W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > site-comments@w3.org > August 2000

Re: A few comments

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 18:19:19 -0400
Message-ID: <39A6F0E7.75A0187@w3.org>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
CC: site-comments@w3.org
Kynn Bartlett wrote:

Hi Kynn!
> The new site design is interesting.  A few comments, mainly
> addressed to the home page of the site:
> * In Lynx (and I assume, in a screenreader), we start out
>    with a rather long list of technologies which are sorted
>    in alphabetical order.  Most of these are acronyms and/or
>    abbreviations, and many are expanded correctly using
>    ACRONYM tags, although there are a few which are not.
>    (For example, CC/PP helpfully expands to:
>    <acronym title="CC/PP">CC/PP</acronym>
>    If that's helpful for anyone, I'm not sure who...)
>    Some "skip navigation" options would be useful, as would
>    a sense of what's on the page without having to experience
>    everything sequentially.  Taborder would help here as
>    well.

Taborder, yes.

The first links on the page (in Lynx) are to the 
different chunks of the page and let you jump the
long list of links:

   #Technologies | News | Contents | Search
> * The use of <link rel="bookmark"> is nice, however.  The
>    page seems to be lacking in meta tags such as KEYWORDS and
>    DESCRIPTION, however, which could be useful for summarizing
>    and indexing the page.

> * While the various sections of the page are labeled name/id
>    attributes, in the table summary attribute, and in the
>    meta tags, there's little in the way of actual textual
>    content which identifies the functions of the various
>    sections for graphical and non-graphical users alike.  If
>    the right sidebar, for example, is a table of contents for
>    the W3C site, this could be shown better, perhaps through
>    the use of a simple heading "Table of Contents."

> * The Search function particularly suffers, being hidden away
>    at the bottom of the table of contents on the right side of
>    the table, and thus at the very end of the page linearly.

Accessible as the fourth link on the page (see above).

>    Search functionality should be clearly labeled with text
>    reading "Search Site" or the equivalent, including use of the
>    LABEL element to associate the text with the controls, and
>    the Search function should be a lot easier to find.  I hardly
>    realized it was there, scanning the page.

> * The headlines/articles down the middle of the page apparently
>    are news items, but this isn't identified except via the ALT
>    text on the triangle graphics, which inexplicably say "News! "
>    even though that is not an adequate or appropriate text version
>    of the triangle icons.  If the center column is for "news"
>    then it probably should be labeled as such.

1) All news items are marked up as class="item". Headlines are
   marked up as class="headline". Dates are marked up as

2) The alt text of the red arrows could be empty. Yes, that
may be better since the red arrow has not semantics other than

> * The top headline/news item is in red, while the rest are in
>    black.  Is this conveying some sort of meta-information by
>    using color alone?  It's hard to tell why the first one is
>    in color and the rest are not.

To draw the eye to it. The fact that it is the most important
is also represented by the fact that it is the first headline
(i.e., the top headline) on the page.
> * Why the use of <i class="date"></i> to set off dates?  It seems
>    to me there is nothing inherently "italic" about the content
>    which is marked thusly, and so this should probably be done
>    with <span> and italics applied using style sheets.

That's another option, yes. We should probably do that.
(There's some history why it's that way, but no important
> * Just as a note, the MathML conference registration links to an
>    HTTPS URI, which may not be supported by all browsers; some sort
>    of warning, even a parenthetical or TITLE blurb to the effect
>    of "(https secure connection)" would be helpful.


> * Without any identifying headings and such to mark the structure
>    of the page, it's hard to figure out by skimming what content
>    is available here, especially if I knew nothing about what the
>    W3C is or what it does.  Apart from press release teasers, this
>    homepage contains precious little in the way of content and the
>    navigation is of the "huge lists of links" sort.  

That's exactly what we want the home page to do:

Include headlines of changing news and
send people to pages (e.g., the TR page) with complete
information about tech reports, or "About W3C" for complete info
about W3C.

> If I didn't
>    know what the W3C did already, I would be at a loss to figure it
>    out from this, and I think that's a serious problem in usability.

We had talked about putting a blurb at the bottom of the page
"About W3C", but opted instead for the "About" link at the top
of the page.

>    Any main page of a web site should give you an idea at a glance
>    what can be done there -- the use of alphabetic lists, no info
>    about the W3C, no context for the three columns, and only a very
>    minimal, almost "hidden" navigation bar/table of contents on the
>    right side makes this a hard site to use.  (Because most people
>    are used to left columns for navigation and right columns for
>    "extras" or sidebars, this design suffers from serious usability
>    problems.)


> There's my two bits.  More later if I have the time/cycles to
> spare.

Thanks Kynn,

 _ Ian
> --Kynn
> PS:  While you -do- ask for comments, which is good, the resulting
>       link that purports to be to a "forum" actually takes one to a
>       rather intimidating, user-unfriendly mailing list archive with
>       no instructions anywhere on how to submit your feedback.  This
>       is self-limiting and means that only folks familiar with the
>       W3C's operations and mailing list setup will be able to give
>       feedback.
> --
> Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                       http://kynn.com/
> Director of Accessibility, Edapta                  http://www.edapta.com/
> Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet      http://www.idyllmtn.com/
> AWARE Center Director                         http://www.awarecenter.org/
> Vote for Liz for N. Am. ICANN Nominee!        http://www.khyri.com/icann/

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Friday, 25 August 2000 18:19:23 UTC

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