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Re: lynx-dev pre.10 : Options Form/Menu

From: Rick Lewis
Subject: Re: lynx-dev pre.10 : Options Form/Menu
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 23:07:44 -0700 (MST)

Hi, Laura and All, 
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?
It seems obvious why many people in this forum prefer the forms menu, 
both due to the familiarity with lynx form use and for efficiency and 
economy of effort. I can relate to, and identify with, both, (although, 
granted, I'm not a programmer and am thusnot doing the real work.) 
I have to say that Bella and others make good points when they speak of 
the problems in maintaining two options systems. 
But I still wonder if forms should be one of the first things a new 
user should encounter. 

I can understand why many blind users are daunted by forms. They may 
be visually intuitive, but tactually, they're not. Some have the submit 
button above the choices *which I consider illogical; it's like taking 
step four before you take step three); that doesn't seem to be illogical 
for sighted users of the web at all, though. 
Some have you use the same link twice to submit the form; others have 
you arrow down. 
I learned them by immersing myself in them, but I suspect some users 
try to avoid them altogether. 
If I'm right, the forms-based menu immediately confronts the user with 
the most puzzling aspect of using lynx. 
This aspect isn't difficult for veteran lynx users. 

Alas, I offer opinions but  no solutions. 
I can go either way; in fact, I think the forms menu could provide even 
more choice than it does in some areas, for immediate trying of complex 
But the two obstacles created by the forms-options menu in some 
people's minds are unfamiliarity and selecting options in a way which 
might cause the neophyte to find the decisions more frustrating than 
having options they might not like. 
--Rick Lewis

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