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

Re: The Web as a Visual Medium

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 08:46:17 -0700
Cc: www-style@w3.org
To: Afternoon <afternoon@uk2.net>
Message-Id: <20E76EA6-BEB7-11D7-8AC5-000393D9E692@idyllmtn.com>

On Friday, July 25, 2003, at 03:00 AM, Afternoon wrote:
> On Friday, Jul 25, 2003, at 05:34 Europe/London, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>> You're free to view things as you wish, but please keep in mind that
>> saying "the Web is a visual medium" is vastly restrictive in
>> conceptual terms.  By drawing an artificial box around what "the
>> Web is" -- one which does NOT exist in reality -- you are limiting
>> what your conception of the Web may turn out to be.
> I see it more as redressing the balance.

What does this sentence mean?

>> Also keep in mind that there are many people who are regular Web
>> users for whom HTML is _not_ a visual experience.  For example,
>> Web users who are blind and use screen readers.  Their experience
>> is just as valid an expression of the Web as yours, except that
>> your definition excludes their experiences.
> I'm sorry, I do not forget these things. I'm an experienced HTML+CSS 
> developer and I do work with these issues every day.

I'm glad you don't forget these things.  Your statements seem to
suggest that you had forgotten.  I am pleased to see that you are
willing to retract your statements.

>> Also keep in mind that there are some browsers -- such as lynx
>> and it's variants -- for which headings are NOT displayed in
>> larger text.
> I use them myself. They use other visual techniques, such as bold 
> text, underlining, alignment or indentation instead.

Correct.  Which is to say that there are valid visual browsers
(of which Lynx is one of them) which does not follow the "de facto
standard" of changing font size.

>> By saying "the Web is a visual medium", instead of saying "the Web
>> is an information medium and the primary way most people access
>> that information is visually", you run the serious risk of
>> losing track of all that the Web could potentially be -- as well
>> as who could use it.
> I disagree. I don't seek to limit anybody's expression or the 
> expansion of the web. I just seek to remind everybody on this list 
> that visual styling _is_ a priority,

I'm confused.  You mean you have honestly looked at the way CSS is
used on the Web, and how people on this mailing list view CSS, and
you think there is a need to _remind_ people that visual styling
should be a priority?

> certainly not one that should exclude all others, but one that should 
> enjoy level pegging with other issues, such as speed of implementation 
> or semantic purity.

Nice straw man.

So do you still stand by your absurd statement that HTML+CSS are a
visual medium, or are you willing to back off to what I suggested,
which is that the visual component is the most common representation
of the information medium?

I can't tell, honestly.  Your arguments are all over the place.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
Inland Anti-Empire Blog                      http://blog.kynn.com/iae
Shock & Awe Blog                           http://blog.kynn.com/shock
Received on Friday, 25 July 2003 11:46:27 UTC

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