By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Manage your Cookies Settings.
440,812 Members | 863 Online
Bytes IT Community
+ Ask a Question
Need help? Post your question and get tips & solutions from a community of 440,812 IT Pros & Developers. It's quick & easy.

Popups, web applications, accessibility

P: n/a
Can you help me figure out what to do about popups?

Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good sense for
precisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional locally-installed
application interfaces. I understand some people object, on grounds having
nothing to do with disabilities, to links that generate new browser windows.
I don't know what the basis of their objection is, but I wonder whether the
same people object every time their word processing application prompts them
for information with dialog boxes (for font selection, saving the file, and
so forth) rather than removing their document from the main window and
replacing it there with the prompt. Or whether it bothers them that the Help
command launches a separate window rather than, again, replacing the
document they're working on with the Help content.

Anyway, popups are useful for web-interface applications for exactly the
same reasons. But now, learning about accessibility issues, I have read that
popups are troublesome for people using adaptive software for visual
impairments. I would have thought that it might suffice to provide a
positive indication to such users that a link will open a separate window,
to indicate in the new window that it *is* a new window, and to provide a
message in the new window indicating that it should be closed to return to
the main window.

Apparently, that's not enough, and popups aren't allowed. Trying to find out
*why* there's an outright ban, I found in Google Groups a posting explaining
that, "It is a royal pain in the posterior to find your way back to where
you started when sites start spawning new windows. In MS Windows, you
cannot assume that when you kill the new window (Alt-F4 or whatever) you
will go back to the previous windows. The OS might decide to give the
desktop the focus, for example."

If I provide cues such as those I mentioned above, is this the sole
remaining objection? If so, can this be overcome by placing a link at the
top of the popup that reads, "Return to main window", and which uses script
to explicitly activate the main window before closing the popup?

Theoretically script is also not allowed--but I had understood that that was
only if it caused changes in the interface that weren't discernible to the
disabled user. The use of script here is specifically to *make* a change
discernible to the user. Does that change things?

If none of these considerations is sufficient to override the general ban on
popups, then what does one do instead, keeping in mind that the application
*also* has to operate in a manner that will be intuitive to the sighted
user?

--
Harlan Messinger
Remove the first dot from my e-mail address.
Veuillez ôter le premier point de mon adresse de courriel.

Jul 20 '05 #1
Share this Question
Share on Google+
52 Replies


P: n/a
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 10:35:40 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
Can you help me figure out what to do about popups?

Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good sense for
precisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional locally-installed
application interfaces.
Not really, as they can't be controlled in the same way - for example
you can't ensure they're modal, or are closed at the same time as the
parent etc.
Anyway, popups are useful for web-interface applications for exactly the
same reasons.


It's easy enough to use script to open in page popups in modern
browsers which falls back gracefully in older ones, there's no need to
use popups - the main reason not to use them of course, is that too
many people have them turned off these days.

Jim.
--
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq/

Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
Can you help me figure out what to do about popups?

Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good
sense for precisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional
locally-installed application interfaces. I understand some people
object, on grounds having nothing to do with disabilities, to links
that generate new browser windows.


I'd say for web-based applications, different rules apply. E.g. if it's
some kind of browser-specific DHTML content management system, it might
well make sense to have "inline windows" (that is, pseudo-windows in
HTML style). But those are for intranets mostly. In a normal web
context it's really bad to have pop-ups. They're annoying.

--
Google Blogoscoped
http://blog.outer-court.com
Jul 20 '05 #3

P: n/a

"Philipp Lenssen" <in**@outer-court.com> wrote in message
news:bm************@ID-203055.news.uni-berlin.de...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
Can you help me figure out what to do about popups?

Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good
sense for precisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional
locally-installed application interfaces. I understand some people
object, on grounds having nothing to do with disabilities, to links
that generate new browser windows.


I'd say for web-based applications, different rules apply. E.g. if it's
some kind of browser-specific DHTML content management system, it might
well make sense to have "inline windows" (that is, pseudo-windows in
HTML style). But those are for intranets mostly. In a normal web
context it's really bad to have pop-ups. They're annoying.


I'm back to asking what's annoying about it. I certainly understand what's
annoying about Orbitz and Classmates ads preventing you from doing your
business on a web site. I don't understand what's annoying about a popup
interface that assists you with the work you're trying to do. For example,
say a web site hyperlinks technical terms within its main text to their
definitions in a glossary that pops up. If the glossary is in a smaller,
separate window, it is readily accessible and lets you browse the entire
glossary. You also have the benefit of not losing your place in the material
you were reading. Why is that annoying? I'm not asking to be
argumentative--I really don't understand. Is it primarily the modality
issue, or is it something else?

I do appreciate the modality issue, which Jim Ley pointed out. (After all,
if even modal windows were taboo, then the browser wouldn't even be able to
show you a dialog on which to express your preference not to allow popups!)
But traditional applications effectively use plenty of modeless
dialogs--which by extension includes the menus and the tool bars.

Jul 20 '05 #4

P: n/a

"Jim Ley" <ji*@jibbering.com> wrote in message
news:3f****************@news.cis.dfn.de...
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 10:35:40 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
Can you help me figure out what to do about popups?

Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good sense forprecisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional locally-installedapplication interfaces.


Not really, as they can't be controlled in the same way - for example
you can't ensure they're modal, or are closed at the same time as the
parent etc.
Anyway, popups are useful for web-interface applications for exactly the
same reasons.


It's easy enough to use script to open in page popups in modern
browsers which falls back gracefully in older ones, there's no need to
use popups - the main reason not to use them of course, is that too
many people have them turned off these days.

Jim.
--
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq/


Jul 20 '05 #5

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
Can you help me figure out what to do about popups?

Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good
sense for precisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional
locally-installed application interfaces. I understand some people
object, on grounds having nothing to do with disabilities, to links
that generate new browser windows. I don't know what the basis of
their objection is, but I wonder whether the same people object every
time their word processing application prompts them for information
with dialog boxes (for font selection, saving the file, and so forth)
rather than removing their document from the main window and
replacing it there with the prompt. Or whether it bothers them that
the Help command launches a separate window rather than, again,
replacing the document they're working on with the Help content.
My own preference is that I have a choice. This principle applies to lots more
than pop-ups!

If the new page doesn't pop-up automatically, I can decide whether to simply
click on it, or right-click (or whatever) and make a choice. Depending on the
browser, right-click may offer choices such as: open in new window, open in
background window, open in new page/tab, open in new background page/tab, etc.
Note how some of these (especially with Opera) get on with things in the
background without interfering with the display until I choose to look at
them. So Opera may be downloading pages into a number of hidden tabs without
fuss.

When word processing, if I save a new file, then I need to type something in
the complete the action. I know that at the time I say "save" (or "save as"),
and did the application writer. But the web site author can't predict what my
preferences are.

(I also run with unsolicited pop-ups, Flash animation, GIF animation, and
ActiveX dialogues, inhibited by default, so that I remain in control. I wish I
knew how to stop web pages resizing the browser window too!)

