Awards and award attitude :(

by "Paul Rudolf" <paul(at)>

 Date:  Fri, 24 Sep 1999 23:29:12 -0700
 To:  "hwg-basics" <hwg-basics(at)>
  todo: View Thread, Original
Please don't take personal offense to this post, it is not aimed at list
members, or amateur or professional web authors.

I have just done a "search and destroy" mission with my wife.  Explanation
and results a bit later.

I am under the impression that in order to get good placement in some
hi-profile search and/or web directories (Yahoo, etc.) not only must you
wait patiently for the "officials" to inspect your site, make sure you don't
submit too often, make sure you submit often enough, come up with the $$$'s
to make a splash, you also need to have an "Award Winning Site"!

In short, I'm appalled, or in my wife's words, "bullpucky"!

I'm in the process of setting up shop, not to build sites, but to help site
owners modify and repair their sites to accessibility standards.  So, off I
went getting info regarding contracts, copyright liabilities, work for hire
info...  Just about anything to help keep me legal.

I ran across a site that had a "sample contract" that looked interesting, as
well as a "price sheet" and a "portfolio page".  Looked impressive for a Web
developer to advertise that a percentage of their work had won awards.

So......  Off I went to grab some marketing ideas, sort of "side-tracked".

My first visit was to a site bearing the "Mojan Select Web Award".  I found
this award is self-proclaimed, and led to an on-line mall.  The first thing
I did was to run the "W3" validator on the "Award", no, not worthy of caps,
"award winning site".  It failed.  So, off I went to "Bobby".  It failed.

OK, so maybe the site owner made some changes.  So......  I went to the
Majon Web site to see what their criteria was for receiving or should I say,
applying for their award.

Their site was a Web Mall.  The Award was there for the taking.  After all,
what commercial site wouldn't want free advertising in the form of issuing
an "AWARD".  All you needed to display their AWARD, was to feel your site
met your excellence standards of quality.  Not bad, maybe we should all get
their award.

So.......  I ran the Majon site through the same validation routine.  It
failed on both counts... miserably!

Maybe, this is the only site that is smart enough to have you make your
visitors believe your site won an award, just to get that visitor to their
on-line mall.  Award-winning strategy!

So......  I took a look at another site (from the portfolio page), this time
to a different subject, a Wedding Boutique site.

At least the "Boutique Award & Wedding Links" site made you apply for an

So......  I ran both the award winning site and the award giving site
through validation, and both failed on code and accessibility.

Maybe I'm blowing smoke?  I don't have a clue?  People don't believe that
people use web browsers such as LYNX, or maybe people that are blind don't
get married?

As I noted in a previous post, I have been working with people with
disabilities for a long time, and help these folk learn to browse the web
with their "attachments", or "appliances" to assist them in reading the web
pages.  Or, what about a person that may be illiterate to the English
language, and needs (or uses) a text to speech converter to go to the Web
Mall to Spend their income?  I guess their money is worthless!

So......  Both my wife and myself decided to check out some of the
"disability" related web sites.  Only a small percentage passed Bobby, and
even less passed HTML validation, yet had won awards from "Disability

So......  We validated yet another "Award Presentation" site.  It failed.
So did most of the sites listed in it's "Award Winners" list.  Even the one
that boasted "We take pride in an accessible Web Site", yet failed Bobby.

Are we to ignore most of the standards that the HWG represents, only to add
to the list of inaccessible web pages?  Is it really the purpose to sell our
clients/customers on a site that requires the use of a particular browser
with a particular plugin.  Are we to forget that a lot of executives browse
the web for information, not "pretty pictures"?  Should we ignore people
that NEED devices to assist their shopping spree web browsing?  Are we to
assume that only people with PIII/500 computers with ISDN or ADSL
connections are going to be the lowest common denominator?

My first Internet experience was with a 286/8 running the Shareware version
of Telix, connecting at 1200 baud to the State University.  Gopher worked
then, and still works today!

Are we to ignore that Microsoft and Netscape are starting to get other
operating system platforms competing for Web Browsers, like Linux?  We may
look at how our pages view in IE or NN, but do even consider how NN sees
your site when under Linux?  How about seeing if your site is navigable with
LYNX, which also come in a flavor for Windows.  There is also a DOS based
graphical browser.  For which browser should we develop our site?

Just because your ISP says 98% of all browser hits come from either IE or
NN, do we just ignore the rest?  Here's what your ISP can't tell you.  How
many of these hits are from people with graphics turned off?  How many have
used their own style sheet?  How many of these hits are from people that
can't navigate your site with a mouse, therefore leave before have a look?
What "User Aids" are used to navigate these sites?

An analogy brought to me once, was regarding a company on the third floor of
a building with no elevator.  He decided that an elevator wouldn't be worth
the investment...  He had yet to have a customer in a wheel chair.

Thanks for letting me release my frustrations!

Paul Rudolf paul(at)
Personal Software Systems

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