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RE: a public perception pitfall to avoid

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 15:07:45 +1000 (EST)
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <po@trace.wisc.edu>
cc: apembert@crosslink.net, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, w3c-wai-eo.org@access2.digex.net
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980831145025.12966A-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
First, what is LD?

Second, (I hope I'm not just repeating what Anne said) there are
communities who rely on graphic information, or find it easier to digest. 
One of these is the deaf community, who to all intents have their own
languages. Auslan, the Australian signing language and presumably other
sign languages) has its own syntax, so that written English (to stick with
the Australian example) is a foreign language albeit one which many deaf
people have had to learn from a young age. For these people, graphic 
information is often much easier. For many people with no obvious 
disability this is also the case. The web has been so well-received in 
part precisely because it does allow graphic communication.

There is certainly a danger that WAI is perceived as 'anti-graphics'. 
This is likely to be due in part ot the fact that people involved (I know 
this applies to myself and Jason White) have little use for graphics - 
Jason because he doesn't see them, myself because I find they are often 
not very helpful and they are difficult to deal with (my employer, a 
major university, as the mission statement says, provides remote access 
as text-only). One of the things that is implicit in the guidelines, but 
is not explicit and perhaps should be, is that the purpose is not to 
remove the graphics. The purpose is to alert people to mechanism which 
need to be used in conjunction with graphics (scripts, applets, etc) to 
provide the same functionality to non-graphic devices.

If the web were primarily used to send sound (as the telephone is) then 
we would be writing guidelines which required ALT and transcripts for the 
sounds. Comments like Anne's are important to remind us of this, and have 
been taken on board at various stages. Another example is the 
incorporation of guidelines which deal with colour-blindness, an issue 
which was only raised (as far as I know) very recently in the GL group.

Perhaps a preamble is required, or an addition to the abstract:
These guidelines outline the procedures which should be followed by 
authors using multimedia content (anything other than text) to ensure 
that the content and functions provided by those elements are available 
to all users. In general, authors should not be discouraged from using 
those features, but rather should use them in a manner which ensures that 
the material they publish is accessible to the widest possible audience.

(or something of that sort)

Charles McCN
Received on Monday, 31 August 1998 01:31:22 GMT

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