Re: Accessibility

Tom Magliery (
Tue, 2 Jul 1996 12:12:51 -0600

Message-Id: <v02130528adff10b6dfd9@[]>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 12:12:51 -0600
To: Benjamin Franz <>,
From: (Tom Magliery)
Subject: Re: Accessibility
Cc: Chris Serflek <>,,

At 10:13 PM 7/1/96, Benjamin Franz wrote:
>On Tue, 2 Jul 1996, Ka-Ping Yee wrote:
>> Chris Serflek wrote:
>> >
>> > You are correct.  We do have many keyboard shortcuts, but saying "first"
>> > is ignoring early browsers like Lynx.
>> Careful.  Lynx is not "early" in the sense of "ancient";
>> it is currently used in many, many places, and development
>> continues.
>Don't fool yourself. Lynx has been losing market share ever since Mosaic
>came out. My numbers currently put it at around one percent of the market
>- and still falling. This is *after* correcting for the bias of graphics
>on hit counts - before the correction lynx is down to one-sixth of a

Whether this is true or not, the point of this discussion is accessibility,
which matters only for a miniscule percentage of "the market" (I prefer to
say "users", since we here at NCSA don't have a "market").  Fact is, MSIE
is the only GUI browser I've ever used that has more keyboard functionality
than NCSA Mosaic.  (I'm speaking of our Windows version here.  But since
MSIE prompted the discussion, I don't feel too bad about that.)  For a very
long time Mosaic was the only GUI browser that let you do keyboard
navigation of the anchors on a page, and that's the foremost reason that I
belligerently refuse to use any other.  Now MSIE does (but I haven't
switched yet).

The only things you *can't* do using the keyboard in Mosaic are 1) change
the focus into/out of form elements.  (Once in, you can bounce around in
them using TAB); and 2) use imagemaps.  (Obviously you couldn't do
server-side imagemaps from a browser's keyboard, but you can do client-side
ones.)  I find it admirable that MSIE can do both of these things.  (Mosaic
will do them soon.)

Having said all that, I'd just like to add my little "shame on you" to MSIE
for the quote that started this thread.  With the exceptions I noted, NCSA
Mosaic was the first GUI browser to let you surf freely from your keyboard,
by many months.  (And our anchor navigation is still better than theirs.
:-P )

>For the record - NCSA Mosaic is doing even worse - it is down to
>a mere one-half of a percentage point even though it does support
>graphics. I suspect that outside the .edu domain it is much lower than
>even that

At first this surprised me, because I know NCSA Mosaic has at least tens of
thousands of users.  But then I realized that 50,000 works out to .5% of
10,000,000, so who cares if it is only half a percent.  And then I
remembered that we're not competing with anyone anyway, so I again wondered
(as I often have before) why people always seem to think we are (or we
should).  I think those people are missing the point.


.---o  Tom Magliery, Research Programmer                         .---o
`-O-.  NCSA, 605 E. Springfield                  (217) 333-3198  `-O-.
o---'  Champaign, IL 61820          O-  o---'