Nonstandard HTML

Subject: Nonstandard HTML
From: Stan Brown <stbrown -at- NACS -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 02:08:53 -0100

Geoff Hart has posted a couple of good messages explaining why it's a
bad idea to use nonstandard HTML. David Blyth has responded:

>I disagree. There are a _lot_ of users (about 90% of the market)
>who believe that their communication needs are better met with
>non-standard HTML elements. I mean, how wild are we getting here?
>Why is centering text or using a table so controversial? Why am
>I supposed to gain 10% so I can annoy 90%? Because it's the standard?

This is just a straw man (straw person? -- actually, it's a whole
straw family). First, nobody has 90% of the market and, as has been
stated several times, Netscape's and Microsoft's extensions are not
compatible. Somebody quoted 78% for Netscape's market share in the
same digest as David's remarks above.

But regardless of the percentage, most of the users of any given
browser use it because it's available, not because they've looked at
what HTML extensions it supports and decided that "their communication
needs are better met" with that particular set.

Furthermore, writing to standard HTML won't "annoy 90%" (or any
number) because, if we do our job well, they'll not be aware of our
HTML at all. Think of color blindness: if you create images that don't
depend on the ability to distinguish red and green, it's quite
possible to do it without "annoying" the fortunate 90% who have full
color vision, without even having any of the 90% feel that something
is missing.

Geoff's main point, which David neglected to respond to, was that even
if 90% could read your page and liked the enhancements, you're
shutting out 10% of your market, which is 100,000 people or more. It's
just not smart to create materials that 100,000 people can't read
unless there's no option -- and there _are_ options here.

Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cleveland, Ohio USA +1 216 371-0043
email: stbrown -at- nacs -dot- net Web: http://www.nacs.net/~stbrown/
Can't find FAQ lists? See my Web page for instructions, or email me.

And just a reminder -- even people who _can_ receive graphics maay
prefer not to, because they're on slow connections. Never depend on a
graphic on your page as the only means of navigating around your site.
Always use ALT= with IMG=.

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