Archive for June, 2010

Accessibility Dilemma – Page Zooming

At work we are struggling with how to make pages more accessible to users with impaired vision, particularly senior citizens who may find the text too small on the page. Coding a fluid layout is the proper solution but more often than not, no matter how fluid you design the layout there is always potential for elements to fall apart. Top navigation bars are a great example.

Now there is this really, really, really great and easy way to solve a lot of these issues and retain layout, and that is through the browser’s zoom page feature. In all the browsers that I have used zooming the page in and out using ctrl – + or ctrl – - works like a charm. The only problem is that most of the people who would benefit from this probably are unaware of this feature.

So what seems like a perfect solution would be able to make these controls more accessible to the user, have them on the page where they would most likely benefit. A simple + and – for zooming the page, controlled through javascript. Sounds great, right? Well you can do this with IE but not Firefox, Chrome or Safari. Their reasoning is sound though, as they do not want to allow access to the users personal settings via javascript controls. Doing so opens the door to potentially serious abuse where designers are deciding for users how their browsers should be set. I agree whole heartedly with this but damn, it would be a fantastic feature to have full page zoom controls right there on the page.

So now we are back to having to figure out through css how we can control the sizes of the elements on the page in a manner that does not break the layout.

Any thoughts, suggestions, I would love to hear them.

If Microsoft Bought Novell

Dave Yates had brought up on TLLTS and then later on LottaLinuxLinks Oggcast the possibility of Microsoft buying Novell now that the latter company is up for sale. He felt, and these are my own words revisiting his, that this would place Microsoft in an interesting position to own the Unix Copyrights and to have their own Linux distrobution. Then he wondered what the downsides for Microsoft might be; and so do I.

Then a thought occurred to me. If Microsoft did purchas Novell and then continue to distribute SuSE would that not invalidate their patent claims against other companies for using/selling GNU/Linux? Wouldn’t the GPL prevent them from distibuting SuSE while they hold patent suits against other companies for the same GPL’s software? I know more previsions were put in regarding this for version 3, but I wonder if even version 2 would uphold their inability to not file patent suite against companies using Linux and force an end to their FUD.

If that is the case, I don’t see how Microsoft would benefit from buying Novell unless they shut SuSE down and flex the Unix Copyrights. But then again, if they did this, I suspect there would be a lot of pressure on them from the likes of Google and IBM. While they may continue to have a strangle hold on the desktop market, I think there is a switch coming to more mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that will eventually topple the Microsoft Monopoly on computing devices and render their flexing of FUD less effectual.

Just some thoughts.