[Accessibleweb] New Microsoft Homepage

Jennifer Stock jstock at u.washington.edu
Thu Feb 1 11:14:01 PST 2007

I'll chime in on the usability front:

The new site goes to great length to present a web navigation system that
feels like the windows in a desktop application. However, the windows
maintain a fixed position. The user should be able to move the navigation
windows around the browser screen.

The pop-up screen emulates the effect of a javascript device known as
lightbox, which has evolved as a way to present images without leaving the
context of the current page. The enforcement in this case of non-parallel
processing gives the image emphasis while allowing the user to still feel
grounded in the current page. This new design from Microsoft seems to
conflate the desktop windows model with the lightbox model and I do not
think the result is entirely satisfactory.

Cf. http://www.huddletogether.com/projects/lightbox/

Also, what is the point of the menu being collapsible if the only thing
under it is empty space?


Jennifer Stock
Web Computing Specialist
Undergraduate Academic Affairs
University of Washington
171 Mary Gates Hall
Box 352805
Seattle, Washington 98195
Office: (206) 685-9590
Mobile: (206) 419-6237
Web: http://staff.washington.edu/~jstock
Email: jstock at u.washington.edu

----- Original Message -----
From: "Terry Thompson" <tft at u.washington.edu>
To: <accessibleweb at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 11:02 AM
Subject: RE: [Accessibleweb] New Microsoft Homepage

> Hi Kate,


> For sighted mouse users, it's pretty fun to play with the moving visual

> feature that's prominent on the page. Other than that....


> For keyboard-only users:


> I can tab over the navigation menu on the right, and can select an option

> from that menu, and the corresponding submenu fills the screen. However,

> then what? After some experimentation, I figured out that if I tab

> through

> the entire main navigation menu, I ultimately end up in the submenu div,

> but

> then I have to tab through the entire submenu before getting to the main

> submenu features (the ones with the icons). That's a lot of tabbing, and

> it's not very intuitive. For someone who presses tab slowly due to a

> physical disability, navigating this page could take a very, very long

> time.



> For large font users:


> Fonts resize ok, but the size of the divs is fixed, so if a user resizes

> the

> font (try Ctrl and the "plus" key in Firefox) the text either gets chopped

> off due to the contrainsts of the div, or it overflows into neighboring

> text. Either way, it's unreadable. Not good scalability.


> For screen reader users:


> With JAWS 7.1, the page is a total mess. There's a lot of noise - images

> without ALT text, rediculesly long URLs as link text, and some other stuff

> that I can't figure out. After struggling through all the noise, I am able

> to get to the navigation menu and open up and navigate to the secondary

> menu. However, the "x" button in the top right corner of the secondary

> menu

> window isn't verbalized in a meaningful way by the screen reader, so I

> can't

> close this window. I could go on and on.


> Re. usability:


> You mentioned that the back button doesn't work as we're accustomed.

> Another

> issue is that the submenu that pops up assumes full focus. The content in

> the background is darkened somewhat, but it doesn't completely disappear.

> To

> me it's not obvious that the background is no longer available, especially

> the links at the top of the page, which are dark anyway so there's very

> little change. I was trying to select "About our new home page", and

> couldn't figure out at first why the link wasn't working.


> Terry


> Terry Thompson

> Technology Specialist, DO-IT

> University of Washington

> tft at u.washington.edu

> 206/221-4168

> http://www.washington.edu/doit





>> -----Original Message-----

>> From: accessibleweb-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu

>> [mailto:accessibleweb-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On

>> Behalf Of Katherine Deibel

>> Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 12:31 PM

>> To: accessibleweb at u.washington.edu

>> Subject: [Accessibleweb] New Microsoft Homepage


>> Back in December, Microsoft apparently made some major

>> renovations to their website, including a new navigation

>> system. I'm curious to hear any opinions on the

>> accessibility of the new design. One thing I've noticed is

>> that the back button does not function as I would expect it

>> to. If I use the navigation tool to find a page and then go

>> back, I'm returned to the main page instead of a

>> sub-navigation page that I expected.


>> Microsoft Homepage

>> http://www.microsoft.com/en/us/default.aspx


>> FAQ about the changes

>> http://www.microsoft.com/about/mspreview/en/us/abouthomepage.mspx


>> kate deibel


>> -- "I just won three pachyderms," said Tom triumphantly.


>> _______________________________________________

>> Accessibleweb mailing list

>> Accessibleweb at u.washington.edu

>> http://mailman1.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/accessibleweb




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