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RE: [webwatch] Visa Paralympics accessible site

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 17:41:30 -0500
Message-Id: <200201292241.RAA260205@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: Jutta Treviranus <jutta.treviranus@utoronto.ca>, w3c-wai-au@w3.org
Cc: <paciello@webable.com>
At 02:22 PM 2002-01-29 , Jutta Treviranus wrote:
>I agree as well. Can you propose some additional or alternative 
>wording for the techniques to reflect the points you are making?

I am not sure that this is language that drops straight into the document, but
the elevator speech I have queued up on this is roughly as follows:


To know that the ALT text for something is wrong, it usually suffices to notice
that the ALT attribute has not been declared at all.  To know that the ALT text
is right, it takes reviewing it in a view that communicates the flow of a
speech rendering as it passes through the text to be inserted.  In context, and
without layout artifacts which distract from the flow of how it will be read by
the screen reader.


<more flabby blather>

The trick is to get an author, most likely a full-vision individual with highly
developed visual focus for web design, to grok the verbal flow that one would
get in speech rendering.  Usually all this takes is an alternate visual
rendering that presents the text in a fashion that reflects the reading flow. 
The Lynx layout, or the text view in Home Page Reader are conspicuous
examples.  <unverified>It is probably not necessary that people shut their eyes
or hear the text read to get the point.</unverified>  Common blunders include:
inserting an ALT that creates a stammer, which reproduces text that will appear
just before or after the ALT anyway; and saying 'link' as the first word in the
ALT text of an image link.  The latter is not good because the screen reader
will know that a link is a link from the markup and will tell the user that by
saying 'link' just before reading the link text.

</more flabby blather>

Possible techniques:

a) [If editing in a three-panel display of synchronized views: outline view
down left column, full graphical formatted view in upper right pane,
Fixed-text-size 'text view' in lower right.]
Pop the author to the text view to cue them to insert the text in that view.

b) simplified version of this: popup ALT text capture is not into a bare
textEditBox but rather to an insertion point inside a [five-line?] fragment of
a text view centered on where the ALT will fall.

c) emulate TV crawl.  Crawl (b) onto the screen in a one-line full-width layout
rectangle and pause for entry when the ALT-insertion point gets front and

Possible document includes:

Home Page Reader screen shot.  Amaya screen shot.  

Actually, I think that it takes a tightly coupled one-two punch:  "How to write
good ALT text" stuff fit for authors and "How to help authors write good ALT
text" extensions of the discussion for tool builders.  The latter to be
consumed in the company of the former.  Simply having a hyperlink,
unfortunately doesn't suffice to get people to read something else.

Whoever writes this up should please revisit Alan Flavell's ALT text page, and
mine, too which is at

 affective messaging and effective mode-crossing (desc example) 

And probably the section of Mike's book that deals with this.


>>At 08:48 AM 2002-01-29 , Mike Paciello wrote:
>>>I have noticed that these dual links with ALT are a popular design trend. I
>>>believe it's based on the misunderstanding of ALT text use. "We" have been
>>>preaching the need for ALT text on images for so long, that designers are
>>>including it on every instance and forgetting usability.
>>>I think we need to do a better job of educating the designers. Simple as
>>Yes, but why is it that designers have to be repeatedly told [this]?
>>It is a megatrend and the bane of my existence.
>>They are following a context-free rule that only takes linear thinking.  Here
>>is an IMG, supply an ALT.  All they did was to follow that rule 
>>without looking
>>around.  They ignore the context.
>>The better ALT would consider the context in a linear reading.
>>But from the work-situation of the visual designer willing to JustDoIt for a
>>few rules imposed by the boss, that is a radical step beyone what they
>>understand they have to do.
>>My consulting linguist tells me "in English we are rapidly losing
>>morphology."  The ability to have people understand a new word you 
>>put together
>>because you put it together following "the rules."
>>There is a strong preference in the JustDoIt culture for extreme locality of
>>reference; not to have to look around or consider anything but what is dead
>>ahead of you.  This is what I mean is a megatrend.  Don't know when or if
>>trend will turn around.
>>For effective education and outreach, to get the design constraint we wish to
>>be effective in the designer's understanding we have to put the form of the
>>fluency constraint graphically under their nose.  This can be done 
>>with Lynx or
>>Home Page Reader or you name it.  But the authoring process has to present
>>author with the text content in a geometry which makes the repetition
>>and makes it look like a mistake.  It is not enough to verbalize an abstract
>>pattern in their ear.  We need to use all the senses they have and habitually
>>respond to, to impress on them the geometry of the problem, that the words
>>should flow.
>>Sadly, the documentation of techniques for authoring tools has lost sight of
>>this master principle.
>>  Techniques for Authoring Tool Accessibility
>>>>  -----Original Message-----
>>>>  From: Kelly Ford
>>>>  Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2002 8:35 AM
>>>>  To: webwatch@yahoogroups.com
>>>>  Subject: Re: [webwatch] Visa Paralympics accessible site
>>>>  Hi Phil,
>>>>  A couple things jump immediately out at me.  These fall in the
>>>>  category of making something really usable in my opinion.  Rather
>>>>  not doing them would make the site more usable.
>>>>  1. Several of the links at the beginning of the page use alt text
>>>>  phrasing of "this link goes to...".  Just give me the name of the link.
>>>>  2. As you mention there are multiple instances of alt text and
>>>>  then a link with the same name.  To me this is where alt=""
>>>>  should be used on a graphic that simply duplicates the text of a
>>>>  link that is immediately after.
>>>>  Kelly
>>>>    ----- Original Message -----
>>>>    From: Phill Jenkins
>>>>    To: webwatch@yahoogroups.com
>>>>    Sent: Monday, January 28, 2002 9:01 AM
>>>>    Subject: [webwatch] Visa Paralympics accessible site
>>>>    Last week I saw a presentation from VISA about how they are
>>>>  sponsoring the
>>>>    Paralympics.  They also claim to have made a lot of progress on their
w.visaparalympics.com/>http://www.visaparalympics.com site.
>>>>    I found the redundant use of alt text to be distracting. Using Home
>>>>    Reader [1] VISA would be able to see & hear just what I mean,
>>  >> for example
>>>>    Overview Overview.   Also, the main image of a skier with only
>>>>  one leg was
>>>>    not described.  But, I really liked the used on skip navigation and the
>>>>    link at the bottom that jumps back to the top. It appears to meet
>>>>    accessibility standards but could be tweaked to make it more
>>>>  easy to use.
>>>>    What do others think?
>>>>    Regards,
>>>>    Phill
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Received on Tuesday, 29 January 2002 17:41:33 UTC

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