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prompting for ALT [was: RE: [webwatch] Visa Paralympics accessible site]

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 09:47:03 -0500
Message-Id: <200201311447.JAA288797@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
Cc: <paciello@webable.com>
At 05:49 PM 2002-01-29 , Mike Paciello wrote:
>I'll take a stab at this later...I'm in the middle of two more books and a
>thousand other projects. Frankly, we need to focus on simplifying the
>explanation. Short, simple, concise statements work.

[I am sure whatever Mike comes up with will be good.  However, until that
emerges from the crush of work, here is try #2:]

** short -- motivation

Speech flows.

You have to know
 how an ALT will go with the flow,
or you don't know if it's good.

** long -- technique

The user has the ALT read to them in a stream of talk (think radio).  

  A lot of 
    the phrasing
    implicit in
    the layout
  is lost.

So the author must understand how their ALT will come across in context.

The author is cruising along in visual engagement with their task and product. 
They have been thinking intensely about the layout for the content.

The tool has to get the author _out_ of the box of perceiving the content as it
is structured by the layout, so as to recognize the more streaming, fluid
structure that is in effect in reading.  It is the latter that governs the way
the ALT text will be understood by the eyes-free user.

To achieve this change of perspective, an alternate layout of the text view
with some material from both before and after would seem to be the
cost-effective technique.  It's easier to feed the eyes something reflecting
the flow as it comes across in the user's ears than to get the author to ignore
their eyes.

So the resulting dialog is both a) WYSIWYG - self checking by the author and b)
in tune with the reading flow.

Bash the input dialog into something that evokes the linear flow of the speech
rendering, and the author will intuit how to do the right thing.

That's the basic concept.

** further details and metaComments

This still takes some footnotes.  There are non-obvious tips about how the user
agent works that should somehow be integrated in what the author gets told. 
Things like [not guaranteed to be perfect]:

Screen reader will say "link" for links, don't repeat this.

Punctuation works.  If you need to introduce a pause for phrasing in the text
readout;put a colon, semicolon, comma or period at the end of the ALT or []
around it.

I appreciate the power of succinct sentences.  On the other hand, I don't think
there is a one-liner that captures what one has to tell the tool developer
here.  It is third order stuff.  

There is the page content under work.  There is how the author will percieve
the content, and how the user will perceive the content.  There is the tool
manipulation of the content that is required to get the author out of their
incumbent and natural topology into the topology that the user will apply, in
order to grasp what text fits.  The tool builder has to design to is a
requirement which is three times removed from the web page structure.  This
formal structure of the web page is what the toolsmith is herself mired in. 
Prying her out of _that_ geometry is no mean feat.  It takes some careful
step-by-stepping to get the concept across.


>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  From: Al Gilman
>>  Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2002 5:42 PM
>>  To: Jutta Treviranus; w3c-wai-au@w3.org
>>  Cc: paciello@webable.com
>>  Subject: RE: [webwatch] Visa Paralympics accessible site
>>  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:
>>  <two-liner>
>>  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.
>>  </two-liner>
>>  <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
>>  center.
>>  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.
>>  Al
>>  >Jutta
>>  >
>>  >>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
>>  >>>that.
>>  >>>
>>  >>
>>  >>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
>>  constructive
>>  >>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
>>  this
>>  >>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
>>  the
>>  >>author with the text content in a geometry which makes the repetition
>>  obvious,
>>  >>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
>>  >> 
>>  tp://<http://www.w3/>www.w3
>>  tp://<http://www.w/>www.w
>>  >>3.org/TR/ATAG10-TECHS/#check-provide-missing-alt
>>  >>
>>  >>
>>  >>Al
>>  >>
>>  >>>Mike
>>  >>>
>>  >>>
>>  >>>
>>  >>>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  >>>>  From: Kelly Ford
>>  lto:kelly@
>>  kellford.com%5D><mailto:kelly@kellford.com%5D>mailto:kelly@kellford.com]
>>  >>>>  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
>>  >>>>   
>>  ><<http://ww/>http://ww
ympics.com site.
>>  >>>>
>>  >>>>    I found the redundant use of alt text to be distracting.
>>  Using Home
>>  Page
>>  >>>>    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
>>  >>>>
>>  >>>>
>>  >>>>          Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
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Received on Thursday, 31 January 2002 09:47:06 UTC

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