It’s only the "internet" now!

On August 16, 2004, Wired News announced that they officially will no longer capitalize the “I” in internet. At the same time, Web becomes web and Net becomes net. Their reason? ” Why? The simple answer is because there is no earthly reason to capitalize any of these words. Actually, there never was.”

Does that make anything official in the English Language (or any other). No, of course not. Only in Wired News. But thank you Wired for getting the internet and the web back where it belongs, as a normal part of our world, bouncing along happily with no capitals to make it special. Now it will only be special if it is.

Web Publishers not required to comply?

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision from October 2002, which concluded that Web sites cannot be required to comply with the 1991 disabilities law. Southwest Airlines had been sued by an advocacy group for the blind, seeking redesign of its Web site.

There have been other documented cases that skirted the issues, but this is the first that addressed the question directly. Technically, the 11th Circuit only involves Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. But of course the issues are bigger than that.

Does this mean that accessible design is no longer an issue for web designers? Of course not. Hopefully, we do not need courts to tell us that there are millions or Internet users who have disabilities that require some type of intervention for them to use the Web conveniently. As a design community we hopefully are always concerned to reach all users when possible and the continued emphasis upon designing for accessibility just makes sense. It will continue to be one of the learning objectives in classes that I teach and curriculum I develop.

IE loses market share

This is old news, but if you didn’t see it and you are not a Microsoft fan, it is good news, even if only slightly.

Back in July, The Guardian Review published an article that says Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, for the first time, dropped in percentage share of the browser market from 95.73% to 94.73%. They called it a “sustained trend downward for them”.

So what’s going on to incite masses of users to drop the product? Guardian cites IE security problems dating back to a year ago as one issue. Another is that the maturation of developers of alternative browsers concentrating on support of openly developed standards as another.

Why is this news and why should designers be interested? Mainly because like it or not, Microsoft has a huge market share and IE has an enormous effect on the ecosystem of the internet. The difference in the way IE deals with technical standards compared with the open systems browsers means that web designers must constantly be aware of work-arounds and hacks to get sites to work correctly. It is a problem for all of us, simply because of their market share.

For some unknown reason, Microsoft stopped development of IE. The next change to IE will accompany the launch of the next version of Windows, which is not scheduled until 2006. The question remains. Who will influence the greatest control over the next two years – the open standards bodies or Microsoft. Will great new browsers such as Firefox, Mozilla, and Safari generate new market share by focusing on better browser technologies and web standards? Our work and passion will be involved – ready or not. We have another edition of the browser wars!