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RE: compatibility

From: John Foliot - bytown internet <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 15:01:31 -0400
To: "Tina Marie Holmboe" <tina@elfi.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GKEFJJEKDDIMBHJOGLENKEAOCJAA.foliot@bytowninternet.com>


>   Could you, then, suggest to us a diplomatic method of describing the
>   situation in which a person is using a browser such as Lynx to gain
>   access to the text only content, and furthermore how a message such
>   as the one quoted would NOT, to a blind person, feel like being hit
>   over the head with that brick when read time and time again because
>   their text browser doesn't support CSS, and their speech system doesn't
>   support ACSS ?
>   [+46] 0708 557 905

That's the beauty of positioning in CSS.  How about I drop that <div> down
near the "Bottom" of my page (structurally speaking), after all that other,
always repeating stuff like copyright notices, and privacy notices, and even
the "back to top" link. The blind users I know have long since gotten over
redundant text at the top and the bottom of the page, although the DO
appreciate the skip nav recommendation, because it DOES improve
accessibiltiy.

I'm not trying to tick off users here, but a gentle hint never hurt anybody.
Language choice is important - I DO NOT propose a return to some of the
language we first saw when newbies started creating framed web sites.  How
about:

"This site has been optimized for graphical browsers which support web
standards [link to W3C], ensuring that the information on this page is
accessible to all regardless of which browser they are using.  If you are
receiving this message, you may be due for a browser upgrade [link to page
explaing why and where, etc.] - the webmaster"

Then create a link which actually provides a reasoned explanation and maybe
even some resources.  Give users *some* credit; as has been mentioned on
this list so many times, when you explain accessibiltiy to the client, they
begin to understand - why would it be any different for the end user?  I
thought we were trying to ensure accessible content for all, regrdless of
what user agent they might be using.  Helping our users know that there are
browsers out there which allow us to do our jobs better, yet without
detracting from the "style/design" or "usability" of a web page should be a
good thing (and as an added bonus, for the majority of the end users they
also end up with a better piece of software, and it's FREE!).  Internet
Explorer6 has been shipping with XP since it's inception, 5.5 has been
around since July 2000.  Opera 6, since November 2001, and Netscape 6.2
since October 2001. These well known, major release browsers have been with
us for some time now and they by and large do a reasonible job of current
web standards, why then should we just shrug our shoulders and continue to
twist ourselves into pretzels for Netscape 4.x?  Or do you like to still use
tables for layout?  What is so wrong with a little bit of persuasion and
encouragement?

The biggest villans here are corporate and institutional IT departments who
for whatever reason choose not to upgrade their baseline browsers.  (It
scares me that a Canadian Federal Ministry with thousands of employees still
ONLY supports Netscape 4.5...)  If their user base doesn't complain, it
stays off the radar screen, but if all of a sudden a large portion of
current web sites started "reminding" them that it's time to upgrade their
browser, the IT departments would soon get the message.  This is bad?

Lynx and text only browsers?  They benefit from better design architecture,
they don't lose out.  Again, would you rather we continue to design with
nested tables?  To my thinking, there are 3 partners here to get this to
work the way it's supposed to - 1) the browser manufacturers who need to
create standards compliant software (for the most part they have), 2) web
developers who author and develop to the established standards (there is a
growing segment who are), and 3) the end user, who should at the very least
strive to use up-to-date software whenever possible.

Fianlly, I still don't get how a scheme like this insults or detracts from a
web site, or affects it's usability/accessibility in any way.  Am I really
missing something here?

JF
Received on Tuesday, 16 July 2002 15:01:35 GMT

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