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RE: compatibility

From: John Foliot - bytown internet <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 09:00:45 -0400
To: "David Poehlman" <poehlman1@comcast.net>, "Robert Neff" <robert.neff@uaccessit.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GKEFJJEKDDIMBHJOGLENEEAICJAA.foliot@bytowninternet.com>


I oh-so-respectfully disagree.  If you honestly believe that writing to
every quirk and lousy implementation of HTML (and associated languages)
served up by lousy software is some how going to IMPROVE accessibiltiy I
wish you luck in your endevours, but question the viability of your business

Accessibiltiy is about making the content available to ALL users and user
agents - something most certainly mentioned in my posting (and if you read
the "warning message" in the code snippet, it too mentions accessible).  In
the real world, time and technology march on, and as professional web
developers it is incumbent on us to deliver the goods, not just to the
disabled community but to the community at large, which may include the busy
executive with his web enabled cell phone, or the lucky stiff who picks up
his 2003 Acura with a web browser in the dashboard.  Using the W3C's own
Accessibiltiy Guidelines, I quote:

11.1 Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a task
and use the latest versions when supported.
11.2 Avoid deprecated features of W3C technologies.

To say that these accessibiltiy guidelines were created in a vacuum insults
the intelligence and effort of the authors (who, by the way, are the
sponsors of this list).  I see nothing in the Guidelines which encourages
authors to dumb down or "lowest common denominator" any web document so that
it is rendered accessible.  And to take a position which even remotely
suggests this stance is the fastest way of losing potential converts to the
real issue.  Professional web developers, whether we like it or not, must
also produce "snappy" web sites - this is why the clients pay us.  So the
challenge then is to ensure both the "wizz bang" and the accessibilty, and
using the current technology is the best route, nay the only one.

Yes, a grade three student can read the newspapers - in my experience they
concentrate on the funny pages.  But I don't know too many 8 year olds who
can chew through the London Times or the Wall Street Journal.  If your web
content is about nothing more than "pretty", then go ahead, use Flash or
whatever and make it pretty.  But if your mission is to make meaningful
content available to ALL, then ensure it is accessible to all - code to
standards which are what the browser manufacturers are authoring their
software to.

The real irony here is that by using appropriate technologies (as advocated)
the authors seperate function from style, ensuring that the content IS
available to the lowest common denominator.  But to successfully do this, we
as developers must reasonably expect that our audience keep up as well.  And
to softly suggest to end users that the upgrade process is possible,
reasonable and responsible is in my mind a fair position.  Visit the site(s)
in question using a NN4 browser vs a Standards Compliant browser.  Can you
still "get" the content?  Does one implementation "look" beter than the
other?  Why is this so hard?

If you insist on continuing to drive an Edsel, you do not have the right to
complain that it's a lousy car.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Poehlman [mailto:poehlman1@comcast.net]
> Sent: July 16, 2002 8:09 AM
> To: John Foliot - bytown internet; Robert Neff; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: compatibility
> there is so much rong with this logic that it scares me.  It seems that
> the news papers have the right idea.  They don't tell you to get an
> education in order to read them, they make their content available at
> the lowest meaningfull level possible.  If I am not mistaken, it is
> still possible to read a news paper if you have a third grade education.
> Of course, that does not mean that you will be able to understand all of
> it but vast numbers of people who are not sofisticated do read them.
> I see accessibility nowhere in this message blelow and That is what this
> list is all about.  I agree that the kind of matrix proposed initially
> might be impossible to produce though.  I do urge us all though to
> center on the user and not the "standards".  The standards are often
> written in a vac uum of sorts and than accessibility if possible is laid
> ontop of them if it fits.  This though is changing and the world needs
> to wake up.  Actually, much of the world has woken up, it is the us that
> needs to wake up and also the web standards project it seems.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Foliot - bytown internet" <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
> To: "Robert Neff" <robert.neff@uaccessit.com>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 7:54 AM
> Subject: RE: compatibility
> Robert,
> If you are not already aware of the Web Standards Project (WaSP -
> http://www.webstandards.org) you might want to give them a visit.  This
> battle was started in 1998, and for the most part has already been won.
> The
> issue is not that the browser manufacturers aren't listening and moving
> forward, but rather that users (in particular large institutions) refuse
> to
> get with the program and upgrade their baseline browsers.  NN4.x is more
> than 5 years old now (NN4.0B1 - Dec. 1996), and the last build of
> Netscape 4
> (4.5 - subsequent versions simply addressed bugs) was released in 1998.
> There needs to be a reasonible expectation that users will seek to
> upgrade
> and improve their browsers (especially given the cost factor <grin>).
> And
> so, code to the standards and not to the browsers!  The matrix you seek
> would be almost impossible to compile, given the variety of browsers on
> the
> market, the different operating systems in use, not to mention
> alternative
> user agents such as cell phones, Web TV and PDA's - the different
> combinations are almost limitless.
> WaSP's current headlines include a piece on a company known as
> 37signals, a
> web design outfit.  They include the following interesting piece of code
> on
> their web site:
> <div class="oldbrowsers">
> <strong>Please note:</strong> This site's design is only visible in a
> graphical browser that supports Web standards, but its content is
> accessible
> to any browser or Internet device. To see this site as it was designed
> please <a href="http://www.webstandards.org/upgrade/" title="The Web
> Standards Project's BROWSER UPGRADE initiative.">upgrade to a Web
> standards
> compliant browser</a>.
> </div>
> JF
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
> > Behalf Of Robert Neff
> > Sent: July 15, 2002 1:51 PM
> > To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> > Subject: RE: compatibility
> >
> >
> >
> > I am referencing Greg's remarks.
> >
> > A negative connotation could be inferred by this. Yet we see this
> > already but in another form and that is "works best with this browser
> > and version" and I will not state the web sites and browsers.
> >
> > I would like to see a compliance matrix that would be a reference tool
> > developers, managers and professionals could refer.  I would not be
> > opposed to putting an accessibility statement that states "we have
> > designed our site to meet the W3C and 508 requirements, however, here
> is
> > how your web browser or assistive device interprets the guidelines."
> > Maybe interpret is a misleading word, however, maybe there is a more
> > appropriate word, but I think the point is made.
> >
> > This is where we would need a matrix for everyone to view AND THIS
> >
> > Does the page authoring tools group have anything like this?
> >
> > Robert Neff
> > robert.neff@uaccessit.com
> > 214.213.1979
> >
> >
Received on Tuesday, 16 July 2002 09:00:53 UTC

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