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Re: Democratic Convention is Microsoft-only
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 16:33:41 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Steven Champeon <schampeo () hesketh com>
Date: August 27, 2008 3:24:27 PM EDT
To: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: Re: [IP] Democratic Convention is Microsoft-only

For IP, if you wish.

on Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 05:33:05PM -0400, David Farber wrote:

Begin forwarded message:

From: "David Lesher" <wb8foz () panix com>
Date: August 26, 2008 4:08:01 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net (David Farber)
Subject: Democratic Convention is Microsoft-only

If you go to the demconvention.com site and want to see the video being
streamed, you are told:

     For the best Democratic Convention video experience, you'll need
     the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in and the Move Networks media

If you view source on the home page, you'll also see that the site was
created using silverstripe, an open source CMS project led by *gasp* a
guy from New Zealand, who is obviously (based on the gushing copy on his
company's home page at silverstripe.com) quite pleased to be involved in
the project. I have it on authority from friends in Wellington that he
did the work for free, for the marketing value, which may explain some
of the minor errors - comp work is always subject to time and other
pressures, and the beauty of the CMS is that others can come in and
mess with what was beautiful, valid markup to their heart's content.

Sadly, the demconvention.com site doesn't validate, showing basic and
fundamental errors (multiple title tags, for starters; many
accessibility issues, ancient conventions mixed with modern, the use of
'javascript:;' hrefs rather than proper event handler attributes, etc.)

Web geeks with an ax to grind could have a field day. It's probable that
the fault lies with the users of the tools, and not the tools
themselves, given that Mr. Magnusson is an ardent defender of the
principles of Web standards, but still.


I've been to New Zealand as a speaker at a Web industry conference,
webstock, for which Mr. Magnusson served as a board member, and it's a
beautiful country full of Web developers who are passionate about Web
standards as a means to universal accessibility. Thus, it's odd that
the site isn't more accessible.

I visited the video launcher in Safari (3.1.2/4525.22) on Tiger and got
this annoyingly incorrect error message:

 "We're sorry, but the Democratic Convention video web site isn't
  compatible with your operating system and/or browser. Please try
  again on a computer with the following:

  Compatible operating systems:
  Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or a Mac with Tiger (OS 10.4) or
  Leopard (OS 10.5). Compatible browsers: Internet Explorer (version 6
  or later), Firefox (version 2), or, if you are on a Mac, Safari
  (version 3.1) also works."

No sin in relying on inadequate tools, the site is probably better
than the vast majority, but it still rankles. Especially in light of
the press release announcing its existence (April 10, 2007):


  "The 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver will be a
   first-rate convention that utilizes cutting-edge technology to
   engage and involve Democrats across the country who may not be able
   to attend in person but still want to be part of the convention. The
   web site will be a place to keep Americans informed of all the
   latest convention news and will be updated daily as the convention
   nears," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
   "The convention will showcase the Democratic Party's vision for
   America, along with the values the party shares with all Americans,
   and put our presidential nominee on the path to victory for the 2008

Criticizing Web sites is sadly easy; criticizing those who make them
even easier; criticizing those who pay for them for their technical
flaws is a fool's game that ignores the gulf between those who pay and
those who produce in terms of their technical skill (or lack thereof).

But that having been said, you'd think somebody might have thought to
make *some* effort to include the >10% of the viewing public, especially
given that it seems likely that a core audience for the Democrats is
probably running Macs, or, just as bad from an accessibility standpoint,
older PCs. To say nothing of others with more specific accessibility

If anything, it's likely that the DNC wanted to impress with high
quality video, rather than a more accessible version, and as a result
contradicted their inclusive principles in favor of glitz.


I guess I'll just have to rely on the transcripts.


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