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Making the Suits "get it" - Part 2 (was RE: Media - Suit Over Airlines' Web Sites Tests Bounds of ADA)

From: John Foliot - bytown internet <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 09:49:01 -0400
To: "Nissen, Dan E" <Dan.Nissen@UNISYS.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GKEFJJEKDDIMBHJOGLENKEGOCMAA.foliot@bytowninternet.com>


> I do not think it is useful to assume that because the third
> world and poor
> can only get 486 computers the rest of the world needs to be
> constrained to
> what that kind of computer can do.  The browser wars are over for this
> round, and Internet Explorer, on Windows 95 or later, won.  Comparatively,
> almost no one uses Lynx - I'll bet it is less than 1%.  And, I don't work
> for Gates, but I do make my living building proprietary software, and I
> don't think I'm being immoral.
>


1) I'd question the Lynx user base... it may be bigger than you suspect.  At
any rate, can your employer afford to deliberately piss off 1% of a billion+
potential users?

2) "for this round..."  There *are* alternative browsers out there and they
have substanial user bases.  Opera (especially outside of North America),
Mozilla (which, rumour has it will be the next rendering agent for AOL), and
others.  It's a fool's errand to develope a web site for a specific
browser... that was proven 6 years ago at the start of the browser wars.  So
while Billy and his boys may currently own the largest market share nothing
is ever written in stone.  It used to be that the Big 3 automakers owned
North America... now one is owned by an European company (Diamler-Chrysler),
and Honda, Toyota, Nissan 'et al' all own very significant market share.
Would you develope gasoline which could only be burned in North American
automobiles?  I didn't think so...

Bob is a self proclaimed iconoclast (hey Bob!) and is passionate about his
views (which I respect), but his general thrust is correct.  As this list
has encouraged, using W3C standards and technologies ensures that you are
very close to being totally accessible.  I don't think we will ever see 100%
perfection, that's perhaps too idealistic.  But taking the time to ensure
that basic issues are addressed only means that the developer cares enough
to ensure that it really "works".  You need images to sell the message?  Use
them.  But be sure to use appropriate ALT text (alt="picture" don't cut it),
and maybe even a LONGDESC if appropriate.  Need to use Flash 'cause the CEO
insists?  Then do so, but be sure that you have followed macromedia's
authoring guide properly, and also be sure to include an alternative for
users who do not support Flash... heck that's just smart business.  Do your
pages validate to a DTD?  Why not... the copy department ran their copy
through a spell checker (and perhaps even a grammer checker...).  Valid code
is a basic QA issue and should be a given: accessibility issues or not...
again, it's just good development practice.  Finally, accessible pages,
valid code and well structured documents work in ALL browsers, from the
Lynx/386 combo to the "P4/broadband/27inch flat-screen-monitor
super-machine" sitting on the CEO's desk.

<rant>

Too often however, I see hooey that's been pulled together in FrontP*ge or
DreamW**ver with no thought to the final result outside of the visual, or
dynamically generated pages that include three <head> tags and 4 <body> tags
in the same document... these are just sloppy web pages; no wonder they are
not accessible, they're not even well built.  JavaScript?  It's like the
Daily Horoscope... it can be fun, people like it and it's popular, although
highly un-reliable.  Would you use the Horoscope in the newspaper to make
business decisions in the board room?  When it comes to mission critical, I
want control over the whole enchillada, which means server side scripting.
What is so hard to understand about that?  Most accessibility issues are 90%
Common Sense, only about 10% are about technique.

</rant>

JF
Received on Tuesday, 8 October 2002 09:49:05 GMT

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