Re: Draft of new WAI home page - IBM Comments


Thank you for your comments about the WAI home page revision. Replies follow.

>From: Phill Jenkins on 09/20/2000 10:02 AM
>To:   Judy Brewer <>
>From: Phill Jenkins/Austin/IBM@IBMUS
>Subject:  Re: WAI SC: Draft of new WAI home page - IBM Comments  (Document
>      link: Database 'Phill Jenkins' Mail', View '($Sent)')
>I think we should first say that this is a big improvement over the
>existing site. Now, some comments from myself, seasoned editors, and
>usability consultants from IBM.  Do you want me to post these on the IG
>list as well?
>1.  Don't use the Logo and also repeat the Title, which both include the
>text "Web Accessibility Initiative", it is a waste of space and unnecessary
>repeat of the title term.

The Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) discussed this previously
and felt it was not a waste of space or an unnecessary repeat, but rather
was a useful reinforcement of this being the WAI home page, as opposed to
some other WAI page. We introduce the page title here in the same position
that we are standardizing for title position on other WAI pages, and
introduce the WAI acronym at the same time. For people with low vision it
provides a more readable reinforcement of the WAI logo, which is not as
ideal as we'd like yet in terms of visual contrast, and implementations of
CSS and SVG aren't yet available or consistent enough to do that logo in
markup language instead of as a bitmapped image with accompanying alt text.
And when trying the design without the page title "Web Accessibility
Initiative" in place, some people did not notice that they were on the WAI
home page, since the same logo combination on this page also appears on
many other WAI pages -- whether this was from dyslexia or ADD or just
simply not noticing is unclear, but we decided to leave in the text
reinforcement of this as the WAI home page.

>2.  Either remove the local anchors listed across the top (i.e., News 
>About WAI  Participation ...)   - or - make them a consistent set of nav
>links that are included in ALL pages as a template for the site. The "local
>anchors" don't add any help to the WAI home page.  The fact that same link
>term (i.e. News) behaves differently, one is a local link and one is an
>external link to the News page; causes confusion.  Bobby actually checks to
>make sure that the same link term takes you to the same page per the WCAG
>guidelines.   The use of local links (i.e. TOC) is useful on pages that are
>more than one screenfull, whether browsing visually or aurally.  On the
>shorter WAI home page, the additional local links add clutter.   The need
>for structure navigation on the shorter WAI home page is met by the
>features in the available browsers that support structure navigation (i.e.,
>jumping from list to list, or heading to heading, etc.).

We've started using a consistent set of external navigation bar links in
the upper right corner of the page on some of the new core pages on the WAI
site, and will be spreading this to more pages. We have also left the
internal navigation bar links on this page in place. We've changed the link
behavior so that the same link no longer goes to different locations --
that was an error introduced during sequential revisions of the page. For
some users the internal nav bar links do add usability of the page. The
criterion of "one screenful" that you suggest as the threshhold for needing
an internal nav bar is subjective, given that some people may be browsing
the page with up to 1000% magnification, or by speech recognition, head
pointer, on-screen keyboard, etc., as well as the standard GUI/visual/mouse
or screen-reader/speech synthesis modes to which you refer. Not all
browsers or combinations of browsers and assistive technologies yet support
the structural navigation options you mention. While this page is visually
shorter than it used to be, it has a high link density, so we've chosen to
provide an internal nav bar as a way to jump past groups of links. 

>3.  Add graphics to make the point that a page can be accessible and
>visually appealing.  It's great that most of the WAI home page fits on one
>screenfull, but is needs more graphics. I would recommend using the visual
>effect from the CSS home page.

I'm assuming you're refering to the stylized text designs on
We may try something like this with a future redesign, and/or adding
something that is actually more of a graphic. Our main focus with the
current redesign was to re-organize the information and layout, which were
greatly in need of work. 

>4.  Add shading backgrounds to distinguish the other categories on News,
>About WAI, etc.

Tried this and it worked too inconsistently across different browsers,
given interaction of several methods with the two column layout used on
this page. Have added a red arrow at the H2's outside of the resource
panel, to highlight those.

>5.  The simple search entry field and submit button should be right on the
>home page and closer to the top with a link to the advanced search.

