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RE: "somebody needs to blink first"


From: Kevin Spruill
Date: Feb 21, 2003 3:03PM


I think you missed my point... I never said (don't think anyone did) we should "coddle" older browsers... the reality is however that if one is truly concerned about
making the information accessible to all, then you have to consider users who for whatever reason, might not have the latest and greatest browser. NS didn't lose the browser wars... they surrendered. Nevertheless... there are public libraries, and any number of other venues that users rely on to access information that more than likely don't have the latest and greatest... not because they don't want to support them, but because they don't have the budgetary and/or IT resources to upgrade their systems. Same with k-12 schools, and some colleges - what programs that offer supplemental education to older adults... what about Senior centers? I could go on and on with exceptions... but I think I've made my point.

And considering how under represented in the workforce disabled individuals are, they certainly won't have the financial wherewithal to buy a new machine, etc.

I agree wholeheartedly... it is up to conscientious designers/developers to not only push for and use Web Standards and Universal Design, but to also consider all users. So, just as we have to wait for all browsers to become compliant - working around the idiosyncracies - we also have to wait for the day when all users have access to said browsers. And that day my friend is further off than the day NS/IE 4x usage drop below .5% - about a 1.5 years away (still).

You're right... it is about Accessibility... which means accommodating all users. (He says climbing down from his soapbox)

Ps. The Edsel failed due more to poor marketing/research, than inherent flaws in the vehicle (don't get me wrong, there were some... but they didn't seal the cars fate). It was a perfect example of sticking steadfastly to a single, non-accommodating/narrow focus.


Kevin Spruill
National Library of Medicine
(301) 402-9708
(301) 402-0367 (fax)

>>> <EMAIL REMOVED> 02/21/03 02:41PM >>>
... as Kynn drives off in his Edsel...

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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