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guideline 4 intro

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 19:03:28 -0400 (EDT)
To: WAI AU Guidelines <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9908161902250.1580-100000@tux.w3.org>
I propose rewriting the introduction to guideline 4, in order to clarify that there is more to accessible content than textual equivalents (although those are of fundamental importance.)

The introduction to Guideline 4 currently reads:

 Textual equivalents, including "alt-text", long descriptions, video
captions, and transcripts are absolutely necessary for the accessibility of
all images, applets, video, and audio files. However, the task of producing
these equivalents is probably the most time-consuming accessibility
recommendation made to the author.
          
   The authoring tool can provide various mechanisms to assist the author in
generating textual equivalents while ensuring that the author can determine
whether the textual equivalent accurately reflects the information conveyed
by the multimedia object.
          
   Including professionally written descriptions for all multimedia files
(e.g., clip-art) packaged with the tool will:

 * Save users time and effort;

 * Cause a significant number of professionally written descriptions to
   circulate on the Web;

 * Provide users with convenient models to emulate when they write their own
   descriptions;

 * Show authors the importance of description writing.
     
   This will lead to an increase in the average quality of descriptions used.

I suggest that we move the statement about including pre-written alternatives
for clip art to a technique for the relevant checkpoint, and that we use the
following text for the introduction:

Generating accessibility content, including textual alternatives for images,
expansion for acronyms, audio descriptions of video, and structural
information, can be one of the most challenging aspects of web design, and is
one of the most fundamental requirements of accessible content.

Automation of the mechanics of this process, by prompting authors to include
the relevant information at appropriate points, can greatly ease the process
for authors. Where such information can be mechanically determined (e.g., the
function of icons in an automatically-generated navigation bar, or expansion
of acronyms from a dictionary) and offered as a choice for the author the
tool will assist the author, at the same time as it reinforces the need for
such information and the author's role in ensuring that it is used
appropriately in each instance.

Charles McCN
--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Monday, 16 August 1999 19:03:28 UTC

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