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RE: Text email newsletter standard

From: Jamal Mazrui <Jamal.Mazrui@fcc.gov>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 16:38:09 -0500
Message-Id: <8C0103F2896CF143AA78F20B29FF281F058F4E0F@p2pxmb03.fccnet.win.fcc.gov>
To: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

I like the choice of formats idea, as I find competing advantages of
HTML and plain text as a screen reader user.  

If a periodical is not long or is of strong interest, I often  prefer to
receive it as full text within the body of a message, rather than having
to go to a web site and navigate to individual articles.  Sometimes, I
use the continuous read feature of my screen reader at a high speech
rate to read the whole newsletter, since this can be quicker overall
than selecting, stopping, and starting on the most interesting parts.
Frequently, I use a find command if I want to jump to a particular
article, based on a search string I get from the table of contents at
the beginning of the document.  I think this newsletter standard is
trying, in part, to make quick searches of this nature reliable, using
generally unique sequences of symbols or words.  

Another factor is that if I have subscribed to a newsletter or magazine,
especially if it is a commercial one, then I am likely to save each
issue to my local computer for assured future availability, not
dependent on an Internet connection or the company still being in
business.  Plain text format is compact compared to alternatives  that
add meta data for formatting and structure.  Since my bookshelf is my
computer, I can store a lot more material if saved as plain text.

To be sure, there are trade-offs, since HTML, especially with the latest
screen readers, provides flexible ways of navigating by structure, e.g.,
by headings or hyperlinks.  The navigation links can also get in the way
of efficient reading though.  

All this is to offer some perspective as to why adding a little
structure to optimize plain text as a format might sometimes be
preferrable to properly marked up HTML.

-- Original Message --
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Patrick H. Lauke
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 3:52 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Text email newsletter standard

Matthew Smith wrote:

> I would raise a simple question:  does a newsletter belong in the
> domain in the first place?
> Just the point of view of someone who does not like email attachments 
> and regards long email circulars (like newsletters) as being just as

I'd say it's about choice, about providing users with information in
that are in line with the way they work and their preferences. In an
world, you'd give them a choice of text email, html email, newsletter on
your website, RSS feed, Atom...may be overkill, but technically not that
difficult if the source is held in a database or some easily
format (XML, even XHTML)

Patrick H. Lauke
re*dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Received on Wednesday, 8 December 2004 21:38:43 UTC

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