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Re: Some questions from CHI-WEB people

From: Seth Rothberg <sethmr@bellatlantic.net>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 17:00:35 -0500
Message-Id: <200112242200.fBOM0d323204@smtp001pub.verizon.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi Scott,

I've been following this discussion with interest and would like to suggest 
to you some seat-of-the-pants web design answers to a couple of the issues 
you've raised.

1. You ask how much work is needed to learn what degrading gracefully means. 
My answer is that it takes a little time and not much work. Do what every web 
page creator has been encouraged to do from day one: look at your page in 
multiple browsers and multiple versions of a given browser. Do you want to 
know what a linearized table looks like? Look at it in a browser that doesn't 
support tables.

2. You seem to be saying that designers need not bother learning how pages 
degrade if they can just serve up multiple versions of a web site. If I've 
understood you correctly, it seems to me that just the opposite is true. How 
are you going to serve your page to a web tv user, a person with a pda, a 
visitor using netscape 4.08 if you don't know how each of their user agents 
renders html?

And because I'm designing by the seat of my pants here, trying to be 
practical rather than theoretical, I know right away that to implement 
multiple versions of a site I'm either going to need a sniffer or an 
accessible intro page that allows a visitor to choose which version of the 
site he or she would like to browse. 

The browser sniffer bothers me because I've never seen one that isn't creaky 
and full of holes, that doesn't misread visitor's browsers. The intro page 
solution bothers me because I don't want visitors to have to fill in a form 
just to visit my site. 

If there are other ways of serving muliple versions, please let me know. 

So what should a seat-of-the pants web designer who wants to make accessible 
page do? Well one thing, would be to use html properly. In short, don't use 
<font size="+4"> when you can use <h1>.  Does that make a site accessible. 
Probably not. But maybe it's a good start.

Seth
Received on Monday, 24 December 2001 17:01:10 GMT

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