I sort-of know where you are coming from. I once had pop-ups for my
photographs, although I also had a non-pop-up link for each. But I've come to
the conclusion that enough people know how to start new windows, especially if
they are using some of the cleverer browsers, that I could remove pops-from
all my sites. So I've done so.
Anyway, popups are useful for web-interface applications for exactly
the same reasons. But now, learning about accessibility issues, I
have read that popups are troublesome for people using adaptive
software for visual impairments. I would have thought that it might
suffice to provide a positive indication to such users that a link
will open a separate window, to indicate in the new window that it
*is* a new window, and to provide a message in the new window
indicating that it should be closed to return to the main window.
My own experience with using assistive technology is that it is all too easy
to get lost. That may simply be because I was inexperienced in using it. (I
was doing so to learn about how to make things more acessible, not because I
needed to).

[snip] If I provide cues such as those I mentioned above, is this the sole
remaining objection? If so, can this be overcome by placing a link at
the top of the popup that reads, "Return to main window", and which
uses script to explicitly activate the main window before closing the
popup?
See above. I am sighted, and still prefer things to be entirely under my
control. It is hard enough to deliver the material to people - trying to guess
what they want to do with it is impossible!

There may be cases where the logic of form input demands pop-ups, but I think
they are probably an exceptional case. And I wonder whether a different design
could avoid them?
Theoretically script is also not allowed--but I had understood that
that was only if it caused changes in the interface that weren't
discernible to the disabled user. The use of script here is
specifically to *make* a change discernible to the user. Does that
change things?

If none of these considerations is sufficient to override the general
ban on popups, then what does one do instead, keeping in mind that
the application *also* has to operate in a manner that will be
intuitive to the sighted user?


I'm sighted - and I want NO new windows/tabs whatsoever, unless I ask for one.
(The Google toolbar offers a configurable option about whether to open a new
window for search results. Have you thought of having an option, with the
choice stored in a cookie?)

Keep things simple and predictable, and make friends!

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #6

P: n/a

"Jim Ley" <ji*@jibbering.com> wrote in message
news:3f****************@news.cis.dfn.de...
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 10:35:40 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
Can you help me figure out what to do about popups?

Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good sense forprecisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional locally-installedapplication interfaces.
Not really, as they can't be controlled in the same way - for example
you can't ensure they're modal, or are closed at the same time as the
parent etc.


True that you can't make them modal, though modeless dialogs are effective
in many applications as well. I think you can code an event handler for the
closing of a window so that it closes its children, but that might not be
very portable. So point taken about that.
Anyway, popups are useful for web-interface applications for exactly the
same reasons.
It's easy enough to use script to open in page popups in modern
browsers which falls back gracefully in older ones, there's no need to
use popups - the main reason not to use them of course, is that too
many people have them turned off these days.


For a web application whose whole purpose is to enable users to create data
charts, one would specify in the "application requirements" that one use a
browser with, say, an SVG plug-in installed. The requirement is integral to
the application. I think in a case like that, an indication that "this
application uses popups" might be on the same level as an SVG requirement.
The user would enable popups while using the application, and then redisable
them afterwards.

My real goal here is to find out what I can realistically do *instead*, if
I'm *trying* to honor the precept of avoiding popups.

Jim.
--
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq/


Jul 20 '05 #7

P: n/a
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 12:00:45 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
My real goal here is to find out what I can realistically do *instead*, if
I'm *trying* to honor the precept of avoiding popups.


Use in page popups.

Jim.
--
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq/

Jul 20 '05 #8

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:

I'm back to asking what's annoying about it. I certainly understand
what's annoying about Orbitz and Classmates ads preventing you from
doing your business on a web site. I don't understand what's annoying
about a popup interface that assists you with the work you're trying
to do. For example, say a web site hyperlinks technical terms within
its main text to their definitions in a glossary that pops up.
I often use <acronym title="Bla bla bla">BBB</acronym> for that and
render it with a dotted underline. You can also use <span
class="definition" title="Bla bla bla">Bla</span> or something.
If the
glossary is in a smaller, separate window, it is readily accessible
and lets you browse the entire glossary. You also have the benefit of
not losing your place in the material you were reading. Why is that
annoying? I'm not asking to be argumentative--I really don't
understand.


To me that's not more or less usable then loading the page in the same
window. I have my back-key which returns me to exactly where I was in
the text.

However, your example is not what makes the most typical and most
annoying pop-up. Annoying pop-ups are whenever the user doesn't expect
them, and feels he didn't control the "popping up" event. Still you
also don't make it perfectly clear you could communicate the "popping
up" intuitively and without disturbing the text flow before-hand.

Actually, as user, I would probably open those links you describe in a
new Windows myself anyway. Don't underestimate people to do what makes
sense to them, presented with a perfectly static and expectable
document.

--
Google Blogoscoped
http://blog.outer-court.com
Jul 20 '05 #9

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
now, learning about accessibility issues, I have read that popups
are troublesome for people using adaptive software for visual
impairments. I would have thought that it might suffice to provide
a positive indication to such users that a link will open a
separate window, to indicate in the new window that it *is* a new
window,
Many users block popups, either through third party software, or
directly in the browser. You don't know whether it actually *is* a
new window or not.
and to provide a message in the new window indicating that it
should be closed to return to the main window.
Imagine someone who has blocked popups: you tell them to close the
window to return to the main window, but they never left the main
window in the first place. They close that main window, and poof!
gone. I don't know what this "application" is, but it's sure to
aggravate those who must start all over again.
Apparently, that's not enough, and popups aren't allowed.
This is not an authoring issue. Popups aren't allows *by the user*.
There's nothing you can do about that (and no reason why you would
want to).
Trying to find out *why* there's an outright ban, I found in Google
Groups a posting explaining that, "It is a royal pain in the
posterior to find your way back to where you started when sites
start spawning new windows. In MS Windows, you cannot assume that
when you kill the new window (Alt-F4 or whatever) you will go back
to the previous windows. The OS might decide to give the desktop
the focus, for example."

If I provide cues such as those I mentioned above, is this the sole
remaining objection?
What will you do? Give instructions for one OS? What about others?
Will the directions conflict?
If none of these considerations is sufficient to override the
general ban on popups, then what does one do instead,
Leave the mechanics alone.
keeping in mind that the application *also* has to operate in a
manner that will be intuitive to the sighted user?


I don't understand this part. Are web pages without popups
unintuitive to sighted people? How?

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #10

P: n/a


Harlan Messinger wrote:
I don't understand what's annoying about a popup
interface that assists you with the work you're trying to do. For example,
say a web site hyperlinks technical terms within its main text to their
definitions in a glossary that pops up. If the glossary is in a smaller,
separate window, it is readily accessible and lets you browse the entire
glossary. You also have the benefit of not losing your place in the material
you were reading.


I'd rather have the benefit of choice.

Thor

--
http://thorweb.anta.net/
Jul 20 '05 #11

P: n/a

"Jim Ley" <ji*@jibbering.com> wrote in message
news:3f****************@news.cis.dfn.de...
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 12:00:45 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
My real goal here is to find out what I can realistically do *instead*, ifI'm *trying* to honor the precept of avoiding popups.


Use in page popups.


What are those?

Jul 20 '05 #12

P: n/a

"Philipp Lenssen" <in**@outer-court.com> wrote in message
news:bm************@ID-203055.news.uni-berlin.de...
Harlan Messinger wrote:

I'm back to asking what's annoying about it. I certainly understand
what's annoying about Orbitz and Classmates ads preventing you from
doing your business on a web site. I don't understand what's annoying
about a popup interface that assists you with the work you're trying
to do. For example, say a web site hyperlinks technical terms within
its main text to their definitions in a glossary that pops up.
I often use <acronym title="Bla bla bla">BBB</acronym> for that and
render it with a dotted underline. You can also use <span
class="definition" title="Bla bla bla">Bla</span> or something.


