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Re: Using content negotiation to serve content variants to people wit h special needs?

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 22:23:20 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200206192123.g5JLNK104672@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> I wonder if anyone has tried to use HTTP content negotiation mechanism for
> serving different variants according to special needs, e.g. to send a sign

I think the problem with content negotiation is that it requires server
configuration.  Most informational page developers are one technology people,
and if it can't be done with a meta element in HTML, it can't be done at all,
as HTTP is a foreign technology.

Slightly more legitimate reasons are that sources of cheap web space tend
not to allow any server configuration, so people learning can't play with
it and people an a budget can't afford it.

The more technical problems with language negotiation are that it is
difficult to do well and maintain cachability (not that that seems to 
matter to todays designers) and it can be difficult to have a satisfactory
way of overriding the negotiated language (without reconfiguring the browser.

If one negotiates every page, one needs to reconfigure the browser.  If
one only negotiates the home page, deep links will not benefit.  If one
has a negotiation page that redirects into a non-negotiated page, for
ever page, it may be difficult to convince people linking to the site to
pick up the link to the negotiation page rather than the negotiated
page they are viewing.

The only real life negotiated pages I have come across are Windows Update
and Google (W3C negotiates graphics formats).
Received on Wednesday, 19 June 2002 17:26:18 UTC

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