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Re: Accessibility of "CHM" format resources

From: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 20:23:32 -0400
Message-ID: <abd6c8010506061723535a4926@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> getting back on topic, if I may be so bold as to try and boil down your
> points adrian:
> 

Thank you.

> people look to the W3C with regards to (accessible) standards, but you
> don't agree with that view because a) up until version 4 HTML was not
> accessible; b) HTML/XHTML is limited due to its inherent tree structure;
> c) CSS does not (yet) support more (complex?) layouts, has
> confusing/inconsistent naming of style rules, and is not a programming
> language
> 
> leaving b) aside (although, in marking up content, i have to admit i
> have never come across a situation in which the tree-like structure of
> HTML has limited me, but maybe that's just because i'm stuck in the
> paradigm)...my question is: so what's the alternative? accepting that
> the W3C has, for better or worse, brought about some form of conformity
> and standard, what would your suggested course of action be now that you
> feel it has gone stale?

I don't feel the only option is replacement. I do feel that the
community needs to look to the usability of it's languages in how easy
they are to write, read and learn.

C++ is an incredibly powerful language, but a lot of users of the
language felt that it wasn't helping them program as much as it could.
The standards bodies responsible for it didn't act in a way that the
users of the languages could tolerate and it is rapidly being
surplanted by other languages that achieve the programmer's goals
better (Java / .Net).

While this kind of thing, in my mind, will always be happening, it's
success is more or less dependant on the quality of the products being
produced by the various bodies.

> a completely new standards body? an approach
> similar to WHATWG (we'll just go off and make HTML 5)? and crucially in
> my view: how is any alternative going to get broad industry adoption if
> even years down the line browsers like IE haven't even fully implemented
> certain aspects of HTML (sensible support for OBJECT, or ABBR for
> instance) and CSS 2?
> 

A spec is only as good as the people writing to it and the platforms
that will run it.

I find it interesting that many in the W3C mailing lists blame
Microsoft for poor standards implementation, but I find this comment
to have the same irony that I have heard from some in the linux
community.

"If more people used it, it would get better."

The W3C doesn't produce an industry quality browser and I find it
quite a lot to ask the bodies outside itself to up and implement
anything they say to implement simply because they said so. As a
developer I am not required to implement bad ideas just because the
standards body says so. I will extend and improve upon the standard
and make my own flavor.

I am not interested in baying to the needs of those people who use
other platforms out of desire simply because they support the
standards. I am not here for religion. I am here to create the best
author and consumer experiences I can. I think it's time the W3C woke
up and realized it doesn't have a lock on good ideas and that if it
produces a bad idea that platform writers aren't going to take the bad
with the good. Personally I use Firefox, but not because of it's
standards support. I feel the experience it provides to be better than
all the alternatives.

Many here in the community seem to me to have produced a religion
around a series of good ideas, but then to take them too far in an
unthinking way. Most rules form around good ideas, are adopted because
they are good ideas, but often end up being enforced and believed long
after their relavency has come to and end.

Standards support and cross-platform capabilities are nice as long as
they reduce the overall energy needed to reach my goals less. If they
don't, they're not worth it.

Accessibility needs not be work. Styling needs to not be work and
Markup needs to not be work. These are all things we should get for as
close to free as we can get. Many have stated how it is the computer
that needs to change and not the user, but often don't apply that to
languages designed to be parsed and understood by computers.

None of the W3C Web Technologies is the Holy Grail. I have not found a
single language to be a joy to program, despite my love of programming
and every day when faced with a new type of document to markup, to
style or to make accessibly I am left with doubts. I have marked up a
lot of documents and a lot of different documents. I have explained
the process of semantic markup to people of all walks and experiences
and I can tell you that each time I learn a little more and become
just a little more dissatisfied with what tools I have available to
me.

Again ladies and gentlemen, it is the tools that must change and not
the people. In CSS I should not be told what I must compromise, I
should be told how I can do it or better yet, it should be so easy I
could discover it on my own. The tools in the toolbox should not have
to be coerced into the role I need as they are with mutli-column
layouts and float.

I appreciate the desire to change the world, but rather than tell
people that they must sacrifice and expend precious energy, make it so
easy that they desire change and improvement.

This is not about ideals; it is about ideas. This is not about who is
right and who is wrong; it's about what's best for everyone. It's not
about telling people how they are wrong, but rather allowing all
viewpoints to come out. It's about expression; it's about
understanding; it's about making the world a better place by
compromising nothing.

Orion Adrian
Received on Tuesday, 7 June 2005 00:24:27 GMT

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