[whatwg] several messages about HTML5

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Feb 20 18:39:22 PST 2007

On Tue, 20 Feb 2007, Vlad Alexander (xhtml.com) wrote:
> > 
> > ...We could require editors to do this, but since nobody knows how to 
> > do it, it would be a stupid requirement. ...
> Is it due to a flaw in HTML that it is difficult to build authoring 
> tools, such as WYSIWYG editors, that generate markup rich in semantics, 
> embody best-practices and can be easily used by non-technical people? 

No, I think it's just something that is fundamentally hard. People think 
visually, trying to ask a Web designer to think in terms of (e.g.) headers 
instead of font sizes is just something that WYSIWYG implementors and UI 
researchers simply haven't solved yet. Personally I don't think it's a 
lost cause, but we're just not there yet.

> Since much of the content on the Web is created using such authoring 
> tools, can we ever achieve a semantically rich and accessible Web?

There will always be a continuum of sites from the unusable to the very 
accessible. As with all fields of human endeavour, there will always be 
the highly competent Web designers who understand fundamentally how to 
build device-independent sites that cater to all kinds of users, and there 
will always be the inexperienced and ignorant Web designers who think only 
in terms of their own personal experience, targetting a specific browser 
on a specific computer without taking into account any other potential 
user experience.

Probably the best we can do is design the language to make "the right 
thing" easier, and invest more heavily in education. In this regard HTML 
is in the same boat as more important subjects; I imagine that as we 
improve the quality of education in general, understanding of the 
importance of accessibility and related topics will improve as well.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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