[Mailman-Developers] The Philosophy of Web Use.

Barry Warsaw barry at python.org
Fri Jul 7 06:33:28 CEST 2006

Hash: SHA1

On Jul 7, 2006, at 12:08 AM, Brad Knowles wrote:

> One thing that really concerns me is excessive complexity in the user
> interface.  As a MacOS X/Safari user, I've found so damn bloody  
> many web
> sites that are totally hosed for me, regardless of whether I allow  
> them to
> use JavaScript or not.  Virtually every single web page designer  
> I've ever
> met has always had Windows/Internet Explorer on the brain, and they  
> don't
> care about anything else.  In fact, I honestly believe that many of  
> them
> actively work to break their websites on all other types of  
> browsers and
> platforms, just so that they can force you to use Windows and Internet
> Explorer.

OTOH, I've used Linux and OSX, and before that NeXT, Solaris and  
various Unixes for (unfortunately, way :) longer than there's been a  
web, and except for the Windows programming I do at work, haven't  
ever used IE for any substantial amount of time.  I'm not excusing  
poor sites or Windows-specific sites, but for the most part, these  
days most sites are at least usable with Firefox on various  
platforms.  (The one sole recent exception was the SQLAlchemy doc  
pages which gave Firefox fits but rendered just fine in Safari -- and  
I'm sure those guys didn't tailor their pages for IE.).  Yeah, you  
hit the occasional WMV or ActiveX laden site, but I'm much more  
bugged by the Flash-only sites that are an avoidable annoyance for  
me, but I can imagine are a scream-out-loud frustration for screen  
reader based users.

> Now, I know that you're not that kind of person, and you will actively
> test your work with MacOS X/Safari, and as many other browser/OS  
> platforms
> you can.  But the more complexity that is built into the user  
> interface,
> the higher the likelihood is that something will accidentally happen
> somewhere to seriously break something for someone else.

Actually, I think skilled and judicious use of modern web technology  
can help to /reduce/ the complexity of Mailman's interface.   
Something I constantly struggle with is the plethora of configuration  
variables (both via the web u/i and in mm_cfg.py) that makes the  
system highly complicated.  I would love to have a self-discoverable  
interface, or an interface that can be used to selectively reveal  
just the parts you're interested.

- -Barry

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