JavaScript rollovers and background image if you have enough bandwidth to download those.

>Your statement is that a good design would not necessitate two versions.
>How would you do that without impinging on a form that would be visually
>appealing for many sighted users?  How would you let me still get the
>format that Abledata presents which I like?

I think I've answered that but do ask if I've not made myself clear enough.



Marjolein Katsma
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Received on Saturday, 19 February 2000 15:08:39 UTC

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