W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > July 2003

Re: Proposal: Additional 'media' type

From: Bill Mason <w3c@accessibleinter.net>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 14:46:13 -0700
Message-Id: <5.2.0.9.0.20030713144044.00b41480@accessibleinter.net>
To: Blaine Cook <lattice@romeda.org>, www-style@w3.org

At 02:02 PM 7/13/2003, Blaine Cook wrote:
>I've recently been doing some work on establishing a search engine for an 
>organisation I work with, as well as doing a lot of CSS-based layout work. 
>The intersection of these two activities lent me an idea that I can't find 
>mentioned anywhere, so I figure here is as good as any a place to start.
>
>The idea, in summary, is to add a new target medium to CSS. Specifically, 
>a "robot" type.

Unless I'm really misinformed, most robots do not support any sort of CSS 
to start with.  Consider Google's own advice:

"Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, because most search 
engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would."

>This would allow web designers to create pages that enable search engine 
>indexers to focus on the content, enabling the users of search engines to 
>find better results. One of the biggest problems that I have encountered 
>implementing a search engine is that navigational aids and periphery 
>content is over-represented in the results.

If you are doing CSS-based layout, use it.  Put the main content 
first.  Put the secondary content next.  Put the navigation at the end of 
the code.  Read it in Lynx; does it make sense?

>A number of CSS-based layouts that use "display: none;", or even hide text 
>by using the same foreground and background colours, are becoming much 
>more common. For example, the use of :hover to create popup menus (1) 
>requires hiding text from users, as does using background-images to 
>replace text (2). The problem with this development is that for search 
>indexers, it is impossible (or very difficult) to differentiate between 
>abusive users hiding links and text to increase their rankings, and these 
>legitimate uses. Google explicitly recommends against using these 
>techniques (3).

I would suggest that Google probably should start rethinking such absolute 
stances to some extent.  Techniques are advancing with the times.

Bill Mason
Accessible Internet
w3c@accessibleinter.net
http://www.accessibleinter.net/ 
Received on Sunday, 13 July 2003 17:46:27 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 27 April 2009 13:54:22 GMT