Interesting--though Netscape 7 already adds the dotted line for you, and it
doesn't work in Netscape 4.7. It also doesn't give the user the advantage of
the whole glossary to browse through. But definitely worthwhile.
If the
glossary is in a smaller, separate window, it is readily accessible
and lets you browse the entire glossary. You also have the benefit of
not losing your place in the material you were reading. Why is that
annoying? I'm not asking to be argumentative--I really don't
understand.


To me that's not more or less usable then loading the page in the same
window. I have my back-key which returns me to exactly where I was in
the text.

However, your example is not what makes the most typical and most
annoying pop-up. Annoying pop-ups are whenever the user doesn't expect
them, and feels he didn't control the "popping up" event. Still you
also don't make it perfectly clear you could communicate the "popping
up" intuitively and without disturbing the text flow before-hand.

Actually, as user, I would probably open those links you describe in a
new Windows myself anyway. Don't underestimate people to do what makes
sense to them, presented with a perfectly static and expectable
document.


Actually--and years of experience with users of all kinds of applications
back me up on this--I know well enough that many people don't have the
slightest idea about some of the features available to them that you and I
take for granted, beyond those that are visible directly on the main screen.
Open a link in a new windows? Open the current page in a new window? Change
your font size? Even without doing a survey, I'm fairly confident that a
majority of browser users don't know how to do those things and may not even
be aware that they are available. That's why I have some trouble with the
idea of leaving all the choices to users. How can they know what their own
preferences are if they don't know that the alternatives exist?

Jul 20 '05 #13

P: n/a

"Brian" <us*****@mangymutt.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote in message
news:v4Vjb.579586$cF.251765@rwcrnsc53...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
now, learning about accessibility issues, I have read that popups
are troublesome for people using adaptive software for visual
impairments. I would have thought that it might suffice to provide
a positive indication to such users that a link will open a
separate window, to indicate in the new window that it *is* a new
window,


Many users block popups, either through third party software, or
directly in the browser. You don't know whether it actually *is* a
new window or not.
and to provide a message in the new window indicating that it
should be closed to return to the main window.


Imagine someone who has blocked popups: you tell them to close the
window to return to the main window, but they never left the main
window in the first place. They close that main window, and poof!
gone. I don't know what this "application" is, but it's sure to
aggravate those who must start all over again.
Apparently, that's not enough, and popups aren't allowed.


This is not an authoring issue. Popups aren't allows *by the user*.
There's nothing you can do about that (and no reason why you would
want to).
Trying to find out *why* there's an outright ban, I found in Google
Groups a posting explaining that, "It is a royal pain in the
posterior to find your way back to where you started when sites
start spawning new windows. In MS Windows, you cannot assume that
when you kill the new window (Alt-F4 or whatever) you will go back
to the previous windows. The OS might decide to give the desktop
the focus, for example."

If I provide cues such as those I mentioned above, is this the sole
remaining objection?


What will you do? Give instructions for one OS? What about others?
Will the directions conflict?
If none of these considerations is sufficient to override the
general ban on popups, then what does one do instead,


Leave the mechanics alone.
keeping in mind that the application *also* has to operate in a
manner that will be intuitive to the sighted user?


I don't understand this part. Are web pages without popups
unintuitive to sighted people? How?


Well, imagine the word processing analogy, where your document disappears
every time you want to change your font, and is replaced by the
font-changing interface. Then, to see the effect of your change, you have to
click OK and wait till your document redisplays. If you don't like the
result, you have to open the font display all over again.

Or is it easier to have a place on the toolbar that's always visible, where
you can select the font you want and immediately see the effect of the
change?

Same question about an application for creating flowcharts or other kinds of
diagrams. Is it easier to keep going back and forth between the diagram
you're creating and the screens containing the shapes from which you're
building them, or is it easier to drag the shapes from one window to
another?

One of the difficulties of designing any kind of presentation for the blind
is precisely that, because of the linearity of the presentation, it is
difficult to convey the big picture and make the whole thing readily
accessible to them. If you deny yourself windows beyond the main one, then
you're creating exactly the same obstacle for sighted users.

Jul 20 '05 #14

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
[snip]
Actually--and years of experience with users of all kinds of
applications back me up on this--I know well enough that many people
don't have the slightest idea about some of the features available to
them that you and I take for granted, beyond those that are visible
directly on the main screen. Open a link in a new windows? Open the
current page in a new window? Change your font size? Even without
doing a survey, I'm fairly confident that a majority of browser users
don't know how to do those things and may not even be aware that they
are available. That's why I have some trouble with the idea of
leaving all the choices to users. How can they know what their own
preferences are if they don't know that the alternatives exist?


Then educate them, don't patronise them.

They will access many web sites other than yours. If you are concerned with
their inability to browse the web effectively, you can't solve their problem
just by the behaviour of your own web site. If you are truly concerned about
them, help them realise what options are available. Then they can use those
options on your site and all other sites too.

If your site behaves significantly differently from other sites, you will have
just made their confusion worse.

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #15

P: n/a
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003, Philipp Lenssen wrote:
I often use <acronym title="Bla bla bla">BBB</acronym> for that
Unfortunately, the HTML4's "definition"[1] of an acronym is defective,
and I find hardly any use for it in that form.

I certainly go along with the general idea of using something special
to denote abbreviations, definitions and so forth, to visually suggest
the presence of a title attribute. Something incorporating a dotted
underline indeed seems to be a commonly adopted convention.
You can also use <span
class="definition" title="Bla bla bla">Bla</span> or something.
But please use the specific HTML logical markup, where one exists and
is not otherwise problematic. <dfn> seems to be tailormade for this,
or do you have a problem with it?

For abbreviations, I'd use <abbr>, and then (if I'm feeling generous
on the day) wrap that in a <span class="abbr"> for the benefit of the
benighted users of that unjustly-popular non-WWW-conforming
browser-like operating system component. Assigning both tags an
appropriate "title=" attribute.

Then the stylesheet can contain stuff like

abbr, span.abbr { ... }

so that it comes out OK.
Actually, as user, I would probably open those links you describe in a
new Windows myself anyway. Don't underestimate people to do what makes
sense to them, presented with a perfectly static and expectable
document.


"amen to that"

all the best

[1] The HTML4 spec makes no attempt to define the term "acronym", but
their examples are at variance with dictionary definitions and with
serious usage. "F.B.I" (with dots!) an acronym - my foot!
Jul 20 '05 #16

P: n/a
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 11:52:53 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
I'm back to asking what's annoying about it. I certainly understand what's
annoying about Orbitz and Classmates ads preventing you from doing your
business on a web site. I don't understand what's annoying about a popup
interface that assists you with the work you're trying to do. For example,
say a web site hyperlinks technical terms within its main text to their
definitions in a glossary that pops up. If the glossary is in a smaller,
separate window, it is readily accessible and lets you browse the entire
glossary. You also have the benefit of not losing your place in the material
you were reading. Why is that annoying?


