Thanks, as always, for digging into these review projects (and replying to
all my questions!). Some replies below, prefaced by JB.

At 06:39 AM 8/24/00 -0700, William Loughborough wrote:
>Questions for review:
>- is the organization of info better?
>WL: Although this seems like a simple enough question, it really
>requires some kind of user testing to evaluate properly. As one user, I
>would say it's no better - no worse. As a regular user I would prefer a
>stable setup once I've become accustomed but for newcomers, I can't tell
>because I'm not a newcomer, and I would be suspicious of any conclusions
>made by regular users.

JB: Interesting that it seems no better. Given that the organization of
info on the current page is fairly bad, I'm concerned if this redraft
doesn't appear to be an improvement. Any more thoughts on how to improve
the organization of info? And yes, I agree on the need for as much
stability as possible, but we're overdue with a clean-up and re-org of this

>- are the navigation options clear?
>WL: In general the placing of multiple links on one line leaves me very
>cold. E.g.:
> Web Content, Authoring Tools, User Agent 
> Evaluation and Repair, Education and Outreach, WAI Interest Group 
> Protocols and Formats 
> WAI Technical Activity, WAI International Program Office 
> Press releases, history, WAI overview 
> Contacts, questions about site? 
> Sponsors, how to sponsor 
>I don't know if there should be a site-specific style of showing links
>but they just don't seem clear to me.

JB: I'd be interested in alternative suggestions. Here are some of the
things that we've tried: 
#1. using a CSS float to separate out a column of options (inconsistent
browser support for that kind of mid-page float)
#2. using a table to separate out two columns of options for resources and
working groups (can't avoid linearization & sequencing problems)
#3. using a table as a "nav-panel" for some single-line, quick-find options
on the right side of the page (see, for instance, the W3C home page which
was recently redesigned) I would prefer not to use layout tables for the
WAI home page, if we can avoid it, even though we've discussed among WAI
staff some interesting ways (such as embedding a tablin option) of keeping
it WCAG Double-A conformant.

Apart from those approaches, we could also:
#4. strip out more of the individual links & words. Well, I see maybe a few
more words we could strip out, but the trouble is that even now many people
have little idea of the resources that we have available, and so providing
keyword links from the top page gives people a clue of things they might
not otherwise even think to look for. I guess some of my perceptions on
this come from talking with people who call up, looking for things,
including reporters. (I've actually been using the redraft-in-progress once
or twice with visitors or callers over the past few days, and found it
easier to talk people through -- particularly the "Resources" sub-page.)
#5. "verticalize" the lists -- make them long & thin. Visually, this looks
kind of unpleasant, and you only get the very top of the page on the
screen; everything else you have to scroll down for, which is fine for
screen reader users but not so great for visual navigators.

The version I liked best for visual navigation (and with my lousy
dexterity) was #2 above: using a table to separate out two columns of
options for resources and working groups. It left more "air" between the
choices. If we get more feedback on this issue, perhaps we should run some
screen reader trials on that model, perhaps using tablin as an unwrap
option at the start of the table/list, because I may have over-estimated
the linearization/sequencing problems -- it may be possible to build the
layout so that the sequence is irrelevant. But this page has to at least
meet Double-A (and I want to slap a "WCAG AA" logo on it when we're done).

>- are there key pieces of info you can't easily find?
>WL: Because the links depend on one knowing what they are going to lead
>to, I must say one can't "easily find" key pieces of info. The trade-off
>is that if each link is on its own line *and* contains (info about link)
>the page might get long.

JB: Agreed, that there's a trade-off. Can you give some examples of links
that are particularly cryptic, or suggestions for how to make links clearer?

>- does it work well on various assistive technologies?
>WL: I am in no position to answer this.

JB: Fine. Any other volunteers?

>- does it display well in GUI browsers?
>WL: Opera 4.01 looks "better" than NS 4.61. IE5 is also better than NS
>but I prefer the "larger, spacier" look of Opera. It looks quite good in
>Amaya but for some reason the links neither show up nor function!

JB: Ouch. What version of Amaya are you using? I just checked it with Amaya
2.0, and instead of attractive & non-functional, it comes up rather
unpleasant-looking but quite functional.

Regarding Opera, IE, and Netscape, does it at least render comparably
across those three browsers, things are in the right place, right fonts,
colors, etc? I've tested it mainly in Opera 3.61 and Navigator 4.01.

(A note to other people commenting on the page: please include your browser
data in your comments, as William has. Thanks)
>- is it an improvement over the current WAI home page
>WL: I guess so, but not really a *major* improvement - but that's just a
>"for me" thing. It's certainly less and as we all know "less is more"!
>If continuing to work on it doesn't hang too many people up for too many
>hours then keep on keeping on. On balance I think it's a worthwhile

JB: We've had lots of requests both externally and internally to update the
WAI home page, so yes this is high priority. Most of the work (I believe)
is now done, so the time investment has already been made. 

Eventually we wanted to do something with more customized entry points, and
a snazzier design. I'm not sure if that's what you were hoping for on this
round, or if you have other thoughts for different approaches to use on
this clean-up and re-org? Ideas?


- Judy
Judy Brewer    +1.617.258.9741
Director, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) International Program Office
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
MIT/LCS Room NE43-355, 545 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA,  02139,  USA

Received on Thursday, 24 August 2000 11:44:42 UTC