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RE: Politics: Strict Guidelines Considered Harmful

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 10:47:49 -0500
Message-ID: <5DCA49BDD2B0D41186CE00508B6BEBD0300430@WDCROBEXC01>
To: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "'Al Gilman'" <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, "'Davey Leslie'" <davey@inx-jp.org>
I really like Davey's "widening the doorway" analogy.
I hate to contribute to the bulk of this thread -- but I'll do so anyway!

Web-enabled PDAs and cell phones are our friends.  They are the leading edge
to low bandwidth considerations.   I think it's more important that we
address the digital divide and consider people with older browsers and slow
dial-up connections, but big business isn't concerned with selling to them.
Interoperability and standards works to both audiences.  Presentational
markup adds bulk to HTML code.  A strict structural-only page is relatively
small.  Of course, incorporating CSS elements in the HTML page adds quite a
number of kilobytes -- but linking to a style sheet is very light weight.
Adding the advantage of using device-oriented CSS you would think the
PDA/cell people would really be on this bandwagon.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Al Gilman
> 
> At 11:32 PM 2000-12-17 +0900, Davey Leslie wrote:
>> I wonder if that's the correct analogy. It seems to me more 
>> like widening a
>> doorway so that all may pass more easily. I don't believe 
>> that use of CSS
>> makes anyone "take a longer route." Or does it?
> 
> Many of the people building user agents for mobile devices of 
> cell phone size
> and smaller represent that it does, although others contest 
> this point.
> 
> The fact that its syntax is inconsistent so it adds parsing 
> code to the
> application is an example of how this is true that is easy 
> for many people to
> see quickly.
> 
> But basically, the answer is yes, it inherently does.  The 
> GUI is generally
> considered to be more cognitively accessible than command 
> line interfaces
> because it allows "direct manipulation" of what is affected 
> by user actions. 
> There is a direct parallel to this in "direct qualification," the
> expression of
> properties in_situ at the point where they apply.  This is 
> logically more
> direct, and it takes both mental discipline and computational 
> effort to do the
> same thing in a more indirect, rule-based way. 
> 
> The indirection can have real benefits, but it definitely has 
> real costs,
> too. 
> 
> I think I recall Tim Berners-Lee talking about a principle of 
> "lowest-level
> language" but I am failing to find it in the "architectural 
> design notes"
> section of the W3C site.  It is a little like Occam's Razor.  
> We do have the
> line attributed to Einstein:  Everything should be as simple 
> as possible --
> but
> no more."  The "principle of lowest level language" treats 
> abstraction as
> complexity, and says "What people will use in the end is the 
> medium that gets
> the message across with the least amount of abstraction 
> overhead."  Of course,
> in my work I am constantly up against the fact that, like 
> left-brained and
> right-brained people, people differ with regard to the extent 
> that they find
> abstraction adds or removes complexity.  Consider the other 
> Einstein quote
> about "Nothing is so practical as a good theory."  Science 
> and technology is
> rife with examples where patterns or rules simplify the world 
> around us and
> make it easier to understand and manipulate.
> 
> The rule-based approach comes naturally to those of us who 
> actually got the
> message in high school plane geometry and mastered proofs.  
> But it is more
> indirect and more demanding on the infrastructure.
> 
> We need some of that indirection to achieve the abstraction 
> required to retain
> flexibility in what the User Agent does with the received 
> data.  Graceful
> transformation requires an infrastructure of encoded abstract 
> knowledge. 
> Getting the abstraction in the encoding requires some 
> indirection, the best we
> know how to build languages and formats today.  But we must 
> not assume it
> comes
> free.  At least in terms of where PF is dealing in the halls 
> of the XML
> working
> group, every ounce of indirection has to be justified.
> 
> There is a lot of discussion on this point that is buried in 
> Member private
> space from the PF consideration of the XSL FO document 
> (technology).  One of
> the things we have been failing to do is to connect that 
> discussion with the
> publicly visible record of the WAI.
> 
> We don't have a Note on "The access perils and safety net of 
> XSL FO" to go
> with
> the more upbeat Notes on CSS, SVG, and SMIL.
Received on Monday, 18 December 2000 10:48:18 GMT

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