FWIW I'm with you on this one. If one has a clear reason why an average
reader is likely to find it useful to see the old and new windows
together - such as with a glossary - then I really can't see the
objection. Yes, it's true that pop-ups are frequently misused and
over-used, but that doesn't make them bad in all cases. I doubt whether
the people here who find all pop-ups irritating are representative of
the web-browsing population.

But if there is an *objective* reason why all pop-ups are bad, I would
also be interested in knowing what it is.

--
Stephen Poley

http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/
Jul 20 '05 #17

P: n/a

"Alan J. Flavell" <fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:Pi*******************************@ppepc56.ph. gla.ac.uk...
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003, Philipp Lenssen wrote:
I often use <acronym title="Bla bla bla">BBB</acronym> for that
Unfortunately, the HTML4's "definition"[1] of an acronym is defective,
and I find hardly any use for it in that form.


Since it's an ordinary English word, and they discuss it alongside
"abbreviation" (granted that they misinterpret the distinction between the
two), maybe they felt their examples established the usage well enough. It
seems clear enough to me what the intent is, and it works in the current
Netscape and IE versions. I've read that it's useful for table headings, as
well, when the text that ought to be read by the speech synthesizer is
somewhat different from what's being displayed for sighted readers.
(Example: narrow columns where extremely abbreviated headings are used; for
people using synthesizers, horizontal space isn't a concern and it's better
to have the reader recite the full title of the column.)

I certainly go along with the general idea of using something special
to denote abbreviations, definitions and so forth, to visually suggest
the presence of a title attribute. Something incorporating a dotted
underline indeed seems to be a commonly adopted convention.
You can also use <span
class="definition" title="Bla bla bla">Bla</span> or something.
But please use the specific HTML logical markup, where one exists and
is not otherwise problematic. <dfn> seems to be tailormade for this,
or do you have a problem with it?


According to W3C, <dfn> indicates that its content is the "defining
instance", whatever that means. It doesn't provide a means to display the
term on the page while providing access (through a bubble or a link) to its
definition.

Well, this is funny: in spite of the W3C's failure to point out that <dfn>
works this way, it works just like <acronym>, if you give it a title, in
both Netscape 6 and IE 6, in addition to being italicized in both.

For abbreviations, I'd use <abbr>, and then (if I'm feeling generous
on the day) wrap that in a <span class="abbr"> for the benefit of the
benighted users of that unjustly-popular non-WWW-conforming
browser-like operating system component. Assigning both tags an
appropriate "title=" attribute.


FWIW, I don't understand why even as late as IE6 this is omitted. The
similar tags (<acronym>, <dfn>) are supported.
Jul 20 '05 #18

P: n/a

"Barry Pearson" <ne**@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:G_***************@newsfep1-gui.server.ntli.net...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
[snip]
Actually--and years of experience with users of all kinds of
applications back me up on this--I know well enough that many people
don't have the slightest idea about some of the features available to
them that you and I take for granted, beyond those that are visible
directly on the main screen. Open a link in a new windows? Open the
current page in a new window? Change your font size? Even without
doing a survey, I'm fairly confident that a majority of browser users
don't know how to do those things and may not even be aware that they
are available. That's why I have some trouble with the idea of
leaving all the choices to users. How can they know what their own
preferences are if they don't know that the alternatives exist?


Then educate them, don't patronise them.


Are there many web sites that interrupt their own presentations to give
their users an education in using their own browsers? And how do you do that
if you don't know what browsers they're using?

As for the "patronizing" part, is it really patronizing to make the site
usable for them as they are instead of as you think they should be? This
whole discussion is about usability, but you appear to be suggesting that
one forsake usability by and convenience for the unsophisticated in favor of
catering to the pet peeves of the sophisticated. Surely you don't mean that!

Jul 20 '05 #19

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
"Barry Pearson" <ne**@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:G_***************@newsfep1-gui.server.ntli.net...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
[snip]
> Actually--and years of experience with users of all kinds of
> applications back me up on this--I know well enough that many
> people don't have the slightest idea about some of the features
> available to them that you and I take for granted, beyond those
> that are visible directly on the main screen. Open a link in a new
> windows? Open the current page in a new window? Change your font
> size? Even without doing a survey, I'm fairly confident that a
> majority of browser users don't know how to do those things and
> may not even be aware that they are available. That's why I have
> some trouble with the idea of leaving all the choices to users.
> How can they know what their own preferences are if they don't
> know that the alternatives exist?
Then educate them, don't patronise them.


Are there many web sites that interrupt their own presentations to
give their users an education in using their own browsers? And how do
you do that if you don't know what browsers they're using?


Strawman - who said anything about telling them about their own browsers? I
didn't.

You appear above to be proposing to do things on the user's behalf without
knowing enough about them or their browsers to justify what you are proposing.
The truth is, you simply don't know whether having pop-ups or whatever will be
good or bad for any particular user. It will CERTAINLY be bad for some, as you
have been told here.

If you do simple and predictable things, as much like other web sites do as
possible, you stand most chance that they will be able to access your web site
to the extent that they can access others.
As for the "patronizing" part, is it really patronizing to make the
site usable for them as they are instead of as you think they should
be? This whole discussion is about usability, but you appear to be
suggesting that one forsake usability by and convenience for the
unsophisticated in favor of catering to the pet peeves of the
sophisticated. Surely you don't mean that!


As you point out above, you don't know much about the people and the UAs who
will be accessing your site. You don't know them "as they are". So with the
best will in the world, you may make things better for some while screwing up
others. Unfortunately, just about every decision you make will reject some
people! In the end, you probably have 2 options, and they may even be similar:

1. Be as much like lots of other valuable web sites as possible. Then users
can adapt to all of them + yours.

2. Be simple and predictable, so that users are able to adapt to your web site
rapidly.

My observation is that most web sites don't have pop-ups. (But I accept that
may be because they are so irritating that I tend to avoid those that do!)

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #20

P: n/a
In article <bm************@id-114100.news.uni-berlin.de>, one of infinite monkeys
at the keyboard of "Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good sense for
precisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional locally-installed
application interfaces.
Fair enough so far. I agree they're appropriate in some circumstances.
I understand some people object,
To popups in general, or yours in particular? They get a bad name on the
Web because thare are far more examples of abuse than of good use.
Of course I can't say which category yours fall into.
Anyway, popups are useful for web-interface applications for exactly the
same reasons. But now, learning about accessibility issues, I have read that
popups are troublesome for people using adaptive software for visual
impairments. I would have thought that it might suffice to provide a
positive indication to such users that a link will open a separate window,


But that's exactly what the WCAG says: don't open new windows without
warning the user in advance! If people object, either you're doing something
else wrong (maybe *how* or *when* you open popups) or someone is being
overly dogmatic.

I suggest you read the WCAG and perhaps browse or join relevant mailinglists,
rather than rely on what may be a suspect source.

--
Nick Kew

In urgent need of paying work - see http://www.webthing.com/~nick/cv.html
Jul 20 '05 #21

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
Well, imagine the word processing analogy, where your document disappears
every time you want to change your font, and is replaced by the
font-changing interface. Then, to see the effect of your change, you have to
click OK and wait till your document redisplays. If you don't like the
result, you have to open the font display all over again.


Well, in the context of a web browser what prevents the user of
opening a second window with the "Change Font" interface document on
his/her demand?

