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Re: link in new window debate

From: <tina@greytower.net>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 05:20:54 +0100 (CET)
Message-Id: <200311190420.hAJ4KsV7016584@asterix.andreasen.se>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

On 18 Nov, Info AT ATutor wrote:

> Please learn about transformable content. That is where web 
> accessibility is going. 

  Could you please elaborate on the term "transformable content" ? I am
  not familiar with it.

> your studies of web accesibility.  There is rarely consideration of the 
> needs of those with learning disabilities in accessibility discussions. 

  Granted. Sadly the issues surrounding quite a few groups in society
  are left out; one of which being those with learning disabilities,
  another being the eldery. I believe some of the same issues might
  actually be present for both groups.

> When the new windows issue arises now and again, the needs of a person 
> with a short term memory disability always seem to be secondary to the 
> needs of those with sensory disabilities, if their needs arise at all.  


> A second window can be quite useful for a person who has difficulty 
> remembering what they've just read. The dynamic help as suggested by ... 

  I have not done extensive work with issues relating to the web AND
  individuals with learning disabilities; though I have worked with both
  in isolation.

  However, I can readily accept your argument on the usefulness of a
  second window.

  That said: noone claims that a link should not be able to open in a
  secondary window/tab/etc. The claim - I'd go so far as "fact" - is
  that *any* link can do this. Most user agents, graphical and
  non-graphical, can load a document into a secondary rendering unit
  (typically a window).

  Author-decided opening of new windows, however, is difficult. Some
  thoughts spring to mind:

    - If an author encodes the link as a Javascript, then the user
      cannot, usually, open that link in a manner of their own choosing.
      For instance, when using Mozilla you can set up the middle mouse
      button to open a link as a new tab. If the link is a Javascript,
      then you are forced to allow it to open a new window instead. As
      late as this afternoon I got into trouble with that: images of
      movie posters were linked by a Javascript which - on Windows and
      IE - opened a window of the same size as the image; on
      Unix/Mozilla the window was tiny and had to be resized. Had I now
      had a motor disability, I'd found myself in the situation of being
      forced to resize that window instead of - as I would prefer to do
      - open it in a new tab.

    - If the link is encoded with target, it might open in a manner not
      controllable by the user - a good example is if the user employs a
      virtual monitor that is larger than the physical one, or - a
      related issue - if the user has a screen magnifying tool.

  I'd like to suggest that teaching a person with a learning disability
  how to use their browser to open a new window might be better than
  creating links which

    (a) Will create accessibility problems for other groups, and
    (b) Won't always and consistently work for your student.

  Am I that far off when I say that teaching a person with a learning
  disability that "Links may open in new windows, or perhaps new tabs,
  or perhaps in this window, or ... " would be worse than teaching them
  that "This movement opens the link in a new window" ? The latter has
  the benefit for consistency, something I'd think would be a good thing
  for this particular group of people.

  As I mentioned, this topic is not my forte. Perhaps you can comment
  on my thoughts above ? 
 -    Tina Holmboe                    Greytower Technologies
   tina@greytower.net                http://www.greytower.net/
   [+46] 0708 557 905
Received on Tuesday, 18 November 2003 23:21:02 UTC

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