I get the ideas being proffered here, but a lot of what's being said when talking about "elegance" or "clean" or "pure" websites are from ideal scenarios that frankly don't happen much or at all. Just within library web technology, we often don't get to completely own a site. We're using vendor software that allows customizations---that ability to customize beyond just colors and such requires some complexity. Even if we are working at the source level, we're often placed in content management systems that structure how we do thing on a more global structure. CMS systems allow more people to generate pages, which I view as good. I don't view it as realistic to expect everyone to write pages at the source level. Browser nuances alone are bad enough, but I don't even trust the "experts." I have run out of fingers to count the times I've had this conversation about web accessibility:

"Accessibility guidelines are ridiculous. They make you use headings. They look ugly and are huge and have weird spacing!"

The solution is simply to apply CSS styling, but I hear this from web administrators. I've had this conversation THREE times in Code4Lib spaces, even in public on the Slack channel.

But then there's the comments about too much text on websites and not using JavaScript to have dynamic showing/hiding. First, some pages will have a lot of text. Search result pages will have lots of text by their very nature. Wikipedia pages are full of text. Instructions will have lots of text and pictures. 

So your suggestion is to move content across multiple pages. It's both a good and horrible idea. Early hypermedia studies showed that providing any sort of distinct structural separation aided the reader's memory and recall. The same studies also provide evidence that pagination is more cognitively supportive than infinite scrolling. However, if you're talking about a website where a person has to do work and carry information across multiple pages, you've actually introduced more of a cognitive load on the user to carry information over from page to page. This is further complicated in that page loads take time. So it's sometimes good to have a long page with multiple dynamic elements. But oops... that hurts cognitive accessibility due to information overload. Neither extreme works.

Overall, good web design requires you to find that balance between overwhelming the user with information while not overstressing the memory of said user. And recognizing that people's individual definitions of "too much" and "too little" differ. What might be pure to you in a website is lacking or overwhelming to someone else.

Of course, we should push back on flair for flair's sake. Say no to shiny monkey tech. Just don't go too far in that extreme. Do you really want online maps to require a page load for every zoom or pan again? Do you want forms to only do error detection on the server side only? 

Katherine Deibel | PhD
Inclusion & Accessibility Librarian
Syracuse University Libraries 
T 315.443.7178
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222 Waverly Ave., Syracuse, NY 13244
Syracuse University

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Amy Drayer
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 10:51 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Default, preferred, or supported "enterprise" browser?

Dear Eric and Code4Libbers:

I completely agree! Too much javascript, and used with critical information that HTML can easily do for a fraction of the (resource) cost. When I get a chance to really "own" the website I work on (right now it's been a series of UI bandaids on siloed content), I'm going to look at the 10k website challenge ( for inspiration. (I'd be happy if we could stay under 100k...)

Honestly, I find this challenge intriguing because if done right it addresses several inclusive design concerns including performance and accessibility. While I don't agree with every reason in this ID24 presentation, I found Elegant Accessibility (
to be inspirational.

In peace,

Amy M. Drayer, MLIS
User Interface Developer
[log in to unmask]

On Wed, Oct 17, 2018 at 5:58 AM Eric Lease Morgan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Personally, I think Web/HTML pages are much too complicated these 
> days. I suppose it goes with the evolution of the medium, but at the 
> same time, I think the same information can be communicated much more 
> easily and effectively if it were made available sans too much Javascript, etc.
> Javascript is not necessary. --Eric Morgan