W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 1999

Re: Fw: QED & Marshall McLuhan

From: Ann Navarro <ann@webgeek.com>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 10:04:10 -0400
Message-Id: <199906081404.KAA11127@www10.w3.org>
To: "jonathan chetwynd" <jay@peepo.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 09:47 AM 6/8/99 +0100, jonathan chetwynd wrote:

>2    if sites were written in a way that meant that they started from an
>easily understandable base.

>W3C site does not match this criteria.

There's a point when "starting from an easily understandable base" is not
helpful but instead winds up being pure farce. 

Should a web site dedicated to quantum physics start with an explanation
that gravity is what makes a ball roll down hill? Should a math site
discussing chaos theory take the time to explain how addition works by
showing two piles of apples being combined into one? 

There is simply information out in the world that not everyone is capable
of understanding. I'd never pretend that I should be able to understand and
first reading a chaos theory math site. 

The W3C site is not so advanced. The content there does make some
assumptions that are very valid: you have some idea of what a computer is,
how to use it, and what the Web is. The materials provided by the W3C are
recommendations ("standards" to the lay public). These documents by their
very definition must be written in succinct and definitive language that
leaves little to no room for interpretation. That language may seem overly
stuffy or academic to some, but when viewed in the proper context (e.g.
this is, for the most part, NOT a tutorial web site) -- then the language
is entirely appropriate. 

Beginner texts are left to after market authors like myself -- and, at
least some of us, do a right fine job with it if we're to believe the
reader feedback and sales figures. 

That said, the idea that someone illiterate could sit down in front of a
computer, and realize that during a "drive thru" web site they're supposed
to click on something and be taking to a site of similar philosophy seems a
bit of a reach to me. What instruction will be provided to them? The site
doesn't provide any. Someone illiterate isn't going to have the embedded
paradigm of "point and click" with a mouse. So more likely than not, they'd
just watch the little pictures scroll by, if they can figure out what they
are (darned small on my high-res monitor settings). 


Author of Effective Web Design: Master the Essentials
Buy it Online - http://www.webgeek.com/about.html
Coming this summer! --- Mastering XML

Founder, WebGeek Communications            http://www.webgeek.com
Vice President-Finance, HTML Writers Guild http://www.hwg.org
Director, HWG Online Education             http://www.hwg.org/classes
Received on Tuesday, 8 June 1999 10:04:28 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:04 UTC