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Re: Status of RTF format?

From: Greg Gay <g.gay@utoronto.ca>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 12:34:35 -0400
Message-ID: <39772A1B.9893E4E0@utoronto.ca>
To: Marti <marti@agassa.com>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Marti

Marti wrote:

> I agree that RTF does not meet the intent here of 'accessible format'. At a
> minimum it requires the user to have an RTF compatible word processor which
> may not be the case, particularly in 'public' connections like libraries or
> kiosks.

Most word processors that I am aware of are RTF compatible, though I agree that
public kiosks might be one instance where RTF might be inaccessible, if the
kiosk developer has not included a wordprocessor to display these document, and
the user does not have remote access to software that will display it. From
what I understand, Mac is the only OS currently that doesn't come standard with
an RTF compatible word processor.

The "Who's responsible" question comes to mind. If all operating systems come
with an RTF viewer, and browsers have been configured to handle rtf files
through one of these viewers, as I believe current browsers are by default,
who is responsible for providing accessible content, the web developer who
includes rtf as an alternative format (to pdf, doc, wpd, etc.) or the kiosk
designer who must disable rtf viewer/application associations to make rtf
unsupported. Likewise, our Mac folk around here inform me that OS 10 will also
have a default rtf viewer installed, so soon all operating systems will be able
to view these files


>
> Why not take it a step further to plain ascii text?

From a cognitive perspective, RTF provides formatting that  aids comprehension,
by signifying heading levels, lists, and a variety of other meaning associated
formats, as well as layout features that make text more readable. HTML
formatting does much the same thing. These formats are not found in ascii text


--
Greg Gay
Web Projects & Instructional Design
Centre for Academic and Adaptive Technology
University of Toronto
416 978-4043
ICQ 9020587
Received on Thursday, 20 July 2000 12:40:40 GMT

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