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RE: Illustrating Guidelines

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 09:25:40 -0400
Message-ID: <5DCA49BDD2B0D41186CE00508B6BEBD0022DAF31@wdcrobexc01.ed.gov>
To: "'Anne Pemberton'" <apembert@erols.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Dear Anne,

> Thanks, Bruce. I really did put a lot of energy into it, and not enough
> time to make hubby growl over the project...

It shows.  I've fiddled around with graphics enough to know how time
consuming this kind of work is.

>> Dear Anne (et al.)   First of all, let me say that I very much like
> >> your work at URL: 
> >> <http://users.erols.com/stevepem/guidelines/G3/g3.html>
> 
> >>> I guess this
> >>> means I met your [WL] and Bruce's challenge to prove that even 
> >>> the guidelines can be illustrated!
> 
>> My challenge was more on the order
> >> that illustrations can not adequately REPLACE text.
> 
> > You are confusing illustrations with symbolism. Illustrations, by
> definition, illustrate something, often text ... Pictures, painting,
> drawings, maps, and other graphic types can be illustrations, or they may
> stand as content on their own depending on their complexity.  

No, but we are being fairly loose with our terms.
I believe the word comes from "illuminated drawings" and were originally
used in hand-transcribed bibles to help a largely illiterate population
remember the stories they had heard aurally.

The images you have on your site above, despite their large size, are closer
to computer icons than to a painting.  They are useful to the document
because they provide visual book marks and as reminders of the content.  How
much they aid with comprehension, I could not say.  Some people really like
that kind of thing (like Lisa S.) while others find them either distracting,
wasteful of space, or unprofessional.  Most of us, I suspect, are rather
neutral.  In the best case, we are debating P3 levels of accessibility.

I understood that the objective of this exercise was to present an example
of how illustrations can be used to make even a technical document of some
value to a non-reader.  If this was the case, I don't believe that you have
succeeded.  The images chosen are highly textual.  They may be nice for most
people -- but are of extremely limited (at best) to the intended target
audience.

> An aside: One of the few sites I have on my links page for the kids that
is
> used independently by first graders is a site that displays a satellite
> view of a spot on the site map ... needs no reading by the user to use it
> to get a very interesting picture which is a interesting to scientists as
> to my first graders ... (how often is text able to span such a group of
> users?)<grin>

No one is debating that pictures aren't "nice".  The question is how much
dare we make them a "requirement".  Sure, most of us doodle and we learn to
draw as kids, but very few of us get paid for producing computer-oriented
art.  Most of write as part of jobs, so we are comfortable sharing our
words.

In spite of all the bandwidth, I don't believe that this conversation has
gotten beyond "make your site attractive and easy to use". 
Received on Friday, 11 May 2001 09:26:22 GMT

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