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Re: Illustrating Guidelines

From: Katie Haritos-Shea <ryladog@earthlink.net>
Date: Wed, 9 May 2001 22:59:46 -0400
To: "3WC WCAG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <LPBBLABFJBGNHPLEJINNOEAMCIAA.ryladog@earthlink.net>
Sean said.....

Yes! This reminds me very much of the sign-object-concept relationship
of John Sowa that Seth keeps going on about. Words are a
representation of concepts... but so are pictures. Why should we limit
ourselves to one form of expression when another can serve just as
well (and indeed better) in certain contexts?

The problem is as WL pointed out - text is repurposable.

*********Provided you happen to understand the particular language that the
text is written in.  Aren't pictures and symbols more universal, understood
by more people around the world, than a single language?  Is it not a
on it's own?  I would say the similarities (of images), are by far the more
universally understandable medium. More powerful than the cultural
differences of, "what constitutes a chair?". People all around the world
will understand the one image of a chair, whereas that same idea in text
must be expressed in 250+ different languages to convey the same

Any generic
symbols can most likely also be made to be repurposable, and then you
get into that awful murky area about what constitutes a good "sign"...
does a lightbulb in a sign mean a lightbuld or an idea? With words
it's usually clearer because of the context, but pictures are more
difficult (although not impossible) to assign contexts to.

SVG is a bright light on the horizon, because it allows certain parts
of images to be repurposed... but it lacks implementation.

*********Perhaps our guidelines can help speed the movement of this
implementation, if we make images, icons,
a priority.  Or , at the very least stress the importance****************

As William says, this might well change the way we think, but it is
unlikely to change what we do.

************Why?  Again, we can nudge along these ideas.  They are already
there in universal symbols on signs all around the world.  These same ideas
and icons can be an integral part of expanding the understandability,
usability, and traffic of many sites.******************

That's a shame, but at least it is an
almost understandable shame. Still, I like the notion of reversing
"provide text for multimedia" to "provide multimedia for text". One
interesting point to raise is that by adding text to images you aren't
really doing much except enabling repurposing... whereas by adding
multimedia to text, often you can add something that simply cannot be
expressed in text. Which is more moving - an article about war in
black and white, or an article about war with pictures of the tragides
that are occuring? William is always asking us (with good reason!) to
think of the starving babies, but maybe he would have more impact if
he attached a picture of a starving baby to every email that he sent?

I suppose illustrations could make a good Barnraising.

********Very true************
*******My late night rant************

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
@prefix : <http://webns.net/roughterms/> .
:Sean :hasHomepage <http://purl.org/net/sbp/> .

Katie Haritos-Shea
11809 Waples Mill Road
Oakton, Virginia

Mobile: 571-220-7777


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Received on Wednesday, 9 May 2001 23:02:00 UTC

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