W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > July 2005

Re: The Core Beliefs of Usability and Their CSS Application

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2005 20:58:36 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200507061958.j66Jwa708812@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

> > The details of caching are actually pretty important and a large
> > part of HTTP/1.1 is about them.  It's unlikely that defaults truly
> > reflect the appropriate values.
> But not to content authors. They only care about the content. And yes,

Content authors are the only people who know the likely lifetime of
their content, how important it is that out of date material not be
used, whether the contents is private to one user, etc.  They are the
only people who can set the caching parameters, although it does mean
they have to show a certain amount of altruism, as they are sacrificing
immediancy for lower server costs and the benefit of the net as a whole.

> it's part of the spec and it should certainly be possible for
> developers of web software to turn it on by default or for web authors
> to say, "hey, we need this feature".

The feature has to be configured.  Caching is not an on or off option.

> think the largest fault of the web was that when authors were
> clamoring for application behavior, rather than given them an
> application language we bastardized the document language.

I would agree with this, but that is a combination of the fault
of the browser vendors and of the IT managers who saw web browsers
as a way of avoiding installing and maintaining software on 
users' machines.

> I think what it says is that people will use whatever means they have
> in front of them to get the job done. Give them the tools to do it and

In particular, they will get the job they want to do done, which means
that if W3C outlaw things because it is in the consumers' interest
the authors will simply work around those public policy decisions,
as they have done in the past.

> they won't mishandle the tools that don't do the job as well.

> I disagree very strongly that computing is a fashion industry. I think
> what they have discovered is that attractive applications are more
> usable than unattractive ones. This knowledge has only recently (last

Fashion is not about being attractive (retro can be fashionable);
fashion is about changing things every year or so that people
buy new versions in order to maintain their self esteem.  In this
case, rather than sticking with HTML 4.01, people move to XHTML 1.0,
even though they gain no real benefit from it, especially as the
majority browser doesn't actually understand it except as broken HTML.

> Now don't be mistaken, customers have reported to Microsoft after
> doing a study that what they want most is for the features they use
> every day to be improved rather than adding more features. Well
> designed products are more important than feature rich ones.

But the features are added by Microsoft in order to create the 
fashion market as much as to actually be useful.  

This point is actually interesting, because it is my point about
Word 97.  Users are sticking with Word 97 because they don't need the
new features (and probably because it is used by a level of staff that
can't indulge themselves with the latest fashions).  This means that
the deployment cycle for MS Office is now at least 8 years and growing.
Received on Wednesday, 6 July 2005 22:22:07 UTC

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