W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 2001

Re: Why use a text-based browser?

From: Vadim Plessky <lucy-ples@mtu-net.ru>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:47:01 +0000
Message-Id: <200112261344.fBQDiXH20198@post.cnt.ru>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>, WAI IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
On Wednesday 26 December 2001 12:17, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
|   For many people a browser that renders graphics is very important. But
| for some, a browser that renders only text is more useful.
|   This might be ebcause graphics can provide unwelcome distraction - there
| are some disabilities that affects people's ability to concentrate enough
| to read text if there is too much graphical material, movement, or colour
| with it.
|   There are some people who do not see the graphics anyway - many people
| who are using speech output systems, and most people using braille display,
| are doing it because they are blind, so the graphics is no use to them
| anyway.. If a text-based browser is otherwise more useful (faster, better
| interface, etc)  then it makes sense to use one. In fact for certain
| features the text-based browsers provide better access to the information
| that is encoded in the page than the combination of a graphical browser and
| speech technology. But this changes all the time - there are new browsers
| available most weeks.

Charles, thanks a lot for clarification!
Of course, blind people do not need graphics being send over internet 
connection, it's just waste of time and bandwidth.
My point was that you can always disable images (via menu or via 
CSS: img { display: none !important } ) when you don't need them.
Now let's think about somebody who has visual disability (say, miopia, in 
-10..-5 range) and wants to use web.
It will be quite logical to use *graphical* browser for a such person, and in 
addition *to increase font size* for all pages.
When you use anti-aliasing, quality of displayed text improoves, too.
BTW:  that's one of the reasons why I do not use Windows anymore. 
Anti-Aliased (AA) text in XFree86 4.1/Linux is so much better than in 
Windows, that just this fact , in my opinion, should attract people with 
Visual Disabilities to Linux. 
[  just guessing now wether they know abbout this fact?... ]

// explanation:  Windows has 5 shades of grey, XFree86 with RENDER 
extension/AA - 255 shades of gray. More info can be found at 
Please let me know if someone is interested to see screenshot.
BTW: One of quantative approaches to measure rendering quality (and quality 
of rendered text, in particular) is ... to make screenshot of rendered page 
and save it in PNG (or JPEG) format. 
For anti-aliased text/page, size of screenshot will be 5-8 times bigger than 
for the same page without AA.
While, at a first glance, your eye doesn't see these "small details", eyes 
definitly consume (and appreciate!) extra info. It reduces working constrain, 
readability and finally increase productivity 
(ah, have I said that all companies should buy their employees flat-panel LCD 
screens, as you can do sub-pixel decimation with those panels and increase 
productivity even further?)

|   For some people it is also a restriction of their device, or effectively
|   required for speed. When I am not able to connect with a line faster than
|   9600 baud I tend not to be interested in downloading graphics content. I

But does it makes sense to use such lines (9600 baud) nowdays?
For example, I use PPP (dial-up), and if I can't connect faster than 19200 
(say, at least 28800) - I just make a break, drink a cup of tea (as I prefer 
tea to cofee :-) and try later.
Both providers I use have "peak hours", plus all public holidays can be 
considered as a "peak days".
So, I just have to live with it "as is", until I will be able to afford 
paying $150/month for DSL line (or DSL price will go down)

yes, I know also about WAP and mobile phones. But WAP just sucks, it's dead 
I interviewed a lot of people about mobile communication (mostly - General 
Managers or other top-level managers), and most of them replied that they do 
not need it  [ "I use phone to make calls, that's it"].
I know that this can sound very different from, say, Gartner reports - but I 
prefer to trust to real-world reports, not to synthetic ones.
So, WAP is not excuse here at all.

Any ideas about other types of devices (which may need low bandwidth)?
I can imagine kitchen-appliance wishing to do some web browsing, but I guess 
this appliance should be routed through home firewall in any case, as 
otherwise it becomes too unsecure.
And most likely your home router will be conncted to DSSL line or to 
cable/broadband connection. Sa, bandwidth is not an issue here - but screen 
size, indeed, can be a problem.
Therefor, another question comes here in mind: shouldn't we force usage of 
Icons (SVG icons/drawings, in particular, in such small devices)?
And, as for blind people - something "beeping" or making other sounds in the 
kitchen makes much more sense than coffee-maker machine with text-based 
browsing interface (wether it has Lynx built-in or not, doesn' t matter much)
| use lynx or links, both of which give a much better presentation for my
| needs than a graphics browser that has the graphics turned off. (And I
| attach all kinds of media players to them so I can choose which images to
| download easily, or which audio to listen to.)
|   just my 2c worth
|   Charles McCN
|   Vadim Plessky asked, at
|   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2001OctDec/1259
|   BTW: what are advantages if using text-based browser? I really do not
|   understand that. Graphics environment has so many advantage over text so
| I am quite confused to hear this.


Vadim Plessky
http://kde2.newmail.ru  (English)
33 Window Decorations and 6 Widget Styles for KDE
KDE mini-Themes
Received on Wednesday, 26 December 2001 08:45:11 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:13:59 GMT