gripes about Unicode web site (was Re: Microsoft takes over)

From: Adrian Havill (
Date: Sat Mar 18 2000 - 10:11:30 EST

Probably the same reason everyone else uses non-compliant, non-standards
oriented stuff: the people that actually understand standards-based
web technology don't do design, especially web page design.

The people that design web pages think design first (and their schooling
that emphasized traditional mediums, not mediums that encouraged
information technology concepts like compatibility and efficient
processing) and aren't usually paid to think about the ramifications
of non-standard work (In their world, "standard" means viewable by
average non-disabled American English speakers using Internet Explorer or
Netscape Navigator).

For 90% of the web, which is bubble gum content and could disappear
from the face of the earth and no cultural crisis would probably occur,
it's acceptable.

But I agree with you GeoCities comment that the Unicode site contains
information that is above and beyond "bubble gum content", and the
emphasis should be placed more on obeying standards so the information
can be processed in a standard way and archived to be benefited by as
much people as possible for a long time, rather than the
current graphic designer emphasis trend. The new design does looks great,
but is the information on the Unicode site targeted towards consumers
that are swayed by a design, or towards developers and implementers?

In an ideal world, I'd love to have both great graphic design AND
open standards based content. In reality, the tools (lots of still
out there people with legacy browsers that handle only proprietary
content well) force one to choose style or substance. The standards
are there, but the "common folk" don't yet have the tools to process it.

P.S. For a standard that is designed to allow all the worlds languages to
communicate digitally without needing English/ASCII, the Unicode site
(and the book) is awfully monolingual. It is ironic that the Unicode site
could be completely implemented in ASCII without any problem. How about
taking some of that budget allocated to creating all those pretty
graphics and spending it on a (at least one) translator?

On Fri, 17 Mar 2000, Andreas Prilop wrote:
> Could anybody enlighten me why the Unicode Home Page announces itself
> with "charset=windows-1252"? A proprietary charset that isn't even
> registered with IANA.
> And why isn't it possible to produce _valid_ HTML 4.0?
> <>
> <>
> I don't care about the source of
> but the site should really perform better.

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