Wednesday's recommended reading

Written by Adrian Holovaty on October 16, 2002

Digital Web Magazine has two good articles: "Creating User-Focused Websites" and "Making a Timeless User Experience." The latter article, in which I detected a bit of disaffection toward the Web standards movement, suggests designing to accommodate older browsers is essential. I'll point out that well-designed, standards-based sites are accessible in all browsers -- even the old ones.

A new Webmonkey article, "The Secret Life of Markup," clarifies what "markup" really means and sheds light on the importance of separating presentation from content.

Mark Pilgrim deconstructs the myths of Web accessibility. I like this quote particularly:

The next time someone stands up in a design meeting and claims that you don't have any blind customers, ask them if they care about search engine placement. Then remind them that Google is a blind user who reads the entire Internet every month, and then reports what it sees to millions of its closest friends.

Have you seen the css-discuss Wiki yet? It's a growing resource of CSS tips put together by folks from the css-discuss mailing list. Because it's a Wiki, anybody can add, delete or change its content. This is true community-driven content. I've contributed a bit; the obsessive-compulsive completist in me really relishes in adding information and filling the gaps. (As an aside, I'd really like to see a newspaper start up a community Wiki...)


Posted by Carl on October 17, 2002, at 5:13 p.m.:

I disagree with the article on timeless websites. Even the analogy he used at the end was off target.

The article compared web site browsers to a multi-story building, suggesting that a web site that cannot be read in the oldest browsers can be comparable to a weak first floor supporting the upper floors. What horrible logic - especially over the long haul.

If you can NEVER lop off old technologies, then why don't we all go back to using Apple II E's? Sooner or later old technologies LIMIT new technologies, and a choice must be made between the two.

Long after IE5 and Netscape 6 are ancient, something else will be around. To make way for the new, you must faze out the old. Gradually, but it must be done.

What if we had built our road systems in a "timeless" way? One person riding a horse down the freeway, and 100 cars limited to 25 MPH just to keep the horse safe? That's far closer to the reality of the internet.

And I've never met an "internet Amish" who believes one must only use IE 1.0!

Let the old die.

Posted by David Wertheimer on October 17, 2002, at 9:45 p.m.:

Note Adrian's comment above: "well-designed, standards-based sites are accessible in all browsers -- even the old ones."

I have no problem with forward progress; in my own analogies, I'll mark myself as someone using CDs and living on the 11th floor. But I believe in aging gracefully, and giving the slow movers a chance to catch up.

In a flexible medium like the Web, such movement (not unlike black-and-white/color/hi-def TV, to coin a third bad analogy) is sensible and necessary.

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