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Re: Clarification Of Technique 1.3

From: geoff freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
Date: 14 Aug 2000 14:58:23 -0500
Message-ID: <-1245857396geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
To: Chris Ridpath <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org>
CC: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Tricky question.

Chris said:

>  Almost all multimedia require an audio description (I
>  argue that the visual track is almost always necessary for understanding the
>  context). Almost no multimedia have an audio description (difficult to
>  create and sync). Therefore almost all sites that include multimedia will
>  fail the A rating. This can degrade the authority of the WAI guidelines.

All true, but in many cases you can get away with a few short descriptions
which will do the trick.  It is my experience that, when told they should
supply audio descriptions with multimedia, authors immediately think
they have to write pages and pages of descriptions in order for the video
to be accessible.  In fact, brevity is best, and that might simply mean
adding five seconds of black at the beginning of the video in order
to accommodate a five-second description which summarizes the
video experience sufficiently.

That being said, technology is changing in such a way that authors
will no longer have to squeeze descriptions into the natural pauses 
of a program's audio track.  SMIL 2.0, for example, will contain 
attributes which allow authors to, say, pause a video and program 
audio track, play an audio description track, and then resume playing 
the video/program audio tracks.  thus, you'll be able to fit extended 
description into places where there was previously no room.   And users will
have the option of hearing them or not (just like with captions).  Assuming 
that popular SMIL players (RealPlayer, GRiNS/GRiNS Lite, QuickTime, etc.) 
will support the full 2.0 recommendation, we have every reason to 
ask for priority 1 for audio descriptions now, rather than in a later 
version of the WCAG.

Geoff Freed
WGBH/NCAM


On Monday, August 14, 2000, Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org> wrote:
>Hmmm. I am absolutely opposed to this reasoning. If it is a requirement, it
>is a requirement, and the fact that people don't solve the problems of
>people with some kind of disability very often doesn't make it less of a
>problem. Implementation of the requirements will of course take time to be
>universal,  but i think we do a disservice if we produce guidelines that in
>fact leave people out in the cold after all the absolute barriers have
>supposedly been removed.
>
>Otherwise we need to change the priority statement of the guidelines, which
>would of course require ATAG to do a complete reassessment of how they use
>WCAG - not impossible, but not to be undertaken lightly.
>
>Charles McCN
>
>On Mon, 14 Aug 2000, Chris Ridpath wrote:
>
>  I also disagree with Wendy's suggestion of a variable priority:
>  
>  WC: "Priority 1 if the  visual track of the multimedia is important for
>  understanding the surrounding content, otherwise Priority 2"
>  
>  Instead I think that for practical reasons we should change this from a
>  priority 1 to a priority 2.
>  
>  My backwards logic is: Almost all multimedia require an audio description (I
>  argue that the visual track is almost always necessary for understanding the
>  context). Almost no multimedia have an audio description (difficult to
>  create and sync). Therefore almost all sites that include multimedia will
>  fail the A rating. This can degrade the authority of the WAI guidelines.
>  
>  If we keep this as a priority 1 it places a heavy burden on the content
>  creators. If we move it to priority 2 and perhaps move it to priority 1 in
>  the future then it may be more practical.
>  
>  Chris
> 
Received on Monday, 14 August 2000 14:56:36 GMT

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