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RE: HTML messages (was: Re: Please comment on issue summaries)

From: Yvette Hoitink <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 16:20:05 +0200
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <E1DQ4RV-00056S-Sh@maggie.w3.org>

Hi John,

I'll mark my remarks with YPH.

[Snip Yvette's preference for plain text over HTML]

John Slatin wrote:
Interesting. I'd be glad for some more information about the way my messages
look when they appear in your inbox; I certainly don't mean to make them
more difficult to read! (And while we're at it, could someone please invent
a new convention for marking quoted mail messages? The convention of
prepending a greater-than sign in front of each quoted line each time it's
been quoted becomes very distracting when you listen to it-- I hear things
like "greater greater greater" followed by a few words fromsomeone's
message, followed by "greater greater greater" and then a few more words,
etc., and even though I'm pretty good at tuning out the distractors I do get
lost sometimes when trying to follow a complex line of argument.

YPH: I've been using <blockquote> </blockquote> for a while now, from your
example. How does that work for you? The greater-than is the standard
though, many mailtools use that automatically. Doesn't your screen reader
have an ignore list or something so you could tell it to ignore multiple
occurrences of greater-than? In that case you would only hear one. On the
other hand, that makes it harder to know who said what... Interesting point.

You asked how your messages looked in my inbox. Your messages often have 18
point letters, which is larger than my personal preference of 10 point. Even
though I told Outlook to "always use my fonts" it still shows up as 18 pt so
I blame Outlook and not you (grin). Don't worry about me though, I can
handle it. It was just meant as an illustration. 
Of course this whole thread involves precisely the discussion we've been
having about the relationship between WCAG and ATAG.  My mail client
(Outlook) creates HTML markup, and evidently some people whose mail clients
render that HTML according to my default style sheet somewhat difficult (or
rather, the style sheet that outlook creates based on my preferences).  If
the mail clients were both ATAG *and* UAAG conformant, each of us would be
able to send well structured messages that could be rendered for each of us
according to our own user style sheets.  So it wouldn't matter if I had my
default font at 24 points (for example), because your user agent would
render the message in 12 point if that's what you wanted it to do.

Yes, mailtools should make it easier for people to configure their own
preferences and make it possible to override the sender's preferences.

Outlook does allow you to use plain text for outgoing mail. Go to Tools ->
Options -> Mail format and then select 'Plain text' for 'Compose message in
this format'. Unfortunately, this does not work when replying. When
replying, Outlook always uses the formatting of the original post. But if
everyone uses plain text on this list, that's not a problem anymore :-)

And, of course, the W3C mail archive strips out any HTML that *is* included
in messages, thus making long messages far more difficult to navigate
because all the header markup is stripped out.  (Cf. Becky's response to the
2.4 issue summary, etc., etc.)

That would argue for my solution to use HTML attachments if you need the
additional markup. In the archive, you can then select the attachment with
the original HTML intact.

BTW, I'd be very interested in knowing whether *this* message shows as plain
text or as HTML-- I *think* Outlook bases its behavior on the format of the
message it responds to...

This message showed up as plain text, because the original message was in
plain text as well. 

Yvette Hoitink
Heritas, Enschede, the Netherlands
E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl
WWW: http://www.heritas.nl 
Received on Monday, 25 April 2005 14:20:20 UTC

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