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Re: Illustrating Guidelines

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 12:23:35 -0400 (EDT)
To: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
cc: <apembert45@lycos.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0105111214130.6694-100000@tux.w3.org>
NB: I think this is mostly philosophical, and doesn't really address the
practical question: What can we do for people who do not find text
accessible?

Anyway, my 2 cents worth here (that's .02 lire, for those who are wondering)

Anne said
  > The definition of priorities is that, for P1 priority, it needs to be
  necessary for a substantial number of users. This is the case with graphics
  and multi-media.

and On Fri, 11 May 2001, Matt May wrote:
  MM No, it isn't. Not in the same way alt text is necessary to blind users.
  Without alt text, 100% of blind users will fail to receive information from
  an image. The presence of alt text on an image makes access to data less
  than impossible. The same is not true of illustrations: 100% of the
  cognitively disabled will not fail to receive a document that's not
  illustrated.

CMN: This doesn't matter. A group of people will fail to recieve the
information if it consists solely of text. A further (much larger, I think)
group of people will find it very difficult (making at least what seems to me
a clear case for P2 requirement).

MM:
  What is necessary is the use of _good_ illustration through graphics and
  multimedia, and what is "good" is extremely dependent on the content being
  presented, and -- I'll say it again -- the _people_ who are producing the
  content. The number of people who are capable of creating illustrations,
  audio, motion video, or interactivity is extremely small relative to those
  who can produce text or HTML, and the subset who can do multimedia in a way
  that complements the text is a small fraction of that. You can require
  multimedia all day long, but if they don't have the tools (which are
  expensive) and the skills (which take months to build and years to master),
  what we'll get is a web full of silly, irrelevant clip art someone tacked on
  because we (or a tool like Bobby) said it's "accessible."

CMN: There is indeed a risk that people will produce stuff that isn't
accessible, becuase they don't understand what is being required of them by
the guidelines, or by whatever they are using to interpret the guidelines.
However, there is also a risk of producing guidelines that we know still fail
certain groups of people, and then claiming that they make content
accessible. They are then just a list of things to do for some folks'
benefit.

MM
  I want to see guidelines that can be easily followed without significant
  retooling by content providers, and rules that are proven to increase access
  to people with all disabilities, but _without_ reducing usability for the
  rest of the users of the web.

CMN I believe that we all do. In actual fact I am forced to conclude that
retooling by content providers is required, given teh state of the currently
available tools, the state of the previous generation of tools, and the
results of people using them as demonstrated by the web of today and the
recent past.

MM continued:
  Forcing illustration and multimedia without
  regard to who is providing it or what it's being used for as a P1 is not the
  way to improve accessibility or usability to the web as a whole.

CMN: True. But nowhere are we forcing anyone to do anything. What we are
doing is writing down how to remove barriers to access. That's what our
charter says, and I believe we are mostly doing that.
Received on Friday, 11 May 2001 12:27:35 GMT

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