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Re: Illustrating Guidelines

From: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 13:02:01 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: "Matt May" <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>, "3WC WCAG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 12:28 PM 5/10/01 -0700, Matt May wrote:
>Additionally, I fear that overillustration would make it more difficult 
>for many to grasp the content of the document in toto.

Hence the "requirement" for refusability/control and the sometimes 
agreed-upon concepts of "reasonable" and "where appropriate".

The idea that *every* concept in *every* context of *every* document must 
be illustrated is a strawman (or perhaps a "mudman"?) since the proposition 
that *all* text must have an alt="image" is clearly out of 
reach/line/question. The proposition is that for a significant number of 
people the presence/absence of illustrations is the difference between 
being able to access our stuff or not. I didn't used to believe this - now 
I do.

If it seems like a personal attack to use jocular hyperbole about elevators 
to make that point, I am sorry because I did not in any way intend to make 
anyone feel "demeaned". For one thing I don't think it was an accusation of 
an "anti-accessibility agenda" - for another when I said "we" about the 
attitude I meant to make clear that as recently as a year ago, I made all 
the same arguments myself because I really didn't remember/know that there 
were people shut out of our process because "all text" is as off-putting to 
people with certain conditions as the lack of "alt text" is to a blind person.

What I'm trying to say is that it isn't *entirely* about illustrations 
being necessary *only* to convey the information in the text, but, like 
polite language, to welcome *as it informs, where possible*. In a sense 
one's reaction to (even unintended) flaming is analogous to many people's 
gut reaction to Websites such as ours. And that includes people who could 
benefit/understand but don't get past the ivory in our towers.

Received on Thursday, 10 May 2001 16:01:00 UTC

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