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Text equivalents

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 12:41:24 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

	I apologize for this post if it is seriously untimely. I'm behind in
reading due to pressures at work unrelated to my activities here. I usually
read e-mail at home either before or after work, and, when I read in the
morning, usually put together my thoughts on the drive to and from work. I
have been reading this list for almost a year, have contributed from time
to time, but am increasingly concerned that the guidelines are being pulled
toward accomodating the *preferences* of some groups of disabled, while the
basic needs of other groups are still largely ignored.

	I started to look through the recent update of techniques, but realized
that my concerns aren't there so much as they are with the guidelines
themselves, so I clicked to the guidelines, dated Mar 9 2000, and began to
study what is missing. I read, and re-read Guideline one, moved on to
others, and kept returning to Guideline One. 

	Guideline 1: Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content. 

	Why does it stop at just auditory and visual, why does it not also suggest
equivalent alternatives to text? Not only does the guideline ignore the
burden that text presents to some members of the diabled community, but in
the second paragraph, it states that the purpose of the guideline is to
require *text equivalents* to anything that isn't already in text,
explicitely excluding those who cannot use text.  In the same paragraph,
some of the largest groups of disabled are dismissed by saying that speech
synthesization provides for their needs. It does not. Speech synthesizers,
according to the last time I questioned it on this list, sill do not
generally allow the user to see the graphics on a page while speaking the
text. This makes the speech synthesizer near worthless for many/most? with
cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, and reading disabilities. It
is a presumption that speech synthesizers accommodate these needs, and a
presumption without substance in reality, as I know it.

	Is it too late to consider including *text* as a format on the web that
needs accommodation?

	At present, the learning disabled adults I know who are using the web use
it mainly for entertainment - the information isn't accessible to their

	Shouldn't there be real accommodations for these folks who are
specifically named as "accommodated" by the guidelines? 

	A start would be to include "text" in the formats which need "equivalents"
provided when the information may be needed by those with cognitive,
learning and/or reading disabilities. 

	Again, I apologize if I should have made this point several months back. 





Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Monday, 13 March 2000 20:50:56 UTC

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