Juan Valencia's Website

Lynx friendly

I know that this year I haven't post as many new articles as I wanted to, it particularly hit me when I made the new sitemap. With the past month busy writing the Screenplay for this year's Script Frenzy, and this month split between programming a replacement for Thingamablog, making the site Lynx friendly, the big Slackware posts that I am preparing, and learning to use Cinelerra for the cinematography workshop I am currently in, the free time has fly away. I am going to do what I done the last year, posts smaller articles while the big ones are being prepared, so this website doesn't look inactive.

So anyway, why bother to make the website Lynx friendly? In one word: Accessibility.

For those whom don't know, Lynx is a text-based browser, this means, there are no images, no scripts, no sounds, no animations. It is just text and hyperlinks (which are also rendered as text). So, in order for this site to be usable in Lynx, I have to care more about the internal structure of the document.

One of the reasons that I care about this is the fact that this is a technology oriented website, it covers several topics related to the command line interface, so I thought it would be nice to be able to access this information from a browser that works from the command line. I try to design the articles in a way that can be usable in Lynx, I try to use a coherent structure in the articles and I take proper advantage of the elements that XHTML has to offer, I use the alt attribute on images, I mark words and texts that are commands or keywords, and I even put some "screenshots" of the terminal in textual mode instead of use an image. However, the navigation of the website itself was painful and annoying, I am hoping that the new indexes at the top will make this much easier, not just for Lynx of course, in general.

In addition, a website that can be browsed with Lynx can easily be navigated with a screen reader, this are programs employed by blind people, this programs attempt to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen, and pass this information to a text-to-speech synthesizer or to a Braille display. Right now, I may not have much content that caters to the interest of blind people, plus some future posts may cover something which is of graphic nature, but still, after work in the field of website creation for a while, and seeing how little people actually care, not only about those whom can't see, but also about those of us whom don't use Microsoft Windows, or those whom don't use flash, I want my personal website to be usable by anyone, using anything. That is also why the entire website is valid XHTML Strict, although I didn't want to put the icon saying that it is.

Another big change is the abandonment of the blogging platform Thingamablog. Is not that I disliked it, I found it easy to use and intuitive, but it is abandonware (software that is no longer developed, maintained and supported). I did reach the limitations of it a while ago, and I wanted more. Right now I have some sort of system, it is quite messy and I am still testing it, but as I continue publishing I will be polishing it, and if it reaches a decent level of usability I will release it as open source. There is still a long way to go until that point tho.

I also removed the publicity and the Flattr buttons from most of the website, leaving them both only in the full articles. I would remove the publicity all together if I could live without it, but I don't, not at the moment.

And, this is probably the last announcement for a while, I will be posting more technical articles in the coming days. And an apology for any e-mail that went unanswered, I still haven't get back my information from the two HDD's that were in the computer that died in April, and I had every address configured in the kmail of that computer, it was my fully encrypted Slackware box, but there is a new one now.