--
Stanimir

Jul 20 '05 #22

P: n/a
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003, Harlan Messinger wrote:

[re: acronym]
Since it's an ordinary English word, and they discuss it alongside
"abbreviation" (granted that they misinterpret the distinction between the
two), maybe they felt their examples established the usage well enough.
You might find the discussions on record which went on during the
drafting of HTML4. I followed them (and occasionally put my spoke
into the discussion...) at the time.

I think the outcome of the discussion (against my wishes and those of
a minority of others) could be crudely summarised as: "everyone knows
what an acronym is - the discussions have shown that individuals agree
that everyone should know what an acronym is - just that their
definitions are incompatible with each other! So, we 'solve' the
problem by tossing the mutually-incompatible examples into the
specification, and leaving the users of HTML4 to work something out
for themselves."
seems clear enough to me what the intent is,
Does it? I think I'd have to refer you back to the drafting
discussions. This has also been discussed here, several times since,
and I've no Round Tuits left for doing it again.
and it works
With the greatest of respect, you seem to be taking a particularly
narrow view of "works", even by the standards of previous discussions
on the topic.
in the current Netscape and IE versions. I've read that it's useful
for table headings, as well, when the text that ought to be read by
the speech synthesizer is somewhat different from what's being
displayed for sighted readers.
I have this hunch that you're describing a productive use of the
"title=" attribute in HTML4 - by no means confined to the "acronym"
element.

[...] According to W3C, <dfn> indicates that its content is the "defining
instance", whatever that means. It doesn't provide a means to display the
term on the page while providing access (through a bubble or a link) to its
definition.

Well, this is funny: in spite of the W3C's failure to point out that <dfn>
works this way, it works just like <acronym>, if you give it a title, in
both Netscape 6 and IE 6,
Why ever not? The "title=" attribute is a general HTML4 thing, it
"works" (in the sense that you mean here) on every element which the
browser recognises.

[ re: <abbr> ] FWIW, I don't understand why even as late as IE6 this is omitted. The
similar tags (<acronym>, <dfn>) are supported.


The dominant vendor doesn't need to worry about interworking
specifications, except where the specifications are imposed by
legislation. History is full of examples. Occasionally they'll deem
it in their interest to conform, in some narrow area, and make a great
song and dance about it for a while, but mostly they sweet-talk their
customers into the belief that the majority vendor is better because
it's different.

The reason that IE does not respond to <abbr title="..."> has nothing
to do with some erroneous belief that title= is specific to <acronym>,
<span>, (and <dfn> as you've now discovered). The real reason is that
IE does not choose to recognise <abbr...> at all, and in consequence
it disregards all attributes and styles applied to it, just as it
would disregard the attributes and styles applied to some non-existent
<foo> or <furble> tag.[1]

On the other hand, IE, just like WWW-conforming browsers, has support
for title= attribute on a whole range of tags which it _does_ support.
Try it and you'll see.

all the best

[1] OK, it doesn't _have_ to be that way. A browser _could_ choose to
implement the non-existent <furble> tag by assigning it no particular
properties of its own, but nevertheless honouring whatever properties
or behaviours were attached to its attributes and styles. Do any
browsers actually do that? I don't recall meeting one.
Jul 20 '05 #23

P: n/a
In article <1b********************************@4ax.com> in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, Stephen Poley
<sb******************@xs4all.nl> wrote:

But if there is an *objective* reason why all pop-ups are bad, I would
also be interested in knowing what it is.


I think I can suggest two such reasons. The first: what does an
aural browser do with a popup? Can a visually impaired user "see"
the popup window? I rather doubt it. The second reason flows from
current practice by users.

Popups are often abusive; I think we can all agree on that.

Therefore many of the people who have the option have disabled
popups. (Unfortunately this often means disabling _all_ popups. For
instance, Mozilla changed behavior between 1.2 and 1.4 so that
"Block unrequested popups" now blocks many that I used to get by
clicking on links in 1.2.)

Therefore popups will not be seen by a significant minority of
users. From their point of view, they click on a link and nothing
happens.

Therefore, anything that depends on popups to present content is
bad, because a number of users won't see the content.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
validator: http://validator.w3.org/
CSS 2 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/
2.1 changes: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/changes.html
validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
Jul 20 '05 #24

P: n/a
On Sat, 18 Oct 2003, Stan Brown wrote:
Popups are often abusive; I think we can all agree on that.


I think many of _us_ could agree on that, indeed: but the truth is
that it matters rather little what _we_ think: the important thing is
what our readers think. And my understanding is that web users
dislike unsolicited pop-ups, particularly because they associate them
with intrusive advertising that only distracts them from what they
were trying to do.

(It just so happens that I feel the same way about it, but it would
make little difference in web authoring terms just _what_ I,
personally, thought about it.)

Even _solicited_ ones can be hard to use, if they aren't carefully
designed. Have you ever tried chasing down a three-level pop-up menu
using one of those nipple things on the IBM laptop? It's a pain.

cheers
Jul 20 '05 #25

P: n/a
On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 17:14:14 +0100, "Alan J. Flavell"
<fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
[...]
[1] OK, it doesn't _have_ to be that way. A browser _could_ choose to
implement the non-existent <furble> tag by assigning it no particular
properties of its own, but nevertheless honouring whatever properties
or behaviours were attached to its attributes and styles. Do any
browsers actually do that? I don't recall meeting one.


A quick test (on Win98) indicates that Mozilla 1.4 and Opera 7.1 will
assign CSS properties to an imaginary tag <furble>, and Mozilla will
furthermore pop up a "tooltip" in response to a title attribute to the
said <furble> tag.

Nick

--
Nick Theodorakis
ni**************@hotmail.com
nicholas_theodorakis [at] urmc [dot] rochester [dot] edu
Jul 20 '05 #26

P: n/a
On Sun, 19 Oct 2003, Nick Theodorakis wrote:
On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 17:14:14 +0100, "Alan J. Flavell"
<fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
implement the non-existent <furble> tag by assigning it no particular
properties of its own, but nevertheless honouring whatever properties
or behaviours were attached to its attributes and styles. Do any
browsers actually do that? I don't recall meeting one.


A quick test (on Win98) indicates that Mozilla 1.4 and Opera 7.1 will
assign CSS properties to an imaginary tag <furble>, and Mozilla will
furthermore pop up a "tooltip" in response to a title attribute to the
said <furble> tag.


Thanks for the correction! I must remind myself not to make
broad-brush statements based on out-of-date tests.

cheers
Jul 20 '05 #27

P: n/a
On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 16:14:55 -0400, Stan Brown
<th************@fastmail.fm> wrote:
In article <1b********************************@4ax.com> in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, Stephen Poley
<sb******************@xs4all.nl> wrote:

But if there is an *objective* reason why all pop-ups are bad, I would
also be interested in knowing what it is.
I think I can suggest two such reasons. The first: what does an
aural browser do with a popup? Can a visually impaired user "see"
the popup window? I rather doubt it.


So do I. I don't know much about aural browsers, but I would have
expected that they would simply ignore the target attribute, so using it
should not cause the reader any inconvenience.

The second reason flows from
current practice by users.

Popups are often abusive; I think we can all agree on that.
Sure.
Therefore many of the people who have the option have disabled
popups. (Unfortunately this often means disabling _all_ popups. For
instance, Mozilla changed behavior between 1.2 and 1.4 so that
"Block unrequested popups" now blocks many that I used to get by
clicking on links in 1.2.)

