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Re: The Age (AU) Technology Not Supporting Old Browsers

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 13:13:18 +0200
Message-Id: <3947CBFA-9517-11D8-8D10-000A958826AA@sidar.org>
Cc: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
To: Peter Ottery <pottery@f2network.com.au>

As a long-time reader of the Age online, I noticed yesterday that it 
had changed and was going to write to this list to congratulate them. 
As Peter says, they have made serious (and I sadly agree brave in the 
current world of commercial web production) efforts to improve the 

Naturally there are improvements still to be made - some simple ones 

Validity: (pages run through the W3C validator http://validator.w3.org 
to get these results)

- escaping ampersands in URI references (href="xyz&amp;xyz" not 
- dealing with a couple of stray input elements missing closing slashes 
(<input type="text" ... />) as required by XHTML
- still some img elements missing alt attributes and closing slashes.
- in the way advertisements are included there is still some code that 
is not XHTML conformant (e.g. non-existent attributes or upper-case 
element names)
- some non-XHTML elements like DATE and BYLINE which could be classes
- some div elements inside p elements (e.g. on the index pages for 

Generally cleaning this up further would result in even simpler code 
(and make generating an RSS feed simpler, too)


- I haven't checked the Flash movie used to present the breaking news 
bar, but it is not clear how to stop it moving. The way it is embedded 
also seems terribly complex, and the fallback alternative excessively 
simplified. One approach to look at would be including simpler HTML via 
- changing style to allow for larger text is great (I used to do it 
myself a lot - I find the default size too small and liked to read 
without my glasses anyway) but the implementation seems over-reliant on 
javascripts, and could be simplified.

There are a few more responses to things already raised below...

On 23 Apr 2004, at 04:46, Peter Ottery wrote:
> re >> Geoff & others wrote: <snip> old browser message... makes the 
> site look foolish
> we're removing it. it was originally intended to (hopefully) ease the 
> shock of seeing an un-designed page if you were a NS4 or similar user. 
> We are aware this message is actually doing more harm than good, & is 
> potentially wrong, so its being removed.

I thought the message made sense as I saw it. (thursday afternoon 
european time) It didn't exclude me from trying to read the actual 
content as it was, it pointed to other versions of the site, and it 
explained what the problem was intelligently. The fact that links to 
upgrade browser included safari, opera and mozilla struck me as 
positive. They are the three browsers I actually use daily along with 
Lynx and Amaya (which are such small-market browsers that I am not 
surprised to see them left out of commercial sites as recommended 
options, quite aside from their limitations as browsers).

> re >> Michael wrote:  <snip> Does this mean f2's brazen breach of
> accessibility standards will likewise crush the opposition ;-)

Last I checked Rupert Murdoch was still reckoned a good bet :-) (But I 
prefer the content I get from The Age - personal taste counts for 

Actually I don't think there is a brazen breach of accessibility 
standards, but a serious improvement in their conformance - albeit not 
yet perfected.

> We are making a genuine concerted effort.

Congratulations, and thank you. That seemed obvious to me immediately 
on seeing the new site.

> Right now we are taking some massive (and frankly i think quite brave) 
> steps in changing the way our sites work for the better. From simple 
> stuff like getting headings into <h> tags and lists into <ul> tags 
> right up to full-blown css layouts that are intended to give us more 
> time to devote to things like accessibility rather than hacking tables 
> together. 

Within EuroAccessibility, for research purposes, we are doing some 
detailed testing of the accessibility of the old version. When we are 
ready to compare that with the new version I will be sure to let you 
(Peter) have a copy of our conclusions. (Don't hold your breath - we 
move slowly). But I expect them to be overwhelmingly positive  in 

> I genuinely appreciate the feedback :)  & am happy to try to respond 
> to any other q's that may be relevant to the list - if not, feel free 
> to email me directly offlist. 

Thank you again for getting involved here.


Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Friday, 23 April 2004 07:17:32 UTC

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