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Re: [html4all] HTML5 Alternative Text, and Authoring Tools

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 15:28:53 -0500
Message-ID: <482B4B85.30509@mit.edu>
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
CC: HTML Working Group <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>

Henri Sivonen wrote:
> That's not what I am arguing. I'm arguing that we need to face the fact 
> that there are people out there, who don't share your goals or mine. We 
> don't get to adjust how they react to a given stimulus (such as a 
> validator message). We do get to adjust what stimuli we send.
> 
> We should set up the stimuli to maximize accessibility *given* 
> conflicting goals of people *out there*. We shouldn't focus on setting 
> up the stimuli to be righteous-looking.

One of the precious few times that I've been tempted to +1 a comment on this list...

Does anyone know of any studies that anyone has ever bothered doing on authors' 
responses to various possible messages reported by validators?

For that matter, are there any studies or surveys that indicate what fraction of 
authors even use validators?  Are people concerned about the effects of 
decisions regarding @alt on authors who do not use validators?  If so, is there 
any indication (again, from studies or surveys) as to how the @alt syntactic 
requirements come to affect such authors?  It may be that modifying the 
information that flows along these channels is just as important as anything the 
validator does, if not more.

It seems to me that these are the concerns we should be worrying about if we 
really want to improve accessibility as opposed to wanting to create the image 
of improving accessibility.  Of course this approach is much harder than the 
"create an image" approach, and more likely to fail to achieve its goals: 
getting people to change behavior en masse is much harder than putting up fliers 
exhorting them to change behavior.

So my question is whether it's possible to get together the resources to answer 
some of these questions by applying something resembling the scientific method 
as opposed to the Aristotelian armchair reasoning that's mostly been used so 
far.  And when I say "get together the resources", I'm not implying that any one 
person or group of people is somehow magically responsible for making it happen. 
  Anyone who seriously cares about accessibility and feels that alternate text 
for images is critical to accessibility (which I think it is) is a stakeholder 
in getting some hard data here.  The hard part is coordinating them and finding 
the resources to actually do some studies.

-Boris


-Boris
Received on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 20:30:03 GMT

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