Beta of "Human Factors Programming" Book

Monday August 9th, 1999

Mitch Gould writes,

"'HumanFact(tm)' currently provides 'beta' excerpts from a book-in-the-making, Human Factors Programming with the Document Object Model. Your feedback is welcome.

Chapter 1
This chapter considers HTML-HTTP as a client-server technology and shows how a web browser lays out an HTML document.

Chapter 2
Errors in designing websites frequently result from a misunderstanding of the difference between structure and presentation in document architecture. This chapter provides deprecated and recommended examples that help authors address these issues.

WebAccess CheckPage
A convenient tool for checking one's website against the new guidelines from the W3C's Web Access Initiative.

'Beta' version August 3, 1999.

Send 'bug reports' to:

You get the general picture (tm)."

Thanks, Mitch!

#4 Well, exactly...

by Anon

Tuesday August 10th, 1999 4:49 PM

You are replying to this message

These points are well taken.

(1) Yes, the site should definitely be accessible from Lynx, and it isn't yet. Perhaps this demonstrates that these guidelines are just great in theory--but difficult to handle unless you have the staff to implement all their many demands. The smaller your operation is and the more your are trying to accomplish, the harder it is to follow these guidelines--at least in a timely fashion. Note that I had to code every byte of this site by hand because there is no editor on Earth that lets me implement all of HTML 4.0's features, at least not without some noxious interference. Your implied offer to transcode the site for full Lynx compatibility TODAY is gratefully accepted...

(2) As far not being able to understand the advantage of JavaScripted links--obviously you don't and won't, as long you imagine the world is created solely for your own convenience as a user. I find the JavaScripted links are a very powerful way to assemble such a large collection of pages without managing hard-coded HREFS. Perhaps the moral of this story is that you have to be realistic about whether you can really afford to make all the sacrifices demanded by the WAI guidelines. Take this exercise too literally, I think, and you're just doomed.

3. Yes, Navigator 4 doesn't do such a great job with these pages. Maybe the moral of that story is this is why HTML 4.0 and CSS haven't been as popular as they ought to be. We are ALL facing difficult decisions about getting on with the future of the Web or just staying stuck with the kludges of the past because we'll annoy X number of legacy users if we try.

I would like to add that I've reported on the concepts and recommended techniques behind the WAI guidelines, but that doesn't mean I endorse them all equally. I should have said in the chapters that I find the Initiative somewhat naive, idealistic, and sometimes even self-contradictory. Frankly, I believe it isn't essentially radical enough. A better solution is to steer authors away from publishing documents all together towards creating interactive applications designed to answer questions without forcing users to navigate through documents to find their questions answered. (Just don't expect me to show you how to do that today, though!)

Having stated that disclaimer, I generally endorse the aims and practices of WAI. For the most part, I think it's good and appropriate, and remember, I believe this isn't just about a small number of disabled users...