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Re: Some questions from CHI-WEB people

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@sonic.net>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 19:57:33 -0800
Message-Id: <200112250357.fBP3vXfS007923@newbolt.sonic.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi, Seth

I think what was being asked was along the lines of how easy was it
to learn accessibility guideline issues.  Learning about graceful
degrading was just an example.

Using a browser to get a sense about how tables may linearize can
be helful. The question becomes more complicated about how a beautiful
visual layout which uses nested tables will linearize and still
be efficient for understanding.  One conflict that develops is whether
to keep a complex visual layout because of its beauty or to sacrifice
it because of the confusion that nested tables can create when linearized.

The multiple browser and multiple versions becomes more complicated
when accessibility is added to the mix.  It then becomes multiple browsers
and multiple versions of browsers interacting with multiple access technologies
and multiple versions of access technology.

I'm not sure I'm saying there is no need to learn how pages degrade.
I think there are ways to reduce the effort for handling the issue
of web pages degrading.  Multiple versions can be of help with
appropriate approaches.  For example, very simple layouts probably have
fewer degradation problems.

I would probably lean away from browser sniffing, though that may not
always be possible.  An introductory page may be appropriate with the
right design.


> 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 22:57:35 UTC

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