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Re: Design Principles: Moving Forward (was Re: minutes: HTML WG Weekly 21 May 2009 [draft])

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 27 May 2009 12:17:07 -0500
Message-ID: <1c8dbcaa0905271017w265078a6va95b367964eab1ec@mail.gmail.com>
To: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
I  propose strengthening the accessibility design principle to include
the following text:

"Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential. This
does not mean that features should be omitted entirely if not all
users can fully make use of them. But alternate/equivalent mechanisms
must be provided."

The W3C requires that technologies must be accessible. Accessibility
features address failure modes that are infrequent, but usually
critical when they occur.

Anne wrote in www-archive [1]:

> You know that paving the cowpaths is not directly about user agent support and users, right?

Yes, not directly.

The current Cowpath definition in your draft:
"When a practice is already widespread among authors, consider
adopting it rather than forbidding it or inventing something new."

Cowpaths is in the Disputed Principles section of the Wiki [2]. One
suggestion was to change the name and definition to something like:

Consider Existing Practices: When a practice is already widespread
among authors, consider it. Widespread use (cowpaths) are one factor
to inform design decisions but not necessarily "pave" the way to them.
No set number of use cases proves a feature should be included or
excluded from the spec.

Cowpaths References in Wiki [3] include several references where they
are deemed unfavorable.

"The Calf Path by Sam Walter Foss (1895) - Popular humorous poem
during the early days of the good roads movement. In the poem, Foss
describes how a crooked path originally carved by a calf walking home
developed into a major road traveled by hundreds of thousands of
people. Foss talks of of blindly following a crooked cow path course."

Don't Pave the Cowpaths By Mike Arace - discusses why codifying bad
practices may not be a good idea.

Paving Cow Paths By Jim Highsmith - Warns that when we pave the cow
paths and ignore the highways, we do a disservice to our customers. He
says, "In the IT world, 'paving cow paths' means automating a business
process as is, without thinking too much about whether or not that
process is effective or efficient. Often business process automation
initiatives require figuring out entirely new ways of doing business
processes -- impossible prior to automation (for example, work flow
automation and digital image processing) -- defining more effective
and efficient process highways."

"Cowpaths" or "Cow Paths" in Markmail:

Best Regards,

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2009May/0074.html
[2] http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/ProposedDesignPrinciples?action=recall&rev=84#head-db0511ace65b8f4c1731f806457c9ad771d5c4af
[3] http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/ProposedDesignPrinciples?action=recall&rev=84#head-31faee7acc905414b0d3dced4585a7ed3f7bc136

Laura L. Carlson
Received on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:17:47 UTC

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