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Making Web Development More Usable

From: Jon Meads <jon@usability-architects.com>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 09:21:08 -0800
Message-ID: <3482F204.3BA3A735@usability-architects.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

I have been recently informed by Steven Pemberton that the W3 committee
is discussing the standardization of colour. Steven has proposed using
an HSL encoding for specification of colour.

While the value of having colour specified in terms of RGB is of
definite value for developers of graphic systems and developers who
desire to code close to the "hardware", it is significantly less
valuable to the developer whose expertise and interest in the domain
area. This is particularly true for web page developers whose domain of
expertise is closer to graphic design than to machine level coding.

I recommend that the standards provide for both RGB and HSL colour
specification. There are times when redundancy is a blessing and this is

one of them.

An argument I made in a paper written for the 1973 National Science
Foundation Conference on Engineering Design and Computer Graphics is
valid for this issue as well. Providing an API which allows programmers
to think more in terms of the application domain and less in terms of
the graphic support routines helps them to develop better structured and

less complicated application code.

Transparency of API or HTML code is an overlooked but valuable asset to
the developer. Just as it is important to have transparent UIs so that
users can concentrate directly on their work and use their domain
expertise rather than requiring them to become tool experts, so it is
with developers. Web page developers need to think in terms of what the
page will look like and should be experts in web page design, not in
translating colors into RGB - a process best left to machines.

I sincerely hope that the W3 Committee will consider this issue
carefully and, in designing their standard, consider the end user. And,
most importantly, realize that our goal should be to design tools which
are simple and easy to use.


           Jon Meads
           Usability Architects, Inc.
           210 9th Street; Suite E204
           Kirkland, WA  98033

    Voice: 425-827-9296
      Fax: 425-827-6692
    Email: jon@Usability-Architects.com

   Specialists in User-Centered Design & Engineering
Received on Monday, 1 December 1997 12:31:42 UTC

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