W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > April to June 2000

Re: Appropriate Use of Graphics, and Web Design by Blind People

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 09:48:50 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Kynn asked

>If we adopted a "use graphics" requirement as a P1, would a blind
>designer be able to meet that requirement effectively?

There are lots of cases where a blind designer could use graphics as 
effectively, or actually more effectively, than a sighted person.  These 
are cases where the graphics are selected or generated in a rule based or 
standardized way. For example, there are packages that generate flow charts 
from a textual description of a process.  These insure a sensible flow 
chart... at least a chart that "parses" correctly.  On the other hand, I've 
seen too many flow chart style diagrams by sighted people where I have 
trouble understanding what conventions if any they're using.  I'll take a 
rule based design by a blind indivdiual any day.

Other examples are graphs generated from data, schematic diagrams generated 
from pspice lists, and icons selected from a standardized set.

Also, page layout and color selection can be made according to rules and 

Now, what about more creatively artistic uses of design, uses that can't be 
reduced to mathematical or verbal rules?   Well, first of all that goes 
beyond our guidelines: we're just looking at usability and I think 
rule-based graphics should handle that.  Second of all, I think there are 
certainly some blind individuals who can produce better art than some 
sighted individuals (better than me for example), certainly among people 
who have some vision and early visual experience.  As for art by people 
born blind... I'm not familiar with that area but I woudn't be surprised 
there's some remarkable use of shape and form.
Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Temple University
423 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122


(215) 204-2247 (voice)
(800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Wednesday, 5 April 2000 09:48:21 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:32 UTC