Byon March 24, 2009 11:54 AM
Utlimately, I’ve always been a fan of semantic HTML. Was I not simply using default templates for this blog, I’d have strived to do them in a semantic fashion. I am working on this upgrade, but other things have taken their priority. However, in the code that I design, I strive for a meaningful layout and semantic accuracy. It probably helps that with my recent return to MUDding, and therefore to hanging out online with Blind-folks, the ability of the Semantic Web to aid Screen Readers is more apparent to me.
It’s an interesting choice, to choose not to support a given demographic for whatever reason, and while I fully support people’s ability to do so, I also believe it’s not terribly difficult to simply do things in a standards compliant and semantic fashion, which can certainly ease the process of offering more universal support.
This did raise the ire of a web developer or two on campus who had installed flash-blocking add-ons into Firefox. The issue is that SwfObject detected that Flash was available, but the Extension stepped in and prevented the flash from loading, replacing the nice noscript/noflash version of the page with ugly ‘click here to play flash’ mechanisms. My argument, and the opinion held by the head of the team that designed the site, is that people who’ve chosen to handicap their web browsers in this sort of way (which isn’t to say there aren’t reasons you’d want to), can deal with the consequences of such decisions. Ideally, these extensions would provide some mechanism to detect their presence, and if they’d object to Flash being loaded (given that most of these extensions allow whitelisting), but until such a time as that happens, I believe the implementation we have is the best we can. However, I am open to suggestions.