[Vit-discuss] Accessibility aspects of design.

Hugh Sasse Staff Elec Eng hgs at dmu.ac.uk
Tue Feb 22 18:24:59 EST 2005

On Tue, 22 Feb 2005, Ben Giddings wrote:

> Wow, you guys got off to a roaring start without me.  That's great!
> I think accessibility should be a prime concern, and I'm really happy that

Thank you.
> the person raising the issue is someone who would actually use the 
> feature(s).  I remember a long discussion in ruby-talk at one point about 
> using "captcha"-things to prevent wiki spam.  One person mentioned he/she had 
> heard that blind people needed something else, and then a whole bunch of 
> people tried to design something for the theoretical "blind user", but no 
> blind users were ever asked for their opinions.

People don't always identify themselves, and they can be hard to
> Hugh, what are some examples of sites that are well designed for someone who 
> likes reading with large font sizes?  Do you like sites that have a "simple"

I might have to get back to you on that.  Basically, if you design a
site without regard to font size, it will usually work.  When you
make widths and spacing explicit, it gets difficult.

One of the things about multiple columns is getting screen readers
to do the right thing.  I've not played with any recently, but this
was certainly a problem in the past, and people reading a 40 char
braille display can have fun with that sort of thing, too.
Especially if the rendering was done by a 'web by email' program
which was written to show layout in plain ASCII.

There are more ways to browse the web than one first thinks.

> or "light" option, which is simply H1-H5 tags, HRs and paragraphs, or do you

HTML 2 :-)  Most of my pages are like that actually, though in
HTML4.  But I'm not trying to attract people, except in so far as I
try to provide useful info.

> still want the tables/columns etc. but designed so that they resize properly 
> when the font size is changed?  In your view, can the presentation issue be

Yes, things should just work. But there are so many browsers out
there -- let's see: lynx, links, w3m, netrik , the old linemode
browser, netscape 4  (I've not managed to build Mozilla Firefox on 
Solaris yet), plume, MMM [I think], and that's just what come to
mind without searching.  Some of these are OLD!

> solved by CSS, or should there be a completely different rendering of the 
> site for people with low vision?

It may be necessary to do both to cover everyone, but CSS should be
the way to go.  If you are familiar with "A list Apart" they have
CSS "black belts" who can do wonderful things in a few lines.

For heaven's sake generate both renderings automatically though, so
they don't get out of synch.  But with the Pragmatic Programmers'
contributions to our lives, you knew that :-)
> I think this is related to the issue of multiple languages.  In one case, you 
> have the same content rendered in two very different ways.  In the other 
> case, you have different content rendered into very similar looking 
> templates.  Because of this, I think it makes sense to try to address both 
> issues at once.

Yes, I see your point, though the differing text directions can make
this fun, I imagine.  Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese...  I'm still trying
to understand how one is meant to use Unicode in Vim on Windows.
> Ben


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