Re: Introducing NetscapeML

Martin Hamilton (martin@mrrl.lut.ac.uk)
Fri, 05 Jul 1996 04:33:00 +0100


Message-Id: <199607050333.EAA04408@gizmo.lut.ac.uk>
To: preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com (Scott E. Preece)
Cc: raman@adobe.com, s-ping@orange.cv.tottori-u.ac.jp, boo@best.com,
Subject: Re: Introducing NetscapeML 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Wed, 03 Jul 1996 08:42:07 CDT."
             <199607031342.IAA21530@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com> 
Date: Fri, 05 Jul 1996 04:33:00 +0100
From: Martin Hamilton <martin@mrrl.lut.ac.uk>

Scott E. Preece writes:

| Could you try to distill her experience into some requirements for
| browser features?  It's not clear from your limitied description what a
| browser could reasonably do to help.

My perception is that her main problem is to do with the amount of time 
it takes her to scan a Web page looking for the content.  Her field of 
vision is limited, so she can't just take in the whole page in one go.  
Plus... she finds it uncomfortable reading pages rendered with small to 
medium sized fonts.  To give you an idea of what is OK, she reads her 
email in an 80x25 Linux console on a 17" monitor.

What can (GUI) Web browsers do to help ?  Well, again this is my 
perception (but I'll ask her when she gets home from the night shift 
:-) ...  I think the answer is essentially that all of the features 
which make it hard to find the content on a Web page, assuming there is 
any content(!), need to be capable of being disabled by the user.

i.e. coloured backgrounds, coloured text, font size changes, in-lined 
images and imagemaps, server push animations, applets and plugins of 
whatever flavours the browser supports, animation tags a la MARQUEE, 
and so on.

It would probably also be useful to have some control over the visual 
style used to highlight new and visited links, and to be able to change 
the font sizes in not only the main document rendering windows - but 
also have these changes reflected in the menu bar and any dialog boxes 
which might appear.  Better yet if some magnification capability were 
built in above and beyond the ability to select a large font, because 
system fonts aren't necessarily big enough.

How am I doing ? :-)

Martin

PS I realise the obvious response to these comments is "use Lynx, or 
W3, or ..." - but this isn't the point.  Mainstream browsers like (say) 
Netscape should support accessibility.  Style sheets will presumably be 
a big help, once widely deployed, but in the meantime there's a lot 
that browser developers can do simply by providing a few "off" buttons 
in their preferences.