[thelist] Tip o'the day (x2)

Tony Crockford tonyc at boldfish.co.uk
Sat Feb 17 13:19:48 CST 2001

Okay, so I *have* to respond, but please don't picture me as an activist

> > Which is exactly why we have to *show* them that their
> browser is out
> > of date and *encourage* them to upgrade it somehow.
> that's a lovely (if not self-serving) argument but for two points:
> - people cannot upgrade because the hardware will not support it...
> for example, my library uses old 486s that can barely run NN3.04...
> they're not going to upgrade.... they just don't have the funds....
> telling those users that they aren't good enough because they don't
> have the latest browser is elitism...

But this is the case all over the web:

"this site best viewed in Internet explorer 4.0" for example


"this site uses flash, please click here to download the plug-in"

If they can't have the latest browser, they can't have the full
experience of your site is all.  Standards compliant with content and
style separate will make having a content only version of your site very

And I think that's what we'll have to do, but it's not as hard to build
two copies of your site as it is to fudge it to work in a range of old
and new browsers.

> - people cannot upgrade because the *user* can't use it... as an
> example, i spent some time the other day watching blind and
> otherwise handicapped users surf... some screen-readers can
> almost handle stuff like the ALA site... most of the other tools
> crapped the bed... not only is there case law to suggest telling
> handicapped users to go away is illegal, there's also a federal law
> on the books in US preventing you from doing that for government
> sites...

And this is a case where we need more standards - why should *users*
with a disadvantage be restricted by the poor quality of the tools
they're forced to use.  IMHO the legislation is pointing in the wrong
direction.  A more humane judgement on M$ would have been an order to
develop efficient software for the users you describe *for free*

But, in any case, your simple, standard, content only site will fit the
bill meantime.

> > If we continue to support older browsers by painstakingly recreating
> > and recoding our designs, there's a significant danger that
> the paying
> > client will gravitate towards the cheaper (because she's standards
> > compliant) designer.
> um, please remember.... standards compliance does *not*
> automatically equal a better design, or a cheaper design...  it does
> *not* mean a site will be accessible... ultimately, it's
> still difficult to
> build a site to cater to all your users, whether you go with
> standards or not... this is because, as a smart business person,
> you need to find a way *not* to exclude any users, because that's
> just turning away customers...

I don't believe in exclusion, I believe in simplifying the number of

by simplifying to a standard compliant site and a simple content only
site we have only two jobs to do.

In all honesty I'd like to see content only versions of all sites (and
yes I know some sites are devoid of content and are all entertainment,
but that's another story, a bit like listening to a spoken word cassette
in the car and watching the DVD of the film of the book.  Both
meaningful experiences at different ends of the spectrum.

> > Educating clients on cross browser compatibility will
> eventually sound
> > like a *magic* way to increase the fee - how long will they
> stand for
> > it?
> hell, they don't stand for it now... but ultimately, you have to
> educate the client... and when that client fires up her copy of NN4
> on windows (which happens a lot), tell me how to explain that what
> i've built is a better solution -- because it's
> standards-compliant, but
> doesn't work on her browser?

But wouldn't it be better to educate them that switching to standards
would be more cost effective in the long term?

> building it to degrade *and* be standards-compliant can be done,
> easily, and without extra cost, *if* you make the conscious effort to
> do it up-front...

I'm happy with this, but we all make a decision about where the degrade
will stop being graceful.   All I'm suggesting is that we move the
threshold forward to speed up the process.

> > Act NOW!
> >
> > Educate, Inform, and standardise.
> >
> > Before it's too late.
> too late for what?  sounds like a bolshevik-era poster... would be
> pretty cool... throw a little animal farm in there with pigs wearing
> pants...

It was irony mode! but not clearly marked as such ;o)

happy weekend to you...............

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