Quo vadis kde.org?

Mat Colton mat.colton at web-xs.de
Tue Nov 12 23:04:44 UTC 2002

Sebastian Faubel wrote:
> > As always, I try to remind you ppl to check usability (though a bit more
> > harsh this time...):
> > - The page is a pain in the a** using a screen reader, unusable due to
> > the structure. Tested it with JAWS and IE, which is the most used
> > combination for visually impaired. Many ppl think most visually impaired
> > users use Lynx for feeding their screen reader. Well, it's not true, most
> > use IE (not that I like it) and some additional software.
> that's why we added several alternative stylesheets...*

I'm not talking about alternative CSS. I'm not even talking about CSS. As I 
wrote the structure is the problem. Get JAWS, there's a free version 
available. Try for yourself.

> > - Try setting the font size to large in IE to see how ppl with visual
> > problems (not blind) look at the site. The site is unusable. Oh, and
> > while you're at it, try the same with the current kde.org design to see
> > how fine that works. Usability and WAI is not only about getting rid of
> > tables and making print style sheets. Oohh, the design uses tables... I
> > thought that was outta there, well...
> making a accessible & practical design doesn't mean that you never use
> tables anymore.

Of course not, elsewise tables wouldn't be in HTML anymore. But a table is a 
tag to display data in a specific relationship, not for layout.

>  i think you misunderstand something.
> http://www.zeldman.com/daily/0802d.html#livedandlovedlikefrank

I fail to see what you mean. Probably "But the combination of simple tables, 
sophisticated CSS for modern browsers, and basic CSS for old ones has enabled 
us to produce marketable work that validates - work that is accessible in 
every sense of the word."  
As I wrote, a table is a tag to display data in a specific relationship. 
That's not true for layout. So it's a HTML hack that validates due to the 
fact that validators don't check the context of the way a tag is used. A hack 
that has proven to work for many years. But still it remains a hack. 
Besides that, what I get from Zeldman.com is that he thinks tables can be used 
if the design is not workable in non-table layout. I can't see why this 
should be the case for a new kde.org design.
I agree with you that it's a good idea to try get the site to look acceptable 
in older browsers, but I do not think the answer lies in using tables.

> > - The design gets into trouble on higher resolutions. The "Inform" and
> > "Related Links" fields are too small on 1600x1200 and higher displays.
> > The boxes get over sized due to the average font size I use with
> > Konqueror. The "link box" headlines should not be fixed to a specific
> > size. I didn't really look at the code, so I don't know how it was done,
> > but the line with those headers and the search field doesn't scale with
> > the users font size. Besides that, resolutions are getting larger and we
> > don't want to have to redesign the site in a year...
> the "link box" is not fixed to a specific but relative size. the issue
> you are talking about is a bug in KHTML rendering engine. try to reload
> the page a few times...

Nothing changes. It's just that the average font size I have set in Konq is a 
bit larger then "average".  The same thing happens on IE6, but not on Moz. I 
don't think it's a KHTML bug, but I haven't really checked it.

> All the fonts are relative and indeed scale with the settings of the
> user.

I was talking about the box, sorry it wasn't too clear. Since it's hard to 
describe, here are some screenshots:
Konq:  http://www.web-xs.de/~dev/shots/box_konq.jpg
Moz: http://www.web-xs.de/~dev/shots/box_moz.jpg

Back to the font size thing. Yes, fonts scale with the settings of the user, 
but the output doesn't really work too good. I tried modified-4 and larger 
fonts on some browsers:
Konq: http://www.web-xs.de/~dev/shots/konq_largefont.jpg
Moz: http://www.web-xs.de/~dev/shots/moz_largefont.jpg
IE: http://www.web-xs.de/~dev/shots/ie_largefont.jpg 

> What's that all people talking about - on the one hand they want a
> design "100% accessible in any way" even for visually disabled and at
> the same time "flashy" looking at 1600 x 1200*
> Please go on - do so!

Shows how to do the flashy stuff. ;)
ALA scales quite well and is quite nice in all resolutions I checked. It's 
also quite usable with a screen reader though it is not WAI AAA. There are a 
lot of examples on the net.
And I'm *not* saying your design is crap! I like many aspects of it, but not 
all of them.

> > - There are far too many links on the page. As Marko Faas pointed out,
> > many of them are confusing or useless. I know this is just a design
> > study. But anyway, crop of the confusing/useless links and the site will
> > work with a one sided menu. I know we are trying to get the layout
> > straight, not the content, but we have to keep the content in mind when
> > doing the layout.
> I think it's not a shame to give people a bunch of links they can refer
> to.

I did not state that anywhere. It's about "when" and "how" to serve the links.

> > There is no big difference
> > to many possible users between the current design and something done in
> > Flash when it comes down to accessability/usability. But of course we can
> > do like most of the web developers, assume IE and 1024x768 with standard
> > font settings is what everybody uses...
> > Root66 has claimed '...we saw that the "usability" group and me are
> > obviously aiming different targets.'.
> right, as i experienced I'm obviously the only one taking IE and 800x600
> as a measure ;-) cheers.

right, as i experienced I'm obviously the only one *trying* to take every 
possiblity as a measure ;-) cheers.

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