Therefore popups will not be seen by a significant minority of
users. From their point of view, they click on a link and nothing
happens.


That sounds to me suspiciously like broken browser behaviour. If the
user has disabled pop-ups, then clicking on a link which makes use of
the target attribute should simply cause that attribute to be ignored
(and probably also any 'onclick' Javascript) and the linked page to be
opened in the current window.

So then we get into the perennial debate as to how far one goes to cope
with broken browsers.

--
Stephen Poley

http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/
Jul 20 '05 #28

P: n/a
Alan J. Flavell wrote:

For abbreviations, I'd use <abbr>, and then (if I'm feeling generous
on the day) wrap that in a <span class="abbr"> for the benefit of the
benighted users of that unjustly-popular non-WWW-conforming
browser-like operating system component. Assigning both tags an
appropriate "title=" attribute.

Then the stylesheet can contain stuff like

abbr, span.abbr { ... }

so that it comes out OK.

I use <acronym> because the display of title-text as pop-up-text is
broken in IE for <abbr>. It is not for <acronym>. The largest
percentage of browsers used to access my websites (and those of others,
I guess) is IE.
Theoretically I agree, and prefer <abbr> because how something is
read-out (whether as one word or separate letters) is more or less
presentational, and basically I believe the W3C is confusing the two as
well.

[1] The HTML4 spec makes no attempt to define the term "acronym", but
their examples are at variance with dictionary definitions and with
serious usage. "F.B.I" (with dots!) an acronym - my foot!


Exactly.

--
Google Blogoscoped
http://blog.outer-court.com
Jul 20 '05 #29

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:

[On opening a link in a new window based on user choice]

Actually--and years of experience with users of all kinds of
applications back me up on this--I know well enough that many people
don't have the slightest idea about some of the features available to
them that you and I take for granted, beyond those that are visible
directly on the main screen. Open a link in a new windows? Open the
current page in a new window? Change your font size? Even without
doing a survey, I'm fairly confident that a majority of browser users
don't know how to do those things and may not even be aware that they
are available.


I think changing the font-size and opening-new-windows are two
different things. Even otherwise not "expert" browsing people use
open-in-new-window features often. That's just from my experience
watching family and friends. So if we can't throw around statistics, we
can't agree on any "popular facts" I believe, because it doesn't add
anything valuable to the discussion.
--
Google Blogoscoped
http://blog.outer-court.com
Jul 20 '05 #30

P: n/a
On Mon, 20 Oct 2003, Philipp Lenssen wrote:

(quoting me saying:)
For abbreviations, I'd use <abbr>, and then (if I'm feeling generous
on the day) wrap that in a <span class="abbr"> for the benefit of
[...MSIE users]
I use <acronym> because the display of title-text as pop-up-text is
broken in IE for <abbr>.
So you take MS's defective software as an excuse to misrepresent the
nature of abbreviations? No thanks.
It is not for <acronym>. The largest
percentage of browsers used to access my websites (and those of others,
I guess) is IE.
So what? You acknowledge that it is broken.
Theoretically I agree,
I find your cure to be worse than the disease. My workaround cannot
be claimed to be pretty, but at least it produces the result that you
seem to be looking for, without potential side-effects.
and prefer <abbr> because how something is
read-out (whether as one word or separate letters) is more or less
presentational, and basically I believe the W3C is confusing the two as
well.


I see. Well, I don't think I agree; but since the HTML4
(non-)definition of this term is useless/counterproductive (as you
seem to agree), it hardly matters.

best regards
Jul 20 '05 #31

P: n/a
Alan J. Flavell wrote:
On Mon, 20 Oct 2003, Philipp Lenssen wrote:
I use <acronym> because the display of title-text as pop-up-text is
broken in IE for <abbr>.
So you take MS's defective software as an excuse to misrepresent the
nature of abbreviations? No thanks.


Like I mentioned, the by-far largest percentage of users accessing my
sites do so via IE (yeah, some hiding Operas might be there as well).
Even before HTML validity, I put pragmatic concerns such as how most
visitors will see stuff. I put HTML validity on top as mostly it
doesn't interfere with my top-priority. In the case of <abbr> vs
<acronym> it does interfere. Also, since both elements are somewhat
misdefined by the W3C themselves, I think it harldy doesn't matter. It
seems you think along the same terms at least in this regard.
It is not for <acronym>. The largest
percentage of browsers used to access my websites (and those of
others, I guess) is IE.


So what? You acknowledge that it is broken.


I don't expect of my visitors to share my knowledge, nor to upgrade
their browser just to display my pages correctly.
My workaround cannot
be claimed to be pretty, but at least it produces the result that you
seem to be looking for, without potential side-effects.


So you said you mark it up as <dfn>? I have to check into that next
time. Checking it now, it seems there's not a single example in the
spec.

"Indicates that this is the defining instance of the enclosed term."
http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/text.html#edef-DFN

Excuse my ignorance, but what the heck does that mean?
--
Google Blogoscoped
http://blog.outer-court.com
Jul 20 '05 #32

P: n/a
On Mon, 20 Oct 2003, Philipp Lenssen wrote:

[having snipped the bit where I had written:]
For abbreviations, I'd use <abbr>, and then (if I'm feeling generous
on the day) wrap that in a <span class="abbr"> for the benefit of
[...MSIE users]
So you said you mark it up as <dfn>?


I mentioned <dfn> earlier, in a different context. What I said about
abbreviations was in the posting that you were following-up to, and
which I have re-instated above.

Bye.
Jul 20 '05 #33

P: n/a

"Alan J. Flavell" <fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:Pi*******************************@ppepc56.ph. gla.ac.uk...
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003, Harlan Messinger wrote:

[re: acronym]
Since it's an ordinary English word, and they discuss it alongside
"abbreviation" (granted that they misinterpret the distinction between the two), maybe they felt their examples established the usage well enough.


You might find the discussions on record which went on during the
drafting of HTML4. I followed them (and occasionally put my spoke
into the discussion...) at the time.

I think the outcome of the discussion (against my wishes and those of
a minority of others) could be crudely summarised as: "everyone knows
what an acronym is - the discussions have shown that individuals agree
that everyone should know what an acronym is - just that their
definitions are incompatible with each other! So, we 'solve' the
problem by tossing the mutually-incompatible examples into the
specification, and leaving the users of HTML4 to work something out
for themselves."
seems clear enough to me what the intent is,


Does it? I think I'd have to refer you back to the drafting
discussions. This has also been discussed here, several times since,
and I've no Round Tuits left for doing it again.
and it works


With the greatest of respect, you seem to be taking a particularly
narrow view of "works", even by the standards of previous discussions
on the topic.


Well, I suppose. Often I realize that the details discussed in the process
of creating standards revolve around issues of which I had never been aware
before, since the people are involved are more intimately familiar with the
field than I am. From *my* perspective, I don't even think it would matter
if there were a single tag to cover *both* acronyms and abbreviations, other
than that if they called it <ABBR>, then some would complain that acronyms
aren't abbreviations!

in the current Netscape and IE versions. I've read that it's useful
for table headings, as well, when the text that ought to be read by
the speech synthesizer is somewhat different from what's being
displayed for sighted readers.


