Wise Women List Archive File
> Usability.gov - practical tips and tricks for building a better web site.
Does it strike anyone besides me as odd that a site
promoting usability/accessibility builds its page with
tables? And uses graphics as headings? I guess I was
hoping for a nice looking site that was an outstanding
example of accessible coding.
Well... it is a jumble, to be certain. But have you
looked at it in lynx? The tables degrade gracefully,
the images are all labeled, and they even have a skip
navigation option -- wonderful for folks using text
browsers or screen readers.
I think this site was aimed primarily at the National
Cancer Institute, and other US governmental sites
affected by Section 508. While Section 508 is a big
step towards accessibility, it doesn't require
table-free layouts or not using graphics -- it only
requires that tables degrade gracefully and that all
graphics have alt tags (as well as some real common
sense things like documents being readable without the
style sheet, that color is not the only way
information is conveyed,...).
The front page *is* visually overwhelming -- but it
still has some useful links and information about
usability and accessibility, even if it isn't a great
example of the former.
What exactly does "degrade gracefully" mean? My slide
menu just doesn't show up at all in Opera...is that
graceful? (I'm asking cuz I'm pretty sure it said
that when I found the script for it.)
Usually it means "person can still use the site in a
meaningful way - even if not in exactly the same way"
For example - if someone can't see your menu then it
*isn't* degrading gracefully, because now people can't
get off the front page. IF iyour menu was permenantly
"on" and on the left hand side (like when it's been
moused over) that *would* be degrading gracefully,
because people can still use it, and it isn't
destroying the site, even if it's not as sexy as your
If it was permenantly on, but in the middle of the
page, or down the bottom, or on the right, or
something weird, then again it wouldn't be degrading
Degrade gracefully means that there's an alternative
way something will work. For example, if images are
turned off, the ALT tag information will describe the
not work but the links WILL work. If someone doesn't
have a Flash plug-in, there's text describing the
information within the Flash document. Or if Flash is
used for navigation, then an alternative to provide
site navigation for non-Flash users would be needed.
If CSS hover tags are used for text links, people can
still navigate the site just fine even with NN4.x
browsers that don't recognize the hover tag (if you
need to make sure the links still work fine for NN4.x,
which is still the case much of the time).
Regarding the slide menu on your site, if it doesn't
show up at all, is there an alternative menu that DOES
show up? Is the site still usable and make sense? Can
people still navigate within the site?
Graceful degradation doesn't mean that it must have
the same layout, as it may or may not; however, the
page(s) need to have an alternative that will work and
still be usable and make sense. If something just
can't have an alternative on the page, then an
alternate page or site would be used for
I hope that makes sense, too.
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