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Re: Simplicity of Authoring and Accessibility Tools

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 08:43:42 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 04:30 AM 1/20/2001 , David Woolley wrote:
>Anne wrote:
> >       But, I suspect you will be equally horrified to learn that the state of
> > Virginia has as one of its instructional standards (for technology) that by
> > eighth grade each Virginia student will have created their own web page. 
>The difficulties most people have with doing HTML properly are in
>understanding that good writing has a structure.   I would have thought
>that that was one of the things that you should have been trying to
>teach as part of general language skills.  (I come from the last 
>generation that was taught English grammar at school in the UK, but
>I think that basic structure is still taught.)

David, this only applies if you consider a web page to be identical
in structure to a physics dissertation, which is pretty much what
HTML was intended to write.  Talking about writing a web page as
being identical to "general language skills" is all good and well 
if you are producing something that is akin to a Word document, but
that is hardly the case for many web pages at all.

In fact, I've found that most people have little problem structuring
their _textual_ content, the stuff which is closest to being a
term paper.  So where is the actual problem?

The real problems result, David, when you get past the "writing a
physics paper" stage and into the "designing a user interface" 
part of the task.  It is -not- enough to merely know how to 
structure text in written language; in order to create a typical
web page you have to know about layout, you have to know about 
use of graphics, you have to understand navigation principles,
and you have to understand how people use computers.

The idea that everything you need to know about web design you
learned in your grammar school English class is simply preposterous.

>Once you understand the structure of what you are trying to write, HTML
>is really quite simple.

HTML is simple for term papers, but it is very complex if you are
using it to design a complete user experience including navigation
and interaction.

Yes, if you like, we can stick our heads in the sand and pretend
that nobody is doing that, it's wrong, and it's abusive "tricks" --
or we can take a look at reality and see that we're not going to
be able to make all web pages back into physics papers.  Look at
the W3C's or the WAI's home page -- neither of them is anything
like a UK child's English writing assignment.


Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                http://kynn.com/
Technical Developer Relations, Reef           http://www.reef.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet   http://idyllmtn.com/
Contributor, Special Ed. Using XHTML     http://kynn.com/+seuxhtml
Unofficial Section 508 Checklist       http://kynn.com/+section508
Received on Saturday, 20 January 2001 12:18:09 UTC

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