I have this hunch that you're describing a productive use of the
"title=" attribute in HTML4 - by no means confined to the "acronym"
element.


Hmm. I didn't realize that. I just tried the title attribute in a SPAN and I
see that it works (by which, I mean that my browsers show the title
attribute in a bubble). Which leaves me not knowing why <abbr> and <acronym>
exist at all. Don't get me wrong--I'm not arguing that they are unnecessary.
I really just don't know what their history is or why I, as a page composer,
would want to use them without also wishing that I had tags to denote
"sics", back-formations, names of people, names of places, names of
organizations, trade names, or even the various parts of speech. I guess I
should do some research. Can you tell me where to look?

[snipping the rest, which addresses my previous unawareness of the
generality of the title attribute]

Jul 20 '05 #34

P: n/a

"Barry Pearson" <ne**@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:JZ*******************@newsfep1-win.server.ntli.net...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
"Barry Pearson" <ne**@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:G_***************@newsfep1-gui.server.ntli.net...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
[snip]
> Actually--and years of experience with users of all kinds of
> applications back me up on this--I know well enough that many
> people don't have the slightest idea about some of the features
> available to them that you and I take for granted, beyond those
> that are visible directly on the main screen. Open a link in a new
> windows? Open the current page in a new window? Change your font
> size? Even without doing a survey, I'm fairly confident that a
> majority of browser users don't know how to do those things and
> may not even be aware that they are available. That's why I have
> some trouble with the idea of leaving all the choices to users.
> How can they know what their own preferences are if they don't
> know that the alternatives exist?

Then educate them, don't patronise them.
Are there many web sites that interrupt their own presentations to
give their users an education in using their own browsers? And how do
you do that if you don't know what browsers they're using?


Strawman - who said anything about telling them about their own browsers?

I didn't.
You suggested that I educate them, in regard to my remark that they don't
know how to use their own browser. So if teaching them how to use their own
browser is not what you meant, then I've lost you.

You appear above to be proposing to do things on the user's behalf without
knowing enough about them or their browsers to justify what you are proposing.
The truth is, you simply don't know whether having pop-ups or whatever will be good or bad for any particular user. It will CERTAINLY be bad for some, as you have been told here.
What I'm gathering is that the people for whom it's bad to have them, it's
bad in the sense that it annoys them. For the people for whom it's bad not
to have them, it's because they lack the knowledge to make the presentation
more effective on their own. If I can choose to favor either group of
people, why isn't it reasonably my choice to decide whom to favor?

If you do simple and predictable things, as much like other web sites do as possible, you stand most chance that they will be able to access your web site to the extent that they can access others.
People are used to certain kinds of links causing windows to pop up from
having encountered this feature on many web sites. In what way is it
unpredictable? (At least, if I give an indication that a new window will
appear.)
As for the "patronizing" part, is it really patronizing to make the
site usable for them as they are instead of as you think they should
be? This whole discussion is about usability, but you appear to be
suggesting that one forsake usability by and convenience for the
unsophisticated in favor of catering to the pet peeves of the
sophisticated. Surely you don't mean that!
As you point out above, you don't know much about the people and the UAs

who will be accessing your site. You don't know them "as they are". So with the best will in the world, you may make things better for some while screwing up others. Unfortunately, just about every decision you make will reject some
people! In the end, you probably have 2 options, and they may even be similar:
1. Be as much like lots of other valuable web sites as possible. Then users can adapt to all of them + yours.

2. Be simple and predictable, so that users are able to adapt to your web site rapidly.

My observation is that most web sites don't have pop-ups. (But I accept that may be because they are so irritating that I tend to avoid those that do!)


Most web sites aren't providing glossaries, context-sensitive help screens,
or control panels. I agree about not using pop-ups gratuitously, but I
believe that these are useful applications for them.

Jul 20 '05 #35

P: n/a

"Stan Brown" <th************@fastmail.fm> wrote in message
news:MP************************@news.odyssey.net.. .
I think I can suggest two such reasons. The first: what does an
aural browser do with a popup?
What does an aural browser do with *any* new window? Actually, why isn't
this the OS's job? How does a visually impaired user manage with a windowing
OS at all if the software being used doesn't announce that the focus has
shifted to another window?
Can a visually impaired user "see"
the popup window? I rather doubt it. The second reason flows from
current practice by users.


Jul 20 '05 #36

P: n/a

"Stanimir Stamenkov" <s7****@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:bm************@ID-207379.news.uni-berlin.de...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
Well, imagine the word processing analogy, where your document disappears every time you want to change your font, and is replaced by the
font-changing interface. Then, to see the effect of your change, you have to click OK and wait till your document redisplays. If you don't like the
result, you have to open the font display all over again.


Well, in the context of a web browser what prevents the user of
opening a second window with the "Change Font" interface document on
his/her demand?


I'm trying to find out what the objection of *others* is to such a thing.

Jul 20 '05 #37

P: n/a

"Nick Kew" <ni**@fenris.webthing.com> wrote in message
news:0e***********@jarl.webthing.com...
In article <bm************@id-114100.news.uni-berlin.de>, one of infinite monkeys at the keyboard of "Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good sense for precisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional locally-installed application interfaces.
Fair enough so far. I agree they're appropriate in some circumstances.
I understand some people object,


To popups in general, or yours in particular? They get a bad name on the
Web because thare are far more examples of abuse than of good use.
Of course I can't say which category yours fall into.
Anyway, popups are useful for web-interface applications for exactly the
same reasons. But now, learning about accessibility issues, I have read that popups are troublesome for people using adaptive software for visual
impairments. I would have thought that it might suffice to provide a
positive indication to such users that a link will open a separate

window,
But that's exactly what the WCAG says: don't open new windows without
warning the user in advance! If people object, either you're doing something else wrong (maybe *how* or *when* you open popups) or someone is being
overly dogmatic.

I suggest you read the WCAG and perhaps browse or join relevant mailinglists, rather than rely on what may be a suspect source.


I did read it, and just took another look back at it, and it does confirm
that you shouldn't use popups WITHOUT NOTIFYING THE USER. It's just that
I've read notes elsewhere that you shouldn't use them at all. I think that
was the basis for my beginning this thread.

I'm still looking for alternatives. One person mentioned something like
in-page "popups", but I haven't seen a response yet when I asked what this
meant.

Jul 20 '05 #38

P: n/a
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 14:47:06 GMT, ji*@jibbering.com (Jim Ley) wrote:
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 10:35:40 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
Can you help me figure out what to do about popups?

Sometimes we develop web applications where popups make very good sense for
precisely the same reasons they make sense in traditional locally-installed
application interfaces.


Not really, as they can't be controlled in the same way - for example
you can't ensure they're modal, or are closed at the same time as the
parent etc.
Anyway, popups are useful for web-interface applications for exactly the
same reasons.


It's easy enough to use script to open in page popups in modern
browsers which falls back gracefully in older ones, there's no need to
use popups - the main reason not to use them of course, is that too
many people have them turned off these days.

Jim.

Jim, how does one "turn off" popups?
Thanks
Jeff
Jeff Kish
Jul 20 '05 #39

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
[snip]
I'm still looking for alternatives. One person mentioned something
like in-page "popups", but I haven't seen a response yet when I asked
what this meant.


