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Re: lynx-dev pre.10: (blind users and) Options Form/Menu

From: Bela Lubkin
Subject: Re: lynx-dev pre.10: (blind users and) Options Form/Menu
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 14:18:52 -0700

Rick Lewis wrote:

> There is something to say for both the old-style options menu and the 
> forms-based one. 
> I'm blind and use a Braille Display and have worked with both. 
> So why do I prefer the old-style options menu? 
> First, because it's easier and quicker. 
> But my main concern is not for me, because I can adapt to either, and 
> I'm good at using forms. 
> But new lynx users (including me when I was starting out) don't find 
> forms to be a piece of cake. 
> Forms are easier for the savvy user, and a puzzle to the newbie. 
> And if the old options menu weren't there, we'd be presenting one of the 
> most puzzling aspects of web use as the entry point to make users 
> set lynx options comfortably?

Is the web *useful* without occasional use of forms?  I think that any
user of Lynx must eventually learn to use forms.  Given that, aren't we
actually doing them a *disservice* by making them learn the unique
non-forms options menu *plus* eventually learning how to operate forms?

Again, I think a better approach would be to see what we can do to make
the forms-based options menu better for this constituency.  To do that,
we would have to make forms *generally* better for blind users.  Doesn't
that sound like a better, more synergistic path forward?

So what's needed?  Numbered fields are a step forward.  Show_cursor is
wanted.  I believe there's a preference for select_popups off?  And now,
recently, we've added a flag to comment "(LINK)" after links -- is that
desirable even with numbered fields?

What else can we do to make the user experience better for blind users?

I'm thinking along these lines:

  - Add a "-blind" flag, as previously suggested; it turns on all the
    things we think are desirable for sight-impaired users (including
    any new ones we later invent).  Individual pieces of that could be
    overridden (lynx -blind -popups=on), so it wouldn't be overly

  - Whenever .lynxrc DOES NOT EXIST, i.e. for a new user of Lynx, output
    a message about it during startup; something like:

      If you are blind or visually impaired, you may want to use Lynx's
      -blind flag, which activates several assistive measures.

This would be ongoing, post-2.8.1 development work.


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