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Re: Visible, simple, accessible sites

From: John Nissen <jn@tommy.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 17:41:05 GMT
Message-Id: <53879@tommy.demon.co.uk>
To: cbaslock@kansas.net, wai@tommy.demon.co.uk
Hi Chuck,

In message <009d01bf02b7$d172dde0$0845abcd@chuck> "Chuck Baslock" writes:

>Please keep in mind what and whom you are dealing with.
>There are several million "home pages" currently available while there are
>only several browsers available.
>Wouldn't it make more sense to have the browser change the wording?

You are right as regards "home".  But what about pointers up one level
to the "parent" page?  Has a convention emerged among the millions of
sites for naming this "back"?  If so, would it then be reasonable to have 
the browsers change the wording in this case also?

But let me go to the fundamentals about the meaning of the operations.
There is a conflict in what the current browsers are doing with the 
Back button.  It is both a trace back in time, but also, in conjuction 
with forward button, it is building up a tree structure to mimic the
user navigation.  This tree structure does not necessarily correspond
to the tree of hierarchy of a given site, hence a source of confusion.

Now I will jump in the deep end!

I propose that these two functions should be separated, so there is 
a trace in time between sites, and a tree for the current site.  
Navigation within a site would not disturb the trace, whereas
navigating to a new site would add to the trace and introduce a new tree.

For the user, think of the site as a book.  You take books off the
shelves, and have a trace or record of which books you took.  Within
a book you have a map, like a table of contents, to get around with.

This proposal would allow agents to be more intelligent, and have
their own way of presenting a site map to the user, appropriate to
the user needs and modality (e.g. speech). 

For sites which have no discernible hierarchical structure, 
and which have links like spaggheti, there might be no means of
the agent working out a decent map on the fly.  So, in the longer run, 
there might need to be an extension to HTML for defining a site map
to go on the home page, which the agent could look at when first the
user navigates to that site.

If this proposal were accepted, we could then argue about what the
navigation commands are called.  Backwards and Forwards seem 
most natural for the trace in time.  The tree navigation could be Up
and Down, but this confuses with going up and down a page.  So what 
about In and Out, with Home at the outermost level?  Or Enter and
Leave?  Or Child and Parent?

Cheers from Chiswick,

Access the word, access the world       Tel/fax +44 181 742 3170/8715
John Nissen                             Email to jn@tommy.demon.co.uk
Cloudworld Ltd., Chiswick, London, UK   http://www.tommy.demon.co.uk
Received on Sunday, 19 September 1999 14:43:31 UTC

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