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Re: That Document On Grid Accessibility, grok, etc.

From: Will Pearson <will-pearson@tiscali.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 16:15:05 -0000
Message-ID: <000301c4e461$bbcbe900$dfedea0a@WILLXCFBVU8CQ8>
To: "Al Gilman" <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Cc: <wai-xtech@w3.org>




> >Hi Al,
>>
>>I had a bit of a read through that document, the URI for which you posted 
>>in response to my comments on diagram accessibility.  Whilst I think we're 
>>both on the same track for the main points, I would be interested to hear 
>>your views on interface exploration.  In the document you mentioned that 
>>the user follows a path to achieve a goal, and I agree with this, however, 
>>you also stated this path was previously known to the user.  It's this 
>>prior knowledge that, in some circumstances, I don't believe exists.  We 
>>know where we are and where we want to get to, but not necessarily how to 
>>get there, and use interfaces in an exploratory manner to try to determine 
>>the next step in the path to achieve our goal.  If an interface is new to 
>>us, say it's a new application or an unfamiliar web page, then we'll 
>>assess the available options and determine the most likely one that will 
>>take us a stage further in achieving our goals.  We determine this by 
>>evaluating the meaning conveyed as we perceive it according to our 
>>ontological set of mappings between meaning and physical stimuli.  It's 
>>sort of learning through exploration, and if we choose the wrong option, 
>>we then at least know what that does.
>>
>>I was just wondering what you thought of this.  Following a pre-learnt 
>>path is fine if we know the path, but if not we have to make guesses as to 
>>where to go, something we do on the web quite a lot as there's that 
>>enormity of different interfaces.
>
> You are quite right that a Web dialog can disclose, and a user can
> discover, the means to achieve their ends.
>
> In the case of marketing, it comes damn close to discovering the ends.
>
> This is one of my major themes, that I fear the TAG doesn't address
> adequately: the fact that hyperlinks came with a "money-back
> guarantee," the back button. The first step across a hyperlink is
> tentative and undo-able. It takes a multi-step dialog to make a firm
> commitment.

Not necessarily.  You can always back up multiple levels if the first route 
you choose doesn't meet your needs.  There are exceptions to this, though. 
If you're using server side script to process form data, then once the user 
has sent that data, the state of the database, or other functions requiring 
that data, has changed.  So, you can't back out and return to a prior state, 
considering there's no "undo" for the server side process.

>
> Hyperlinks have been able to be shoddy in their advance warning
> precisely because the back button was there.

Yes, except for my exception above.  However, this does nothing for 
usability.  It takes longer for the correct route to be found through the 
interface, as the user has to explore different choice paths, rather than 
reading enough information to make the correct initial decision.  Also, 
considering current web development practicies and conventions, the fact 
they may have taken the incorrect choice won't become apparent until half 
way down the page, or in some cases, a couple of steps forward in the 
process tree.  As screen reader users are slower than sighted users in find 
activities, this can be a rather big hit on efficiency.
>
> Low risk per unit user decision is one of the "low level" aspects of
> Web interaction that allowed it to spread like wildfire.
>
> We really ought to be having this conversation in a shared space, however.

message copied to XTech.

Will
>
> Al
>
>>Will
>
> 
Received on Friday, 17 December 2004 17:57:23 GMT

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