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Spawned browsers, one more time

From: Paul Adelson <paul.adelson@citicorp.com>
Date: Tue, 06 Oct 1998 09:08:31 -0500
Message-Id: <199810061409.KAA10644@egate2.citicorp.com>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Is it possible to get feedback from the group as a whole on whether the
following items should be included in the UA guidelines? I've gotten mixed
reactions to earlier versions. One of our esteemed members has seemed
uncomfortable with the ideas, but I've also gotten email that supports the ideas
strongly (emails from some PWD's re new browser windows that are unannounced,
re-sized, etc, have included words like 'confusing', 'annoying', and

1) [Priority 1] When new browsers are spawned, give users the option of
overriding author-designated changes to window size, window positioning, and
display of menus and toolbars.

    This is no different than stating that the user's stylesheet should have the
right to override the author's stylesheet, except that this is at a browser
level instead of a stylesheet level. Try using a headwand when a spawned browser
window covers all of your 'Always On Top' tools and taskbars, or within a
non-resizable menuless window that's larger than your current screen size. (Both
circumstances are possible to create with current browsers.)

2) [Priority 2 (1?)] Browsers that are capable of spawning new browser windows
should give users the option of not spawning new browser windows and the option
of being asked before a new browser window is spawned, while still allowing
javascript and apps to run if the user desires.

    This is analogous to current browser options regarding Cookies, which are
also managed by scripts or apps and can be controlled at the browser level
without disabling scripts or apps.
    Asking the user before spawning a new browser would at least provide a
mechanism to let blind users know that a new browser window was being generated,
and reduce related user disorientation.

3) [Priority 3?] Provide a mechanism for the user to readily identify how many
browser windows are open, and to easily differentiate the browser windows from
one another.

    To understand why this is an access issue, try this with current
browser/screen-reader combinations (and without looking at the monitor): open
four browser windows, each pointing to a different article in the same section
of the Chicago Tribune site, for instance. Now try to activate the second
browser window, and then the first. At least part of the problem is the
authoring -- the page titles will all be the same. But one could argue that part
of the problem is that the browser provides no hints to the user about the order
of window creation or anything else to distinguish one window from another.

(BTW - I've been given the impression that Opera 3.x already meets all of the
above, though I have not used Opera myself.)

  -- Paul Adelson
* The views expressed are those of the
* author and do not necessarily reflect the
* position of Citibank or its parent
* company.
Received on Tuesday, 6 October 1998 10:08:48 UTC

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