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Re: Should pdf and doc open alone or inside the browser

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 16:03:12 +0300
To: "Jesper Tverskov" <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <opsblfzm0pw5l938@localhost>

roughly: There are reasons for being able to open the file in the browser,  
and browsers generally can give the choice - they certainly should.

not very carefully thought out details interspersed below.

On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 10:09:38 +0200, Jesper Tverskov  
<jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk> wrote:

> www.smackthemouse.com/20030831, I consider the trapping of an
> application inside the browser bad for all or most users.
>
> a) It reduces the area available to the application compared to the
> application having a window of its own.

This can be a basic usability problem, but shouldn't be a big deal in a  
decent implementation.

> b) Since most users are so used to new windows, most or many of them
> will probably close "the application" like a window, loosing the
> browser.

Yeah, I do this :-(

> In my opinion, we should always opt for solutions giving users
> legitimate options rather than "one solution serves all".

> In my opinion a pdf file, considering how big they often are, should
> never just open inside a users browser. Both usability and accessibility
> would say that the user should have a choice: do you want to open it or
> do you want to save it for later consumption?

As a default, I suspect it is generally easier to open it in a browser or  
seperate application than save it. But browsers are configured to do one  
or the other, or offer the choice, already.

I don't think the size of the file is very relevant to how it should open.  
But the nature of PDF means that it is generally designed for fixed size  
print rendering - for which it is very good, rather than reading on a  
variable-size screen. (Which is what I hate trying to do. Unfortunately I  
belong to the emergent generation of people without a printer, and getting  
over the social disconnect with people who assume that printing and  
reading si what people do causes problems from time to time.

> At the moment, the choice of open in the open/save dialog opens the
> application in a new window. But that is as far as I know an operating
> system problem. The dialog could probably have three options: 1) Open
> inside the browser, 2) Open in own window, 3) Save the file.

This is roughly what my browser does - although I have to have something  
configured if I want it to open in the browser. With any link I can save,  
or eveen open to another application (with a bit of configuration).

If people met WCAG checkpoint 13.2 and 11.3 better I coulod set up my  
system even better...

> Conclusion:
>
> To give the user a choice: you can open or save the file, is of cause
> better than just to open a new application trapped inside the browser
> right away without even presenting the user with the choice of saving
> the file.

And Loretta said:

   In keeping with UAAG Guideline 5 ("Ensure user control of user interface
behavior"), the user should be able to control whether the PDF file opens  
in
the browser or in a separate window. There is a preference in Adobe  
Reader, in
the Internet options, that controls whether or not to display a PDF in the
browser. I think it is an accessibility error for the author to override  
that
preference.


-- 
Charles McCathieNevile     charles@sidar.org
Fundción Sidar             http://www.sidar.org
Received on Friday, 23 July 2004 10:04:02 UTC

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