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Re: looking for html techniqueto provide a methodto skiprepetitive navigation linksi


From: Penny Roberts
Date: Oct 12, 2006 6:30AM

Patrick Lauke wrote:
>> Penny Roberts
>> Like I said before my argument is about usability rather than
>> accessibilty. I don't think that we have the right to
>> dictate (to such
>> an extent) *how* people use the web. Why should users be
>> forced to use
>> a keyboard or browser shortcut?
> Why should a web page (aimed at delivering *content*) replicate
> functionality that is best handled from the browser's point of view?
> Skip links may be an edge case, as some browsers still don't offer
> good built-in functionality), but this same rationale applies to
> things like "increase/decrease text size" "print this page",
> "bookmark this page", "add to favourites", javascript based "back" buttons,
> and all similar "helpers/widgets".

The same rationale does indeed apply (and we've had the same discussion
about several of them).

> From a usability point of view you
> might say "oh, we're just making it more usable for users who don't know
> about their tools' functionality",

It's more than just users not knowing their tools. I'm not denying that
that is a major issue; but I don't think that it is the only issue. I
think it depends how your brain is hardwired. I'll use my example of
the methods people use to copy text: I get frustrated when
colleagues/family/friends use menu> edit> copy because it seems to take
such a loooong time. Sometimes I get so wound up about it that I end up
asking why they do it that way. Most do know about the other methods:
to them using the menu is logical, to me the menu is tedious, ctrl-c is
awkward and right-click is natural.

but I'd argue that this is a
> shortsighted solution as it does not address the fundamental problem.
> In fact, the more sites implement those widgets, the less likely users
> will be to learn the functionality that their browsers actually offer,
> and the more at a loss they will be once they move from one site to
> which doesn't offer those widgets.

I understand your point entirely and I agree that users get upset when a
site doesn't have their favourite widget. (Here at the library it is
the print icon that users want. They are nonplussed and sometimes
outraged if they have to use the browser's print button because most
databases come with a set of "e-mail, export or print" options for
search results.)

> But, getting back to the point, this would be: it is my personal preference
> to use a browser that offers me only limited navigation aids...so I expect
> the web *content* developer to accommodate for my preference by replicating
> the missing functionality in their pages?

Not quite: it is my preference not to use the browser's navigation aids
because they do not feel natural/intuitive.

so I expect
> the web *content* developer to accommodate for my preference by
> the missing functionality in their pages?

I see it as offering an easier to use functionality (though I have to
admit that the only one that I have ever put on a page is "skip link").

>> (Can I get down of my soap box now?)
> Sorry, not yet...

OK, I'm still up here. We're never going to agree on this one are we?