Good reasons for good HTML

Does this look familiar? [IMAGE] How about this: [ISMAP]

Chances you've come across links like this in your travel through the World Wide Web. When you see these sorts of links on your screen, you are looking at a Web site that has not been designed with you in mind.

Users of graphical browsers like Netscape get to see the images and clickable maps which these links represent. But Lynx users (and if you are connecting to CCN with a modem or telnet, then you are a Lynx user) get left out.

It doesn't have to be this way. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the "language" of the World Wide Web, is supposed to allow users of any computer system to access information. But with the popularity of graphical World Wide Web browsers, many web page designers forget about the hundreds of thousands of users who rely on text-only systems. The result is pages with images that are not described, or that rely on graphical icons for navigation. While Netscape users get to see the pretty pictures, Lynx users get left out in the cold.

So what can you do about it? If you design web pages, then you can start by building pages that take text-only users into consideration. Including descriptions of images with tags, such as is one way to make your page universally accessible. Making sure that text links, not just icons, are visible is another must. The best course is to check you pages with a variety of browsers, and avoid non-standard tags.

Well-designed pages not only help Lynx users, they make it certain that you pages will be visible with next week's latest and greatest web browser. There are hundreds of web browsers out in the world, and only by sticking to the basic concepts of good HTML can you be sure that they will all be able to access your pages.

Still not convinced? Take a moment to think about visually handicapped people who use computer aids to read the screen to them. Not using proper, text-friendly HTML makes your pages totally inaccessible.

Users of the World Wide Web can also help out. If you are out surfing the World Wide Web and you find a site not designed with Lynx users in mind, drop the webmaster of that site in mind. Send a polite e-mail to, explaining the situation. Most webmasters simply don't realize that their site excludes some users, and will take steps to fix the problem. You might want to mention that you are just one of thousands of users at Chebucto Community Net alone, and that there are hundreds of other Lynx-based systems out there.

Robert E. Currie, aa019@ccn·cs·dal·ca


Chebucto Connections FEATURE OF THE MONTH
is edited by Robert E. Currie
who is happy to receive Questions, Comments or Suggestions.
If your browser does not support mail, write to Rob later at aa019@ccn·cs·dal·ca.

Last Month: February 1996 Next Month: April 1996