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Re: [Lynx-dev] Sitemap Warning

From: David Woolley
Subject: Re: [Lynx-dev] Sitemap Warning
Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 14:44:37 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080421)

Elizabeth Pittis-Moffitt wrote:
To Whom It May Concern:

This is a peer support public mailing list.

> Re: [Lynx-dev] Sitemap Warning

The site in your signature doesn't appear to have a site map!

I use an Apple PowerBook G4. I installed leopard and my Mac OS X is Version 10.5.2 I created my Web-site using iWeb 08. Do you support Apple and can you help me?

Some of the Apple tools, and this appears to be one of them, generate extremely bad HTML. What they do is use the minimum of constructs to get the intended visual appearance on typical graphical browsers; they are not suitable if you intend to view with tools that expect proper HTML markup. They do not represent the true document structure, which would allow a real HTML viewer to display them on any imaginable medium. The result is a very messy display when one actually gets to the right page with Lynx.

It looks as though the page uses a malformed URL in the meta refresh element. The specification for meta refresh requires the use of absolute URLs, whilst Lynx has error recovery for properly formed relative URLs, there must be something else wrong. As the simplest fix is to conform to the meta refresh specification, it's not worth my while to work out exactly why the error recovery is guessing wrongly.

Note that the HTML specification strongly discourages the the use of refresh for simulating redirects, especially with a timeout of 0. You should use a proper server redirect. However, as noted above, Apple don't seem to be interested in producing good HTML.

This is how Lynx perceives the Refresh link:


Either it has been confused by the " " after the ":", or the error recovery is limited to URLs that start with at least one "/".

I am not sure if common search engines even follow meta refresh, but if they do, they are not guaranteed to use the same error recovery as the graphical browser you used for testing.

Both factors compromise the use of the page with assistive technology, for the disabled.

When I do manage to load the real page in Lynx, I notice that most of the alt text for your images is the rather long URL to the image. That is simply disruptive to anyone trying to read the page without images, whether with Lynx, screen readers for the blind, or graphical browsers, with images off for performance.

I also noticed, in Firefox, that there are rather poor colour contrasts, particularly involving green.

You have violated basic graphical web browser user interface conventions by using underlined blue text for things which are not links.

Using "Click here" for every link makes it difficult for assistive technology users, who will often request a list of links, to avoid having to trawl through the whole page with a screen reader.

The big picture to the left and above the main title looks like abstract art. Firefox says it has no alternative text (it probably detected that it matched the URL) so I can get no clue that way, either. finds 30 errors with the homepage proper. The page claims to use XHTML, but some of these errors would cause a real XHMTL browser to abort the page (they are well-formedness violation).

It finds 25 errors on the page in your signature, some of which would abort a real XHTML browser. Note that it doesn't vaildate the attribute values in meta elements, so it would not pick up the problems that cause Lynx to not follow the refresh.

David Woolley
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