[rfc-i] Following up from Atlanta

"Martin J. Dürst" duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp
Tue Dec 4 23:39:25 PST 2012

On 2012/12/05 3:55, Nico Williams wrote:

> I believe this is a matter of style and personal opinion.  As a
> programmer I can't understand why anyone would find variable-width
> fonts easier to read.

As a programmer, I definitely want to read programs and program 
fragments in a non-proportional font. But for me and probably the 
majority of other programmers (let alone others), that doesn't extend to 
text in English (or any other human language). Otherwise, the average 
technical book or document would look different from how it does now. Of 
course, with flexible technologies such as XML and HTML, catering to 
different tastes isn't too difficult.

>>> Although I should add that one reason I prefer text is because I like
>>> reverse video, and web browsers don't make reverse video easy (there
>>> have been plugins for browsers that implement reverse video, but
>>> invariably it screws up something on some/most web pages).

Opera has View -> Style -> High Contrast (B/W), and this can be fine 
tuned in an user stylesheet. It worked well on 
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4401 and on 
although I might have missed some finer points (I'm personally very much 
of the black-on-white variety, the opposite of your preferences).

>> Not here. Over there:
>> <http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ietf/current/msg76092.html>
> But I note that I need the same functionality that Sam does (find
> sections quickly), and that Sam navigates in ttys as well as I do
> (better, most likely), and that in $PAGER finding, say, section 5.3.1
> is as simple as typing /^5.3.1 with the text format.

The simplest summary of accessibility in plain text and in HTML is that 
HTML allows for a wider range of accessibility than plain text. I.e. 
it's possible to produce accessibility-wise much worse documents in HTML 
than in plain text (think text hidden in images), but it's also possible 
to produce much better documents (clean structure,...).

I'm not an expert, but I'd guess that the page headers/footers in the 
current ASCII version, which appear in the middle of a sentence, are 
pretty bad for somebody reading the document with a screenreader. On the 
other hand, having section headings clearly identified allow one to jump 
to the next section (heading),...

Overall, assuming we don't mess up, accessibility will be better for 
e.g. a HTML format than it is now for ASCII plain text. The fact that 
there are some people who have learned to work with ttys and such 
despite their limitations won't change that.

Regards,    Martin.

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