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Re: Netscape and IE Questions

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 08:37:41 -0500 (EST)
To: Joel Sanda <joelsanda@yahoo.com>
cc: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0003050826090.21351-100000@tux.w3.org>

I have found thta poor support for stylesheets is a problem in using them,
and that the browsers rstrict to some extent the possiblities that are there
in the design work behind HTML, CSS, and so on. One of the challenges in the
current era of more-or-less broken design of browsers is to find the subset
of CSS, HTML, etc that actually works. In doing so, I think it is justified
to regard an early implementation as working if it doesn't mangle the
information beyond recognition, whether or not it prodces the "expected
visual effect". After all, there are plenty of cases where people use
software that makes the "expected effect" impossible to achieve
(small-screen portable devices, voice-based systems, text-only systems,

The approach I have gone for is "float and flow" layout. Using absolute
positioning layout, despite being perfectly valid CSS, doesn't often solve
the problem that it there are such a wide range of output devices that it
isn't practicable to choose something and tell everyone they ought to be
using it. 

Three years ago the likely range (except for accessibility purposes) of
screen sizes was between 640x480 and about 1200x1000 Now there are many
handheld devices operating with screens smaller than 320x240, and there are
plenty of monitors that present at 1600x1200 or more.

So I use colors, sizes, borders, backgrounds and text-decoration effects (and
would use style-generated content in some circumstnces if it were better
supported) but let things flow in the available space. If I really want to
seperate something I might use a float to make it appear to the left or right
on its own. Beyond that, layout control just reinforces people in the
incorrect perception that they represent some sensible kind of "norm", and
requires constant tweaking as the state of the art changes.

Charles McCN

On Fri, 3 Mar 2000, Joel Sanda wrote:

  The upshot is this: we had to "water down" our code to
  make it work in Netscape, which meant is was less
  accessible according to WAI recommendations than
  before. While we could have sniffed for browser
  version and redirected, that means twice the
  maintenance and essentially creating an accessible and
  a non-accessible site.
  What are your thoughts on this? I don't think
  accessible web design is that problematic for
  developers. What is problematic is Netscape.
  While this sounds like Netscape bashing, I think the
  discrepancies between IE and Netscape in their support
  of W3C and WAI recommendations means developers either
  have to build two sites, or build one that is not that
  accessible - a rock and hard place.
  Any thoughts?
  Thanks - Joel Sanda
  Do You Yahoo!?
  Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Postal: GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne 3001,  Australia 
Received on Sunday, 5 March 2000 08:37:49 UTC

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