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RE: Images of text -- P1 violation or no?

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 13:35:58 -0500
Message-Id: <200004131735.NAA299870@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: "Bruce Bailey" <bbailey@clark.net>, "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Yes; quick.  And dirty; i.e. erroneous.

The 'impossible' sentence is the definition.  The "basic requirement'
sentence is commentary.  "Basic requirement" is too open to variation in
interpretation between author and reader.

For the class you describe, body text in GIF with full-text ALT is a P2,
not P1, per the definitions [based on some assumptions about the readily
available AT].

Yes, people should not do that.  All of the guidelines through P3 are
things people should do.  Your personal standards tell you that to
reasonably attempt to serve this population, one should ensure that the
body text is text, not image.  But that doesn't migrate this proposition to
a P1.  It just says you recognize the importance of this P2 proposition.

If the built-in magnifier in the OS will display the ALT text in a size
they can read, then their computer skills are the de_facto pacing obstacle
and not the GIF and it is not a P1.

I'm sorry.  You need to tell people in your organization that "Just because
it may be unreasonable to expect _all pages_ to satisfy _all guidelines_ in
any class beyond P1, this does not mean that there aren't Pn guidelines
beyond P1 which shouldn't be followed as the basic marching orders for your


PS: I'm copying GL and not IG because this is the sort of ruling that
should be reviewed and consensed in GL before someone [either a staff
person or a chair] says things on IG which by reason of their other duties
might be interpreted as gospel.

At 12:17 PM 2000-04-13 -0400, Bruce Bailey wrote:
>Dear Charles,
>Jeez, that was fast!  There is also the "theme" that priority schemes be
>independent of the UA and compatible with AT solutions.  I assume that the
>reasonably common work around you refer to is for the page authors!
>Avoiding .GIF'd text IS easy to do!  (In most cases, you don't even need
>To quote from the WCAG,
>[P1:]  One or more groups will find it impossible to access information in
>the document.  Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some
>groups to be able to use Web documents.
>I think I've met both pieces of that litmus test.
>My "group" is persons with low vision who have merely average computer
>skills.  These people's disability is not so severe that they require AT
>screen magnification, but they do routinely make use of the standard
>built-in features of their computer and use only large text.  To be more
>precise, people who can not read text that is any smaller than 14 point bold
>sans-serif.  I don't think this definition of a disability group is
>artificial.  The WCAG specifically mentions people who "have difficulty
>reading or comprehending text".
>The distinction between P1 and P2 turns on the use of "impossible" versus
>For all practical purposes, having body text presented as an image, for the
>group I have defined IS a basic requirement for them to use Web documents.
>The WCAG makes some provisions for persons with cognitive impairments.
>Expecting little old ladies to use AT (even a hand lens, they could easily
>have motor impairment after all) or to reconfigure their browser/OS as
>needed on problem pages is NOT reasonable!
>3.1 could stay as it is, especially since it's conditional.  I would like to
>see something clearer like:
>P1:  Do not use images to provide body text content.
>I wish I had spotted this a year ago!
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
>> Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 11:47 AM
>> To: Bruce Bailey
>> Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>> Subject: Re: Images of text -- P1 violation or no?
>> I think you have indeed answered your own question. P1 means it
>> is accessible
>> - there is a reasonably common work-around. P2 means that it is
>> not difficult
>> to do the workaround (in very rough terms).
>> The working group tended to very strict interpretation of the
>> priority scheme
>> in assigning priorities to checkpoints.
>> Charles McCN
Received on Thursday, 13 April 2000 13:33:44 UTC

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