The simple search entry field is gone; there is now a link to search in the
external nav bar.

>6.  There should be a clear indication of where to start if you are new.
>This could be added after Tim's quote.

Unfortunately there are many kinds of people who are "new." Eventually we
want a page that is either more audience-driven, according to a number of
different kinds of audiences, and/or that is customizable. My guess is that
you are thinking primarily about people who want to make their Web sites
accessible. Right now the most relevant introductory resource for that is which we feel needs a lot of
improvement before it is highlighted more.

>7.  The wordy stuff at the bottom should be on another page that you link

Has been trimmed down somewhat but both the basic sponsor info and the
policy footer need to remain on this page.

>8.  The page seems backwards to me. The resources are more important than
>"About WAI" and "Participation". I would use a smaller font for these ,
>have only the top level "about" and "participation" links and remove all
>the sub-bullets except "how to contact us". Perhaps a row of text links
>across the bottom: About WAI, Participation, Funding, Copyright, Contact Us

This was rediscussed and again disagreed with by the EOWG, for several
reasons. People come to the WAI home page for a variety of reasons, not
just for access to the listed WAI resources, and we need some diversity of
link choices in those areas also. The highlighted panel of resources gives
some prominence to the resources even though they are not at the left of
the page; and leaving the internal nav bar intact as described above
ensures that people browsing non-visually will encounter a link to
"resources" as one of four primary internal choices on the page. In
addition the EOWG felt that it would be confusing to place the resource
panel on the left of the page, as that is a common position for navigation
frames on many Web sites, which would be misleading here since the resource
panel is not a good navigation framework for the WAI site as a whole.

>9.  The vast majority of people who come to this web site are looking for
>how to make their web site accessible. WCAG should be featured prominently.
>If you don't know there are guidelines and checklists, it will take a bit
>of clicking around to find them.

Good point. We had tried to address this by putting "guidelines" in the
resource panel, since that is what the majority of people who want WCAG
first ask for "do you have any kind of 'guidelines' for making sites
accessible?" "where can I find the 'guidelines' that I've been hearing
about?" -- and, given that we actually have three different guidelines, the
'guidelines' link goes to a briefly annotated selection. 

I suspect this still won't be clear enough for all visitors to the site.
We'll look for an additional way to highlight this on the home page,
perhaps after updating the "getting started" page mentioned above, so that
there is something more explanatory.

Sounds like once we have the "getting started" page more useful, we need a
permanent link on the WAI home page saying "New to accessibility? Start here."

>10.  The two News sub-bullets look very tech-y. At first glance 2000-08-07
>looks more like a document number to us USA folks than a date. Why not
>write out the date: August 7th, 2000 or 7th August, 2000. These are the
>things that repeat visitors may want to focus in on. In these particular
>ones, you have to know what SVG is and what NPRM is. A short paragraph on
>the news items would be better than a one-liner.
>August 7th, 2000: The W3C released a document called <a> Accessibility
>Features of SVG </a> (Scalable Vector Graphics). SVG is an Extensible
>Markup Language (XML) application for producing Web graphics. SVG provides
>many accessibility benefits to disabled users. For example, SVG images can
>be zoomed and resized by the reader as needed which allows users with low
>vision to magnify images in order to see them more clearly.
>May 31st, 2000: The WAI submitted <a> comments </a> on the Section 508
>proposed standards (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) which were published
>March 31st, 2000. Comments on the proposed standards were invited for a
>period of sixty days. The WAI comments include an analysis of the
>differences between the Section 508 proposed standards and the Web Content
>Accessibility Guidelines. There is no announced date for publication of the
>final Section 508 standard but it is expected to be later this year.

Date now flipped to end and put in normal English. Will add very brief
detail but not extensive text here, so as to keep page lean.

>Phill Jenkins,  512-838-4517
>IBM Accessibility Center - Special Needs Systems
>11501 Burnet Rd,  Austin TX  78758


- Judy

Judy Brewer    +1.617.258.9741
Director, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) International Program Office
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
MIT/LCS Room NE43-355, 200 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA,  02139,  USA

Received on Sunday, 12 November 2000 22:55:45 UTC