Comments on beta.w3.org (2009)

W3C is tracking comments on beta.w3.org, announced 20 March 2009. Learn more about the redesign and refer to the site-comments archive for a record of comments sent to that list. Open issues are highlighted.

General

Summary Description Status
Anchors underlined Do not underline a elements used as anchors only (i.e., that are not links) Fixed using a:link, a:visited selectors in minimum.css
Anchors bold Do not bold a elements used as anchors only (i.e., that are not links) Fixed using selectors in minimum.css
Style override inside anchors Ensure that a elements bold even when other markup (e.g., cite) inside them Fixed adding selectors to minimum.css
Highlight current section (standards, participate, membership, about) [M]ain menu (STANDARDS etc.) is not highlighted when selecting a certain section. If I'm in Participate the only way of me knowing that is looking at the breadcrumb below (W3C > Participate) but the menu should be highlighted too because you are showing me that on mouseover anyway We had that feature in an earlier version of the templates but dropped it and wanted to see if anybody requested it. Although the highlight provides a small bit of additional orientation, the information "you are here" is available in the breadcrumbs as well.
Underline links not bold Bold, no underline for links (except on hover) - hmmm. not sure this is a good idea because it prevents you using bold for emphasis. Would recommend underlining links (or border-bottom?). Done (in content).
Default text size Suggestion for font-size: 100%. Commenter refers to an article which itself talks about the trade-offs between setting font-size to approximately 62.5% and leaving it at 100%. This is a known issue for which there are multiple perspectives and experiences (and no easy answer). We consciously chose a base font size for the site in order to solicit feedback on this question. Inclined to leave as-is / do more user testing.
Default text color Suggest black instead of #333. See another suggestion to not use grey on grey. Inclined to leave the softer #333 (noting that #333 on white is WCAG AAA).
Tags Tags/folksonomy - some cross-cutting themes via taggin would be great... also on-page comments?

At the current time we've not chosen to implement this feature. One reason is a resource consideration; the need to moderate comments. Another is that for performance reasons the home pages are "baked" HTML pages, increasing the cost of providing tagged views. We do provide different views of information as follows:

  • TR page views
  • Groupings by large theme (e.g., "Web design"), although those pages do not include home page news.
Left-col shadow / 3-D effect The shadow effect on the left (e.g., main page) looks really cheap if you ask me. There are no shadows on the other parts of site, it might be worth removing this rudiment. Done.
Permalink glyph Suggest something else, plus use an image rather than unicode char Done.
Links under titles not obvious Several people have indicated that titles-as-links are not obvious (though they display with an underline on hover). One suggestion has been to make the links redundant; keeping the title-as-link but adding one elsewhere in the content. On bucket pages, a [More information] link was suggested, followed by the status page links. Links in content now underlined
X-UA-Compatible header The site could send the X-UA-Compatible header to ensure that IE8's standards mode is used This is a non-standard header; hesitate to use it, especially if IE8 is rendering the page acceptably.
left side nav disappears on top pages The contextual left nav shows on the homepage, but disappears on all other landing pages, only to reappear when you click through from a landing page to other content within the section. Have added left side nav for top four pages. Note: Left-side navigation is for navigating among siblings (not children). When on the top four pages (standards, participate, membership, about) left side navigation among those pages would be redundant with the top navigation, so we've not shown them. The effect is that left side navigation is there, then disappears, then re-appears. Other notes:
  • The home page is different and features the main standards subpages for each access
  • On pages with no siblings, there's no left navigation bar
reduce vertical space in top menu items when narrow browser Could some of the vertical space around the "STANDARDS," "PARTICIPATE," etc., links be moved from the boxes within the line that wraps to a box outside that line? Couldn't do as suggested and keep vertical lines all the way to the horizontal bar below the menu items. Instead, reduced padding by 10px both above and below individual items.
left col should be proportional to screen At least make the width proportional to the page or viewport width so that it doesn't take up a larger fraction of the horizontal space in windows that are tall rather than wide. Done
make left nav float to reuse space below it when empty Ideally, make the left navigation column into a float (or move it to something at the top (e.g., such as a good (wrappable) form of tabs), so that that the left-side space in the browser pane can be used to display part of the main content once the user has scrolled down beyond the extent of the left-column navigation content. (See also follow-up from Daniel) Not done, but other changes will help in this area (see proportional layout, plus other organizational improvements to make better use of left space)
contact link top of every page As I am unable at times to use a mouse one thing that really annoys me is when I have to tab my way all through a site to get to the contact information. I strongly recommend that you include a contact link at the top of the page as well as the bottom if you want one there as well. Just beside the search function would be great. We have "0" as an accesskey to "Help and FAQ". Also, if you follow "About W3C" we've put a contact link in the first paragraph. That's still not as fast as a direct link, I realize. Will propose accesskey=4 and see if this addresses use case. (No reply from reviewer)/td>
Better left nav alignment Left navigation doesn't align with anything Changed left nav so that it behaves differently on home page and non-home pages. We had wanted to avoid this movement between pages, but given the general movement to large titles, it may not be noticeable. Now there is better alignment on home pages and better alignment on other pages, but the alignment is different from type to type.
Use max-width for text Design ok for regular screens/browsers, but I'd like to have max-width applied - maybe in em - to prevent extremely long text lines. Added max-width of 65em for p, li.
Add "w3c" to title element For orientation, add some variation of "W3C" to end of title elements that don't have W3C in them. Done
Use drop-down menus. People have suggested drop-down menus for both left side navigation and top navigation. Currently we have not chosen to do this (although this was part of an earlier draft of templates).
Search results page Invoking google directly means that the search results page has no navigation to return to the W3C site, which may pose usability issues. I believe that we chose not to use a custom search engine due to our privacy policy (sharing data with third parties). We have room for improvement regarding search results pages (including customization of the results order).
Dummy links on expandable content Links are used to allow tab navigation. They are activated through javascript, but if javascript is turned off they are confusing. Done.

