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Re: Text equivalents

From: Nir Dagan <nir@nirdagan.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 20:24:40 -0500
Message-Id: <200003150121.UAA15770@vega.brown.edu>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
At 09:58 AM 3/14/00 -0500, Anne Pemberton wrote:
>
>	When I kept reading and re-reading the first guideline, it seemed to me
>that the answer of "How to do it" was right there in the guideline. Simply
>round out the guideline to include everything. If there is to be a text
>alternative to audio, then audio is an alternative to text. Likewise,
>graphics/illustrations, which require a text alternative, can be the
>alternative to text. Video or multi-media is also an alternative to text
>that is widely used (in the form of TV) by those who cannot process text.

As I see it the principles of the guidelines are these:

1. Make your site with universal design:
     1.1 separate content/structure from presentation to allow the client
         to choose the optimal presentation.
     1.2 If the above cannot be accomplished provide alternatives
2. Use *existing* technologies/specifications, 
   and study technologies that are in preparation and will be available soon.

The second thing is important because we want content providers to 
actually *implement* the guidelines on their sites. Thus, the cost of 
implementation must be reasonable. A good example of an existing cheap 
technology is HTML, with T standing for text. The guidelines teach content 
providers to use text more efficiently, that is, with the same cost make a more 
accessible site.

With your proposals:
1. Creating audio/video/graphic equivalents to text we have:
   1.1 Design cost are of a similar magnitude of serving a site in multiple languages.
     In theory this can be done with a language transforming style sheet, but 
     our understanding of languages is still not good enough to develop a style sheet to 
     do that. Also converting text to a sequence of illustrations still requires an artist, and cannot be done even with DSSSL style sheet.
   1.2 The actual serving of multimedia in reasonable response time in extremely costly.
        What I can serve in a 25 dollars a month virtually hosted account of text 
        and "normal" quantity of graphics will require a 500 dollar a month dedicated 
        server to serve in audio/video/heavy graphics.

My last remark is that not only people with learning disabilities need 
audio rather than text, but also many visually impaired do, but the 
transformation is done by the client, not by the content provider.

Many things will be cheaper in the future, e.g. vector graphics are more efficient 
and can do some animation that now require a short video clip. But the WAI is aware 
of these developments and is working to include all practically implementable technologies. 
When automatic translation of a site to a simpler language or to a sequence of images will 
be cost effective, WAI will probably adopt it.

Regards,
Nir.

===================================
Nir Dagan
Assistant Professor of Economics
Brown University 
Providence, RI
USA

http://www.nirdagan.com
mailto:nir@nirdagan.com
tel:+1-401-863-2145
Received on Tuesday, 14 March 2000 20:21:06 GMT

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