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RE: "somebody needs to blink first"


From: John Foliot - bytown internet
Date: Feb 21, 2003 12:50PM

... as Kynn drives off in his Edsel...

Kynn, I don't buy it. Making "nice looking" sites using current
technology/standards is just as difficult (or easy depending on your point
of view) as making it work in NN4, but coddling NN4 has the down side that
it perpetuates flawed software. I believe that "designers" who bang out
their websites using WYSIWYG software with triple, quadruple or more nested
tables are the real lazy ones... they can't be bothered to get it right the
first time. And it is those same "designers" who invariably create more
accessibility problems than they know. (And Kynn, I call myself a developer,
because I develop sites, not just design them...)

I also don't accept "re-learning user patterns" - that one is very weak;
life is change (once upon a time those librarians did not have *any* web
browsers...) Netscape 7 generally looks and works just like Netscape 4.x,
with the exception that the newer version is Standards compliant. So where
exactly is the problem?

Security or performance problems? Like what exactly? While I won't
disagree that Microsoft has had a few issues with IE6, (and Mozilla too has
had an issue or two), so too has Windows and many other software
applications. How many software company sites have upgraded drivers, flash
firmware patches, and what have you. Ignorance and fear are lousy reasons
to not keep up IMHO. And at the Institutional level, there are *usually*
people hired to look after those types of things - further weakening your

User interface... gimme a break .. Netscape 7 has both the "new" and
"Classic" interface... what's changed? And with Netscape 4.x crashing on a
regular basis anyway, the support department will be no less served by
upgrading to new, better, more stable software. Nope, holes as big as buses
in your argument.

Bottom line: Netscape lost the browser wars years ago - most users are
surfing with a version of IE anyway, and as XP is now really the only OS
version Microsoft is supporting, and IE 6 is the default install, most home
users are gradually switching to a compliant browser as I write this. My
server logs show NN4 at less than 2% across many, many sites. So the
average home user has already made the switch, probably happened at least 12
to 18 months ago. So what we really are left with is those lumbering
institutions who have not felt any pressure to upgrade because there has
been little to no complaints (I can personally think of at least a few
Canadian Federal Departments guilty of this). The moment that changes,
action will happen.

You want to keep propping up flawed software - go for it. I would rather
encourage and entice users to keep up, yes, for their own good, but also for
others. If we can start to develop to standards and still maintain
reasonable "display parity" then compliant code semantically and
structurally organized, is by it's very nature, more accessible, at least in
my experience. And since this list is about accessibility, isn't that the


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kynn Bartlett [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
> Sent: Friday, February 21, 2003 2:03 PM
> Cc: Kevin Spruill
> Subject: Re: "somebody needs to blink first"
> On Friday, February 21, 2003, at 10:17 AM, John Foliot - bytown
> internet wrote:
> >> I so wish I could agree with that (since I agree with most of the
> >> rest of your commentary during this thread)... but consider the
> >> educational institutions, non-profits, and sheer numbers of
> >> economically disadvantaged who may not have the option of
> >> switching to a newer browser?
> > Which begs the question - why? How is it acceptable that educational
> > institutions (in particular) would continue to use flawed software,
> > especially since a free replacement is a download away?
> If you ask on this list, you're not likely to get a real answer,
> because most
> of us have likely upgraded to the latest and greatest. To some degree
> there
> is the argument "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Another reasoning
> is that
> newer browsers tend to have any number of security problems or
> performance problems that may not exist on older versions. Many
> places such as libraries and the like may have non-technical folks
> "in charge" and they don't know what it will take to upgrade a browser
> version. Or maybe they don't feel like disrupting the usage patterns of
> their patrons; they may need to generate completely new tutorials or
> guides if a browser's user interface has changed.
> Why not provide free consulting to any "big lumbersome institution which
> has not kept up"? If you say that's the problem.
> See, the main problem I have with all of this is that people who are
> getting
> all up in arms and indignant are basically doing it because It Makes My
> Life Easier -- a very designer-focused approach. Yes, you may throw
> out the old justification that "but it's BETTER for them because
> they'll have
> better software!" but the truth is that most designers are irrationally
> annoyed
> at the fact that someone is using "old software" because it means we
> still
> have to deal with it. The benefit to the user is not REALLY why we're
> concerned as much as our own comfort.
> Whenever designers start putting their own comfort and ease of
> development
> before that of the user, you see problems resulting. It's the same
> slippery
> slope that eventually leads back to developers saying "screw the blind,
> it's too much work" and other non-accessibility concerns. It places the
> needs of the developer above that of the user.
> Don't try to tell me that someone who has been using Netscape 4.7 for
> 4 years and is completely happy with it is going to be better served, no
> matter WHAT she might think, by upgrading to the latest version of
> Mozilla
> or Opera or whatever -- she'll have to relearn, her IT department will
> need
> to take on a greater support burden, and the benefits will be quite
> small
> to the point of being unnoticeable.
> Artificially creating a problem by "suddenly making 40% or 50% of the
> web sites fail" is developer dishonesty, akin to Microsoft's nonsense of
> breaking their site in Opera on purpose.
> --Kynn
> ----
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