Home page

Summary Description Status
Wide formatting of events, talks On my screen, which is admittedly quite wide, there is quite a bit of white space with information sort of floating in it. I think that part of the problem is some lack of background color differentiation or border lines to separate the vertical columns. Done with thin vertical line
Effect of 2 to 3 col change Also, the fact that (ignoring the grey on the left, which works fine) the upper and lower areas are two and 3 columns respectively also seems a little visually jarring and hard to scan. This may be helped by revised home page changes as there are fewer changes as you go down the page.

Bucket page

Summary Description Status
Inline lists of tech groups hard to read "[I]t'd be clearer to have the list of technologies at the bottom of each box be a vertical list instead of a linear list." Removed links
Remove links from paras on bucket pages Rationale: confusing, not necessary on the introductory path. Add acronyms to text instead (unlinked). People more likely to select header to go to next page. Done. And ensured that expected acronyms appear (unlinked) in the paragraphs. The benefits of removing them include: (1) everything moves closer to the top (2) fewer links to parse (3) simpler presentation (4) less confusion since one big keyword to click on. Naturally, the main con is the indirection to find the same links.
Menu at top should include link to tech topics This section should be prominently labelled in the Talks, Events, News menu, no? Done.

Technical Reports

Summary Description Status
Revert to old style Short story: recommendations are standalone documents, they don't need to be integrated into the site, please revert to the old style, or make less intrusive changes. (see other comments about individual spec CSS) Prefer new version
Add Editor affiliations Small companies are often happy to provide the editing manpower to edit because it means that they get a mention on the cover page, which is good promotion for them. Done
Google logo I am fine with using our friends from Google for search on the site, but having their logo on standards send the wrong message — it really is hard to think that this is not, at least in part, a Google standard. Unlikely to drop the search functionality and prefer the consistency.
position of status banner The blue top left corner label that reads "W3C Recommendation" (or other) is the brand and the imprimatur. You can't move it! That's. Just. Wrong. As you scroll down, it looks lost in the middle there. Please please please please please. Kill kittens if you must but don't break our pretty standards! Made some improvements; much closer to current style in screen mode. Same as old style in print mode.
amount of metdata All that's above the fold is pretty much "do everything except read this specification". Again, that's a usage context error. When you go to a spec, you want to read it and that's it. I don't deny that some of the information there is useful, but I think it would be a lot more useful to just have a little non-intrusive link in the top corner called "more about this specification" that would show all this information. We need some information up front. This is much less information than there used to be. We might shift the balance a bit but we've had support for the current balance.
serif fonts for long docs It's harder on the eyes to read a sans-serif font than one with serifs in a long document. Unlikely to change.

Specification Status Page

Summary Description Status
Re-organize summary table The suggestion is to not have a single status table but to group information differently, e.g.:
  • Completed (Recs, Notes)
  • Drafts (PR, PER, CR, WD)
  • Obsolete (Superseded, Retired, Rescinded)
Adopted suggestion (and other formatting changes).

Member Home

Summary Description Status
readability of inline list On the member front page I have the similar difficulty reading the lists of actions for each subsection as I had on the standards overview page. I think it may be due to using commas of normal font weight to delimitate a list of bold items. Fixed (by using lists)

CSS Issues

Summary Description Status Browser
Zoom When you zoom in the [home page] news text will overlap the content on the right. It only happens with JavaScript turned on. This is an artifact of the news animation and is likely to go away with a revised home page news presentation. Opera/9.63 (X11; Linux i686; U; de) Presto/2.1.1
Mobile view issue ...the mobile view is illegible. One line of text is literally sitting on top of the next. Maybe line spacing is set on the mobile browser itself and, as a non-mobile browser, I should quit making assumptions about mobile line spacing. Either way, mobile browsing is clearly broken. We fixed some line-height and other alignment issues in the mobile view. We expect this to improve over time.
use of overflow:hidden; information unavailable The html and css page shows a more serious case (much more data invisible, because of lack of scrollability, if one doesn't or can't widen a window). Open. Nicole Sullivan going to suggest an element we can use to wrap content that we want to produce a scrollbar if wide. I note that the content overflows into the next part of the grid if necessary (a good thing) so the issue is when it's too wide for the viewport.
Prune unused selectors Use a tool like dust-me selectors to prune some unused selectors. Yes. Not all of them, however, as some may be used in other instances of templates.
Main col shorter than left col formatting See News page for an example: when the content in the main column is shorter than the left side navigation, there are formatting issues at the bottom (gray). Fixed
Include advanced.css via conditional statements rather than javascript. Benefits: don't rely on javascript, avoids flicker since done on load. Cons: Non-standard/browser-specific hack. Declined for now. We've updated javascript to improve flicker a bit. Might still move script elements to top (or at top of pages that use expand collapse).

Javascript Issues

When we announced the beta, there were there javascript functionalities:

  1. home page news animation
  2. style sheet switching
  3. expand/collapse lists

The news animation is very unlikely to survive for a variety of reasons, including usability and browser bugs. Because we expect to drop it, I don't plan to document javascript issues related to the animation.


Ian Jacobs, Head of W3C Communications
$Id: beta-comments.html,v 1.96 2009/08/28 20:18:52 ijacobs Exp $