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From David Crossley <cross...@indexgeo.com.au>
Subject Re: GUI Design: Cold sweat
Date Mon, 27 May 2002 02:12:48 GMT
Christopher Bentley wrote:
> I have reviewed the archives and some of your existing HTML and CSS and
> I am concerned on your behalf by some of the discussions and decisions
> being made about the design of the HTML and CSS....

Many thanks for your review efforts. This is all extremely
valuable. I will try to answer a few bits here, then i think
that we should split some of it off into separate threads.

First a little overview of why the generated pages are in this
state. This is very early days in the Forrest project. So far,
we have been concentrating on getting the infrastructure
in place. We recently put the build system underneath it thanks
to Krysalis Centipede. Cocoon is at the guts of Forrest, and
is now working to generate Forrest's own docs.

Now it is time to fine-tune the various transformations,
and feed some of the changes back to Cocoon. Forrest intends
to be exemplary. We have the tools in place, so now we can
gradually make it happen.

> The most urgent question in my mind is
> 1. Why are you developing HTML and CSS in Quirks Mode?

Not intentional. The transformers can certainly be made
to output the document type declaration.

> - Do you plan to continue this into production?
> - If your are intending to switch Strict Mode on then
> which DTD will your output be written against?

We will certainly have the declaration well before we reach
production. Which DTD ... let us discuss this in a new
thread. Perhaps we can use HTML 4.2 Transitional for now
and gradually move to a better DTD. I do not see any
reason for not ending up with XHTML Strict.

> If this is actually unresolved then it is very important you do.. your 
> CSS is already poised to break all versions of Netscape (it's written 
> against the IE Box model not the W3C Box model)
> 
> If you have no Idea what I'm taking about you can read about it here;
> <http://www.alistapart.com/stories/doctype/>
> <http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/enus/dnie60/html/
> cssenhancements.asp>
> <http://www.mozilla.org/docs/web-developer/quirks/>

Thanks for those useful pointers. I will try to find
a relevant place in the documents to keep these handy.

> **
> 2. What is your commitment to the Accessibility requirement?
> 	../primer.html#N102AA
> 	"Special care should be taken to support the WAI guidelines."
> 
> - On a scale of 1 to 10 what is your commitment to WAI?
> - What is ASF policy on Section 508 compliance if any?
>
> It is worth noting an Accessibility issue has already been posted to 
> this list see: Ivelin Ivanov: - Re: draft howto dtd.


If 10 is realistic, then 10 it is. WAI is really important.
I am not sure about ASF policy, perhaps someone else can tell.
Whatever happens, Forrest can still aspire to high usability.

> **
> 3. There has been some general mention of gaining access ASF server 
> stats in the list.
> 
> Will whoever has the power to get them please get them as a matter of 
> urgency, UI design decisions are already being made on assumptions and 
> subjective opinions - some of them possibly out of scope of requirements.

Let us take this up in another thread. There are various
people on forrest-dev who have that power. I do not know if
there are actual statistics available. Perhaps we can get a
sample of raw logs and do our own analysis.

> If possible the following analysis of logs would be helpful for your UI 
> team in forming a User profile;
> 
> Based on averages of a month in the last 3 months;
> 	Top 10 Browser Vendors
> 	Top 10 Browsers
> 	Browsers listed by User Agent
> 	Top  10 Operating systems
> 	Breakdown of error messages.
> 	Top 10 entry pages
> 	Top 10 exit pages
> 
> obviously Hits, Page Views, Length of Sessions and Traffic would be 
> quite interesting.
> 
> Based on the last complete week;
> 	Top 10 Browser Vendors
> 	Top 10 Browsers
> 	Browsers listed by User Agent
> 	Top  10 Operating systems
> 
> if ASF uses some kind of site metrics tool to collect the following, 
> then;
>   	breakdown of screen sizes used
> 	breakdown of Javascript used and versions
> 	breakdown of plug-ins used.
> would be interesting also.
> 
> It would be a valid assumption that Netscape 4 and Linux use is scewed 
> in your User community - The UI team  need to know the reality of at 
> least of that. Netscape 4 is going to be (is) a spoke in decisions to be 
> made on support issues across a range of UI technologies and design 
> issues.
> 
> There is a trueism that I try to keep in the back of my mind.. "ASSUME 
> makes an ASS out of U and ME"
> 
> I have seen (not recent) stats that show Netscape 4 use;
> 	In SME markets as low a 3%
> 	in general population as high as 13%
> but commonly between 4-8%.
> 
> It is also worth mentioning that Mozilla 1.0 will be released in a few 
> weeks and hopefully Netscape may commence heavily marketing Netscape 7 
> soon and drop support for version 4 at last. - This may relevant given 
> your release schedule <http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=forrest-
> dev&m=101475520721207&w=2>.
> 
> *While on the subject of site metrics tools, it may be worth considering 
> adding one as a requirement to your 'Dream List". Having good site 
> metrics will be a valuable aid to those involved in maintenance and 
> future re-design phases.

Good idea. I just added this to that doc.

> I have more if you want but I think these will likely naturally flow 
> from a Quirks Mode (see 1.) thread.
>
> Cheers,
> Chris Bentley

Thanks for joining us and providing such useful insights.
Please recover from the "cold sweat" ... it is just that
you have come straight into the middle of new work.
--David



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