Re: Browser Wars -- taking on NetScape (fwd)

From: Dave Schleppenbach (
Date: Thu Sep 05 1996 - 11:13:57 PDT

After reading some of the postings about Netscape vs. Internet Explorer,
and accesibility issued, I just wanted to point out a few things:

1. So far, Microsoft has done a stellar job in making their operating
systems accessible. Windows 95 is a huge step up from previous
Microsoft OSes, as it includes accessibility options for people with all
sorts of disabilities as part of the OS. The only missing element in
Windows 95 is the screen readers, which Microsoft has (wisely) left to
third-party developers. One year from now, I can easily envision much
of the problems with computer access (includeing Web access) fading due
to the improved Win 95 screen readers.

2. Netscape is the kind of company that has a history of ignoring
"special interest" groups, as they operate under one paradigm - making a
product that is appealing to the largest base of people as quickly as
possible. It is difficult to imagine a company that releases a new
version of their browser every month to have a lot of time to spend on
disability issues. This is neither good nor bad; it is just the way the
company operates. Consumers should excercise their power and buy the
product that is most accessible for them. I firmly believe that this
product will be Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the near future.

3. However, all of the clever programming in the world won't make a bit
of difference if the creators of Web pages don't design them with
accessibility in mind. Thus, the most improtant way that the blind user
can make changes in the structure of the Web is to e-mail individual
Webmasters, and ask them to take the (short) time to make their pages
accessible. A good standard to follow is the WebAble standard. If
enough Web page designers start to operate with accessibility in mind,
and if the new HTML stadards support accessibility options, then
copanies such as Netscape will be forced to reconsider the design of
their own browsers.

Anyway, it IS important to continue to make your needs known. The vast
majority of Webmasters have no idea what a blind person needs or wants
in a web page.

Dave Schleppenbach

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