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Re: Tables and the Summary attribute + Nielsen on PDFs

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 2 Oct 2005 14:06:45 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200510021306.j92D6kd06794@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> therefore to the average web designer I don't exist,   and I can assure
> you beyond a shadow of a doubt that when I search the web for something
> the site I can read is the one that gets my money

(Note that my message to you was off list last time; this isn't.)

If I'm searching for information, I'll use Lynx.  If I'm trying to
buy a product, requiring properly designed web sites is usually just
too constraining (note that e-commerce sites rarely contain much real
information); almost no e-commerce site is well designed if you are not
using an out of the box IE6 on a recent machine, 1024x768 and with no
disabilities and no additional security.  In that case, I'm much more
likely to be impressed by links back to the manufacturer's web site
(unfortunately many products are so heavily badge engineered and the
sellers so lacking in knowledge, that they may not know themselves),
and, if I find the manufacturer, that there is a downloadable copy of
the user manual (so that I can tell what it really does, not try and
decipher the sales pitch) and that this sort of information is also
provided for non-current products (i.e. the manufacturer cares about
existing users and recycling).

The sites that work best with Lynx tend to be those for which the author
has something to say and typically hasn't employed a web designer.
The sites that work best with all browsers tend to be those written by
open source software people and software related academics.  They are
generally written by people who really understand CSS and HTML and who
are not hidden behind a marketing department that insists on being the
sole arbiter of the organisation's external image (and therefore typically
require features in the design that are not compatible with good HTML).

With commercial sites, though, there is a basic principle of advertising
that the copywriter (web designer) doesn't actually know anything about
the product and is simply trying to please the target market.  What
they hope is that people will buy based on the appearence of the 
advertisement, not based on the actual value of the product.  This works
both ways, whilst the aim is that most of the target audience judge
by the advert and not the product, it also means that a good product can
come from someone with a very poor web page; the people responsible for the
web page are not those responsible for the product.

If you realise that web pages more reflect the intended audience than
the product, you can see why it is very difficult to create a universal
web page.

Often there is only one sensible product and often one buys without
reference to the web site and only discovers the broken web site when
one wants support or they change to using the web as a communication
channel.
Received on Sunday, 2 October 2005 13:17:52 GMT

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