W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org > October 1999

Re: Partially sighted Web user

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 15:49:01 -0400
Message-Id: <199910042002.QAA00496@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>
At 09:41 AM 10/4/99 -0400, Chris Ridpath wrote:
>Prompting the page author to reduce horizontal scrolling is a good idea but
>it doesn't seem to be covered specifically in the WAI WCAG. Should we bump
>this back to that group for comment? Should the ERT include techniques that
>are not specified by the WCAG?

The guideline to use markup which imparts logical structure rather than
physical parameters of presentation is already in the WCAG and can be used
as the basis for most ERT-feasible screening methods to catch gratuitous
fixed sizes in web page layout.

The fact that scrolling is a bummer belongs in the reference note giving
the usability background for the WCAG and related policies pushed by the
WAI. That note is not chartered to paper over what we knew when the WCAG
was released but rather to track the current state of human performance
knowledge as it impinges on access to the information in web content.

>My feeling is that the current ERT should cover the current WCAG only.

This is a tension we need to think about a little more.  I don't want to
assume you can invest the effort to edit a more broadly scoped document.
On the other hand,  from a WAI-PF perspective and an EO perspective there
is motivation for wanting the ER-IG to produce something that is broader.

In other words, anywhere software algorithms applied to web content will
detect opportunities to improve usability by people with disabilities is of
interest.  We can sell more usability increasing tools than we can sell
inaccessibility reducing tools.

Why don't you and Len think about how to handle this.  Maybe Len can keep
an issues list which will keep placeholders for techniques that we don't
develop right now in the ERT volume.  If so I would suggest the ERT volume
have a Scope section including a link to the issues list for a treatment
which is broader but less deep.

We already have the scope issue about color in styles.  The A-Prompt is not
going to inspect styles at this point but checking for color in the styles
is clearly part of an appropriate technique to evaluate web content to see
if the guideline which says "never use only color..."

One of the missions of the ER-IG is in fact to turn up shortcomings in the
WCAG for the next release.  So if we have a concept for an evaluation and
repair technique which is implementable and works and is not traceable to
the WCAG, we need to look on the other side at why it isn't in there.  

Sometimes it is an underlying format and protocol issue, and the action
should flow to PF to get the prerequisites into the generic Web technology.
 I ust copied here a quote from a post to xml-plenary in which I plead for
multi-level partial understanding (incremental discovery of semantics) as
an underlying principle of the architecture of the future Web.  This is
particularly with application to a stylesheet transformer, which would work
better than the present CSS cascading algorithm to adapt styling.


>----- Original Message -----
>From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
>To: <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>
>Sent: Friday, October 01, 1999 5:00 PM
>Subject: Re: Partially sighted Web user
>> I pulled this from wai-ig to discuss here in more detail.  It regards
>> designing pages to reduce need to do horizontal scrolling.
>> Potential thing to check for in ERT.
>> I'd suggest a placeholder.  In general, I'd like to see placeholders for

>> things that we don't have techniques for so it's all in one place.
>> Len
>> >From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
>> >Subject: Re: Partially sighted Web user
>> >Sender: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org
>> >
>> >Although it may not be obvious to the casual reader, most of the
>> >which gratuitously fix the pixel size of the content - such as using GIFs
>> >to display text - are discouraged in the WCAG.
>> >
>> >As Charles says, there are problems with images where contemporary media
>> >are not scalable and W3C has SVG under development to help.
>> >
>> >However, in the short term I would also suggest that she evaluate Opera
>> >her use because it may make enough difference to be worth the change.
>> >
>> >Al
>> >
>> >At 02:35 PM 10/1/99 +0000, Julie Howell wrote:
>> >>I have been contacted by a partially sighted lady here in the UK  who is
>> >using a
>> >>particular Acorn Archimedes screen magnification system.
>> >>
>> >>She is experiencing problems when trying to view some Websites.  She is
>> >>under the impression that Web designers are able to code Webpages so
>> >>horizonal scrolling will never be necessary by users of magnification
>> >software.
>> >>Here's what she says in a messasge to me:
>> >>
>> >>" Formatting.   I'm still concerned that this issue doesn't seem to be
>> >amongst
>> >>the ones you raise with designers.   Yet it's quite crucial for
>> >>anyone using screen enlargement,  like me.
>> >>I need to be able to format all text to about 50-character lines,  and a
>> >resolution
>> >>width of 440 pixels.   Do you take this into account when advising
>> >>Some sites reformat automatically,  giving me line
>> >>lengths that fit my screen.   Others have a fixed
>> >>line length,  which makes me have to scroll across,
>> >> which is very bad for my eyes :-(
>> >>Can you add automatic reformatting to your
>> >>desired parameters,  please?"
>> >>
>> >>My response to this lady so far has been that I didn't believe it was
>> >possible to
>> >>fix the width of pages without the use of tables (which then causes
>> >problems for
>> >>other Net users).
>> >>
>> >>Doesn't all magnification software (such as Zoomtext) require horizontal
>> >>scrolling?  Is is realistic to expect all Web designers to put text with
>> >fixed-width
>> >>tables/frames (I think not!).
>> >>Am I missing something?  Or should I advise this lady that there is
>> >nothing that
>> >>can be done to help her and she should get some new software (which she
>> >>very reluctant to do)?
>> >>
>> >>Thanks and best wishes
>> >>Julie Howell
>> >>Campaigns Officer (Access to Digital)
>> >>RNIB
>> >>JHowell@rnib.org.uk
>> >>
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> -------
>> Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
>> Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
>> Department of Electrical Engineering
>> Temple University
>> Ritter Hall Annex, Room 423, Philadelphia, PA 19122
>> kasday@acm.org
>> (215) 204-2247 (voice)
>> (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Monday, 4 October 1999 15:49:46 UTC

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