I had never heard of them, but a Google search on the phrase yielded to
following interesting pages. I don't know if they are what Jim Ley meant.

http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/css/edge/popups/demo.html

http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/css/edge/popups/demo2.html

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #40

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
"Stan Brown" <th************@fastmail.fm> wrote in message
news:MP************************@news.odyssey.net.. .
I think I can suggest two such reasons. The first: what does an
aural browser do with a popup?


What does an aural browser do with *any* new window?


Isnt' that a reason to avoid pop-ups?

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #41

P: n/a

"Barry Pearson" <ne**@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:oe******************@newsfep1-win.server.ntli.net...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
[snip]
I'm still looking for alternatives. One person mentioned something
like in-page "popups", but I haven't seen a response yet when I asked
what this meant.


I had never heard of them, but a Google search on the phrase yielded to
following interesting pages. I don't know if they are what Jim Ley meant.

http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/css/edge/popups/demo.html

http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/css/edge/popups/demo2.html


If that's what he meant, then they're definitely no good, because there
isn't anyway to notify a non-visual user what's appearing--or disappearing,
and where.

Jul 20 '05 #42

P: n/a
Jeff Kish wrote:

how does one "turn off" popups?


First, one acquires an actual web browser [1], one that assigns
control to the user, where it belongs. Mozilla and Opera are two that
I know allow the user to turn off popups.

[1] Not, as Alan Flavell describes, an operating system component,
i.e., not MSIE/Win.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #43

P: n/a
"Brian" <us*****@julietremblay.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote in
message news:7I********************@rwcrnsc52.ops.asp.att. net...
Jeff Kish wrote:

how does one "turn off" popups?


First, one acquires an actual web browser [1], one that assigns
control to the user, where it belongs. Mozilla and Opera are two that
I know allow the user to turn off popups.

[1] Not, as Alan Flavell describes, an operating system component,
i.e., not MSIE/Win.


You could also grab some third party software to add to your browser. For
example, the Google toolbar (a *GREAT* utility) includes a popup blocker.
http://toolbar.google.com/

Regards,
Peter Foti
Jul 20 '05 #44

P: n/a
Brian wrote:
Jeff Kish wrote:

how does one "turn off" popups?


First, one acquires an actual web browser [1], one that assigns
control to the user, where it belongs. Mozilla and Opera are two that
I know allow the user to turn off popups.

[1] Not, as Alan Flavell describes, an operating system component,
i.e., not MSIE/Win.


Until recently, I used {IE 6 + Free Surfer + Google Toolbar}. Both Free Surfer
& Google Toolbar can inhibit pop-ups.

Now I use {IE 6 + Avant Browser + Google Toolbar}. This is even better. In
fact, it is the best (when I am a web user rather than a web developer)
browsing system I have ever used. And I have {Firebird 0.7 + web developer's
toolbar}, Opera 7.2, Netscape 7.1, and Amaya 8.1b available to me at the touch
of a button.

--
Barry Pearson
http://www.Barry.Pearson.name/photography/
http://www.BirdsAndAnimals.info/
http://www.ChildSupportAnalysis.co.uk/
Jul 20 '05 #45

P: n/a

"Brian" <us*****@julietremblay.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote in
message news:5D********************@rwcrnsc52.ops.asp.att. net...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
"Stan Brown" <th************@fastmail.fm> wrote in message
news:MP************************@news.odyssey.net.. .
I think I can suggest two such reasons. The first: what does an
aural browser do with a popup?


What does an aural browser do with *any* new window?


Isnt' that a reason to avoid pop-ups?


How is my asking a rhetorical question a reason?

Jul 20 '05 #46

P: n/a
OJ
Stan Brown <th************@fastmail.fm> wrote in message news:<MP************************@news.odyssey.net> ...
In article <1b********************************@4ax.com> in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, Stephen Poley
<sb******************@xs4all.nl> wrote:

But if there is an *objective* reason why all pop-ups are bad, I would
also be interested in knowing what it is.
I think I can suggest two such reasons. The first: what does an
aural browser do with a popup? Can a visually impaired user "see"
the popup window? I rather doubt it. The second reason flows from
current practice by users.


Hi,

How does such a user set font-size in Word when the window pops up?
Popups are often abusive; I think we can all agree on that.

Therefore many of the people who have the option have disabled
popups. (Unfortunately this often means disabling _all_ popups. For
instance, Mozilla changed behavior between 1.2 and 1.4 so that
"Block unrequested popups" now blocks many that I used to get by
clicking on links in 1.2.)

Therefore popups will not be seen by a significant minority of
users. From their point of view, they click on a link and nothing
happens.

Therefore, anything that depends on popups to present content is
bad, because a number of users won't see the content.


The OP already stated he would make sure that it is known that pop-ups
will come in the course of using the site. If people want to see the
information, they will know how.

oj
Jul 20 '05 #47

P: n/a
Harlan, you might consider using OE-QuoteFix
<http://flash.to/oe-quotefix>.

Harlan Messinger wrote:
"Stanimir Stamenkov" <s7****@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:bm************@ID-207379.news.uni-berlin.de...
Well, in the context of a web browser what prevents the user of
opening a second window with the "Change Font" interface document on
his/her demand?


I'm trying to find out what the objection of *others* is to such a thing.


As far as I've understood you want to find out what is the objection
of others to open additional windows automatically/programmatically,
not on user's demand. Am I wrong?

--
Stanimir

Jul 20 '05 #48

P: n/a

"Stanimir Stamenkov" <s7****@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:bn************@ID-207379.news.uni-berlin.de...
Harlan, you might consider using OE-QuoteFix
<http://flash.to/oe-quotefix>.

Harlan Messinger wrote:
"Stanimir Stamenkov" <s7****@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:bm************@ID-207379.news.uni-berlin.de...
Well, in the context of a web browser what prevents the user of
opening a second window with the "Change Font" interface document on
his/her demand?


I'm trying to find out what the objection of *others* is to such a thing.


As far as I've understood you want to find out what is the objection
of others to open additional windows automatically/programmatically,
not on user's demand. Am I wrong?


You asked me what prevents the user from opening a second window. I'm
observing that it's others who are saying that I shouldn't show the
interface for this in a separate window, so I don't understand why you're
asking *me* what should prevent users from doing this.

Jul 20 '05 #49

P: n/a
On Mon, 20 Oct 2003 18:47:58 +0100, "Barry Pearson" <ne**@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote:
Brian wrote:
Jeff Kish wrote:

how does one "turn off" popups?


First, one acquires an actual web browser [1], one that assigns
control to the user, where it belongs. Mozilla and Opera are two that
I know allow the user to turn off popups.

[1] Not, as Alan Flavell describes, an operating system component,
i.e., not MSIE/Win.


Until recently, I used {IE 6 + Free Surfer + Google Toolbar}. Both Free Surfer
& Google Toolbar can inhibit pop-ups.

Now I use {IE 6 + Avant Browser + Google Toolbar}. This is even better. In
fact, it is the best (when I am a web user rather than a web developer)
browsing system I have ever used. And I have {Firebird 0.7 + web developer's
toolbar}, Opera 7.2, Netscape 7.1, and Amaya 8.1b available to me at the touch
of a button.

Does anyone know the basics or mechanics of how the popups are blocked?
Thanks
Jeff Kish
Jul 20 '05 #50

52 Replies

This discussion thread is closed

Replies have been disabled for this discussion.