[thelist] color blindness|usability, accessibility, preferences?

Andrew Jones aijones at northcoast.com
Fri Oct 6 11:22:42 CDT 2000

Various replies to multiple people...

> it always boils down to "How important is this particular audience 
> to you?". At the end of the day, this is what one has to consider. 

 To take that thought a step further, we should begin our design with the 
broadest scope of knowledge possible. If I sit down at my workstation knowing 
how various audiences will encounter this page (color blind, low-vision with 
large fonts, no vision, deaf, nervous disorders affecting mouse use, old 
browsers, low resolutions, etc.), my design will be the better for it. I may 
not make a page accessible to *everyone*, but I'll be much closer to that goal 
because I'll be starting from the position of knowing what's possible. The site 
will be less about my personal browsing experience than that of everyone else.

> The important thing is that there was a wide difference in hue. 
> And besides, these sort of decisions come natuarally after you've 
> practiced them a short while.
 Exactly! Once you have the skills and knowledge, the accessibility and 
flexibility of your designs will naturally broaden *even* if you're not 
specifically striving for 100 percent accessibility to a certain audience. 

 I'd like to buy the world a Coke! Humm with me...

> I think I've said this before, but in an ideal world, every website 
> would have 3 versions - 
> a high impact design, full of gadgets, whizzy branding version
> a medium impact design, simpler layout, non-gadget sensibly branded
> version a plain text - information only version

  We need to be able to configure our browsers so that web sites not only 
detect the presence of a plug-in, but also a set of preferences. For example, I 
have Flash installed, but 10 times out of 10 I do not want to see a Flash 
splash screen. One of two things happens. Either I'm forced upon the splash 
screen because the web site detected my plug-in, or I'm given a choice of using 
a Flash or non-Flash version of the site. I *want* to be taken to the non-Flash 
site automatically because I really do know what I want to see. (I should 
simply uninstall Flash to avoid the annoyance, but once in a blue moon Flash is 
used to convey valuable information that cannot be conveyed in static 

> we (again) *say* we want choice.. studying the history of consumer 
> buying and its relation to the world of advertising 
> will show you time and time again, we want it spoonfed and when you 
> spoonfeed it to them.. they buy it.

 That is true in many situations, but there are definite examples where user 
preference is very important. For example, a blind person should be able to 
specify in his browser preferences he wants to be shown a text-only optimized 
version of a page whenever it exists. This shouldn't be left up to a crude 
method of detecting a browser type or plug-in presence. In many situations a 
blind person may be using a regular web browser instead of Lynx, etc.

> I always have this "UGH!  How am **I** supposed to know which version
> is "best"/is going to best address my needs, impress me, make me want 
> to read YOUR site, know about YOUR productor discovery or what have 
> you" reaction - ya know? Anyone else ever get frustrated with that?  

  This choice is simple for me. Designers are still figuring out how to best 
use Flash (more so than static pages). So far, I have found static pages to be 
more intuitive than Flash pages.


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