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Re: Browser Issues

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 06:16:37 -0500 (EST)
To: RUST Randal <RRust@COVANSYS.com>
cc: "WAI (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0202260604020.15016-100000@tux.w3.org>
Hi Randal,

I'm going to start on the issue of Javascript - this is something that gets
raised a lot, and it is in the FAQ that we wrote http://www.soundingboard.co.nz/waifaq.nsf
(it is the first one in the list at the moment I think, and the URI is really long)

The functions provided by Javascript can be presented through the server
instead / as well, and this is what is required to make a site accessible,
because for accessibility reasons there are users who do not have the ability
to use javascript.

In general, browsers present HTML. If it is well-written HTML, different
browsers will be able to present it, and WCAG explains requirements caused by
the fact that users have (and need to use) browsers that simply cannot do
some things like java or javascript or flash.

The fact that a presentation on an older browser will not have the beautiful
layout and presentation posssibilities that a modern CSS-capable browser
provides is normally something that people think is a problem. But in fact it
doesn't change the situation much - users with modern script/css/java-capable
browsers have even more ability to change the way that a site is presented,
and some do, again generally because they need to.

So the way I generally explain good design, is that it is design that works
well with the technology, and provides as much as possible to users - helpful
layouts and colour schemes, readable fonts (one of the things I find
frustrating is designs that decide that a good font size is 80% of what I
decided was the right font size for me to read comfortably). Working well
with the technology in this case means taking advantage of what it offers
users - such as the ability to set up their browser in a way that makes it
comfortable for them to use. When I buy a book I am restricted by the
publisher's choice of fonts, sizes, weight of the book, etc (I realise these
things are interrelated). On the web, I can make my own choices, so although
in many cases it is easier to read paper than a screen (due to resolution and
other technical issues) I can optimise the screen for me, which I cannot do
with paper.

just 2c worth


On Mon, 25 Feb 2002, RUST Randal wrote:

  I am preparing a presentation to give to the local Macromedia User Group
  next month on accessibility and web standards.

  I was reading some information about the Maguire v. SOCOG case this morning,
  and one of the comments was that web sites should be accessible regardless
  of the user's browser.  How is this even possible?  Netscape 3.0 and
  Netscape 6.2 are completely different browsers.

  I've said before that the W3C needs to go as far as to say what is or is not
  an accessible/compliant browser, and while that may happen in the future,
  that's not the case right now, and the present is what I'm concerned with.

  I just know that when I go to give this presentation, the majority of
  questions will focus on e-commerce.  People will say that users are going to
  be excluded from their web site because the site requires Javascript and
  either the user has an older browser that doesn't support Javascript, or
  they have it turned off.  If I can't properly answer this question, then
  they aren't going to buy into accessibility at all.

  Randal Rust
  Covansys, Inc.
  Columbus, OH

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Tuesday, 26 February 2002 06:16:38 UTC

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