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RE: Pop-Ups

From: John Foliot - bytown internet <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 20:59:10 -0400
To: "Phill Jenkins" <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>, <ward_joel@bah.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GKEFJJEKDDIMBHJOGLENCEPACMAA.foliot@bytowninternet.com>

Phill wrote:

> I believe I could also add CSS and other HTML tags to the list. target="
> _top" is valid HTML isn't it?

Well Phill, depends on which version of HTML you are using... if you are
authoring to XHTML Strict than no, it isn't valid any more, and if you were
authoring to HTML 3.2, well, it wasn't valid then either.  Matter of fact,
it doesn't validate in HTML 4.01 (strict) either.  So if you are authoring
to the now 3 year old 4.01 Transitional or the newer XHTML Transitional,
than OK, it validates, but it is a conditional statement that you make (and
an authoring construct I avoid personally).

As far as CSS is concerned, well, that degrades beautifully.  Accessibility
isn't about "pretty" either, it's about access to the content.  But "pretty"
counts, is important, and earns us developers beer money and more, so
"pretty" is a consideration.  The W3C understood that, so they came up with
CSS so that we can separate "pretty" from "usable", or "accessible".

You wanna use JS to create fancy mouse-overs, go for it!  I do it myself all
the time (although I also make sure that the calls are more than just
onMouseover and onMouseout by adding onFocus and onBlur.)  I don't consider
myself a ludite, I work with what we got and I need to satisfy my clients
too.  But I would never use JavaScript for mission critical functionality,
it's just too unpredictable.  I've seen JavaScript used to validate forms
(ha!), to provide site wide search functions (double ha!), and, using
"document.write", provide whole sections of web pages and sites (fall down
laughing).  How could this ever be considered accessible?  Fancy? maybe.
Slick? probably. Accessible? nope. Sometimes I'm truly confused... nobody
here questions the absolute need to provide ALT text to images, even though
*most* users have graphical browsers with images turned on.  Yet by some
calculations close to 10% of users are using web agents which DO NOT support
JavaScript (http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2002/September/javas.php), yet
people fight the notion that JavaScript is inaccessible.

If you want to set certain restrictions to your users that they require
specific software considerations or configurations to access certain
portions of your web site, well, go ahead, nobody is stopping you. (Best
viewed in Internet Explorer at 800 X 600?)  But don't try to then convince
people that it's "sorta" accessible, or that it's accessible some of the
time to some people... that's kind of like being sorta pregnant or pregnant
some of the time... you can't have your cake and eat it too.

> Software written for Linux doesn't always (heck, hardly ever) work on a
> Windows machine, you're lucky it will even work on other Unix machines.
> Why is there some expectations that web applications will work without the
> proper support being there.

If you are seeking to deliver an *application* to users via this thing we
call the internet, well, that's a bird of a different colour.  But if you
want to deliver *universally accessible* web pages / web sites, then no, I
do not believe you can or will ever be able to use pop-up windows and remain
accessible to all users.  Lynx will not support Popups or JavaScript.  Cell
phones, Blackberry's and other hand held PDA's will not support Popups or
JavaScript.  Certain users, by choice or by instruction "from above" have
JavaScript disabled on their desktop browsers.  Certain users with various
cognitive disabilities may not understand what is happening with pop-ups and
or pop-unders.  My Dad still get's frustrated and slightly confused when a
page launches a second browser window (target="_blank"), thus removing his
Back Button function.  These are all accessibility issues, whether certain
readers want to admit it or not.

> That's what I'm working on, understanding the constraints and
> configurations to make web technologies directly accessible to individuals
> who have disabilities.

I believe you are sincere in your quest, and I am not try to be preachy
here, but it reaches a point where we either need to accept these facts and
move forward or we will never get to the next step.  How can we, as
developers, provide the same kind of "simple" functionality to developers
that JavaScript and Popups do, without actually using Popups and JavaScript?
Let's share the code, the workarounds, the the ideas with *that* goal in
mind, rather than finding ways to justify that which is inherently false.

Just my humble opinion.

Received on Friday, 18 October 2002 21:06:53 UTC

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