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No script/CSS for maybe 5% of UK home web users

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 07:18:39 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200401200718.i0K7IdQ03192@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

In the UK there is a product being marketted to the low end of the
internet market (e.g. those too old to have been part of the computer
generation - i.e. older than about 40 - wanting it to communicate with
younger members of the family who are part of it) which claims to have
300,000 units installed and over 1 million users.  If you allow for
estimates of the number of people with no web access, this could amount
to as much as 5% of web users in the UK.

The product (which is sold as a loss leader and funded by premium rate
calls to a dedicated ISP[1] and by push advertising which is displayed
whilst the terminal is otherwise idle) uses Mobile Internet Explorer
(which is no longer documented on Microsoft's site).  They explicitly
say it is designed for low graphics sites and that is doesn't support
scripting or CSS.  It has a fairly low resolution, greyscale only,
screen (40 character wide equivalent, although graphic).

It is primarily sold as a combination phone, answering machine
and email terminal for non-technical users.  The significance here
is that a company and most major electronics retailers (I assume
they get trail commission, or the whole of the sale price) in the
UK believes there is a real market for a non-mobile browser that
is incapable of supporting high tech. web sites.  The business model
probably considers the market to be an untapped affluent one, but
it will also catch less affluent users.

I wouldn't consider it for my elderly parents because one either
restricts oneself to the cooperating web sites, or needs a lot
of web savvy to find usable ones.

[1] email is offline and the rate used has a (farily low) premium connect
charge but normal time charges, so it should be possible to operate at
a relatively low cost.
Received on Tuesday, 20 January 2004 02:41:46 UTC

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