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RE: 19 October 2000 minutes

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 17:13:57 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>, "'Wendy A Chisholm'" <wendy@w3.org>, "'w3c-wai-gl@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I don't think there should be an general exception for buttons and image maps.

With style sheets you can put text on a graphical button, even a textured 
graphical button.  See e.g. the folder tabs
http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/wai/tabs/.  This also shows how the result 
can gracefully degrade when style sheets are turned off: the folder tabs 
are replaced with rectangular blocks of matching color.

If you don't like that style of degradation, another way to use style 
sheets would cause the labels to appear above the tabs when style sheets 
are turned off.

And if you don't want to depend on style sheets at all, see the folder tabs 
at http://www.altavista.com/,  text in a colored table cell with a an image 
to form the top slice of the tab, to give rounded corners (unfortunately, 
they neglected to use ALT="").

I suggest that, in general, accommodating people with low vision is 
sufficiently important that techniques such as these should be required for 
double A compliance.

As for exceptions... I have seen a few sites with highly stylized text, 
e.g.text that's part of a charcoal drawing, or playful letters for kids 
sites... e.g. snakes biting their tail for an O...  such text has value, 
there's no standard markup for that and they should be allowed.   But if 
the text is already garden variety text, or text with a slight drop shadow 
(which makes it even less legible btw) than I feel absolutely that HTML 
text should be used.

So it comes down to: does the stylized text add value?  This is a tough 
call I realize, that's difficult to put it standards.

So I'd say the following:
As a requirement, use HTML text or have a separate page (Priority 
2).  Remember: priorities only depend on whether they cause difficulty for 
people with disabilities; implementation difficulty, or the degree to which 
a designer wants to use something, is irrelevant.

As a non-mandatory guide, only use such stylized text when it truly adds 
value from the point of view of a typical user; taking into account people 
with low vision, as well as people with normal vision who get really 
annoyed waiting for images maps to download (I'm personally one of the 
latter BTW).


> > You don't have strong control over button appearance - how
> > good is css support?

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP and Dept. of Electrical Engineering at Temple 
(215) 204-2247 (voice)                 (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday         mailto:kasday@acm.org

Chair, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Evaluation and Repair Tools Group

The WAVE web page accessibility evaluation assistant: 
Received on Friday, 20 October 2000 17:11:52 GMT

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