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Re: Research activities

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 09:34:06 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>, marja@w3.org (Marja-Riitta Koivunen)
Cc: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
Al wrote in regard to plugin to help author add ALT text

>  No need for research to demonstrate the utility.

LRK:: personally speaking, I'd certainly agree with that.

What I was asking was whether research was required to design the specific
user interface for a tool to add ALT text.  Marja raised some potential
research issues.

Here's some thoughts on some issues Marja raised:

>> I think it is important to remember that the user (in this case the
>> should be in control). So forcing the designer to do something at a certain
>> moment, however important that is, might not be a very good idea. Designers
>> in the middle of thinking/doing something else might easily just put
>> something in the ALT text to be able to continue their current thought. And
>> when that something is there it later seems that that part was already
>> even though it was meant to be temporary.
>> I think there is research to be done in how to best do this thing starting
>> from the way designers design their pages. I'm not sure whose
>> is what part of the design. Some of this is or at least should be done by
>> the authoring tool companies.

LRK:: I think that, since this could be offered as a standalone tool for
fixing a web page via human intervention, it could fall within the scope of
er-ig's work.

One variable is the number of people designing the page.  Is there just one
"designer"?  Or a team, with different people responsible for overall
story, art, text copy, like in the print advertising industry.  If it's a
team, how would we facilitate collaborative work?

>> The solutions based on the research could include things like clearly
>> highlighting the images with missing alt while the page is being designed,
>> having a link check tool similar to a spelling check tool in a document
>> would point out all the problems with links when activated, having easy
>> access to a help text that could explain with examples what is a good
way to
>> use alt text, having tools that show list of all the alt text strings in a
>> site without or with the corresponding images and without or with the
>> textual context so that it is easy to see wheather the ALT explanations
>> sense etc.

LRK:: One way to research this is to take a best shot and do usability
testing with actual users.

Al, or Chris, could you tell us if these features are already planned?
That would open usability testing.  Alternatively, there are various levels
of prototyping.


Leonard R. Kasday
Institute on Disabilities/UAP at Temple University, Philadelphia PA
email:     kasday@acm.org
telephone: (215} 204 2247
Received on Monday, 2 November 1998 09:34:10 UTC

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