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Re: Illustrating Guidelines

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 14:01:26 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Matt May" <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "William Loughborough" <love26@gorge.net>

       replies inline

At 09:34 AM 5/12/01 -0700, Matt May wrote:
>The simple addition of a clip-art tennis ball to a news article on tennis,
>or a picture of a Windows box in a knowledge base article, would only be
>helpful insofar as showing someone who can't read the words that the page is
>about tennis or Windows, which is about as good as having alt text that says
>"image" for describing its content. It's my belief, based on those I've
>spoken with, that putting a requirement of multimedia on all content would
>largely be satisfied by the attachment of one or two images like this to
>satisfy Bobby, and that would be it. Unreasonable requirements will be met
>with unreasonable solutions.

Actually, the "topical illustrations" in your examples are exactly what is
needed as a minimum. No, it is not like using the alt text "image", it is
like using the alt text "tennis ball" or "windows" ... If you studied my
illustrations for guideline 3, you may have noticed the "topical
illustration or logo" space at the top left of the page ... with the Title
in the top right space ... (left/right/middle, etc. are optional as long as
they are both there in the opening screenfull ...it is even optional to
include the topical illustration and title in the site map as long as it's
in the opening screenful so it can be used to determine if further study of
the page is desirable.  

>There is a reason good multimedia is good multimedia. When it's
>well-designed, it can illustrate concepts extremely well for many people. We
>call such multimedia "good", and we call things good so rarely, because
>there is so much that's bad out there.

The argument over good or bad multimedia is incidental to meeting the needs
of disabled folks. The guidelines don't insist on "good" text, but there is
a goodly amount of "bad" text out there!

 Flash movies, in particular, violate
>common UI principles in horrible and unpredictable fashion, which makes them
>unusable _and_ inaccessible.

Can you be more specific? to whom do these supposed violations render the
movie unusable? Does this happen with all Flash objects, or just the
movies? My experience with Flash has been good - problems have been with
certain Shockwave games, especially puzzles, that cause the NT'd computers
to crash ... But Flash doesn't crash the machines, at least not any I work

 I don't want to see people getting the message
>that bad multimedia, which is either un- or counterproductive to our goals,
>is better than none at all for all web content.

Matt, I don't understand what of "our goals" are countermanded by the use
of multi-media. 

 (Worse, "good" and "bad" are
>highly subjective, and often have little to do with "usable" or
>"accessible." Content providers don't know that, either.)

Yes, good and bad are highly subjective and I have not doubt that you and I
would disagree on which is which ... And, as I said above, the are
irrelevent to the question of whether or not they deserve to be stated as
desirable and needed in the guidelines. 

By the way, here's a link to an enjoyable bit of Flash ... don't know if
you will consider it good or bad, but I enjoy it!
There are other flash objects on the site. 	

>And, once again, this doesn't address legacy content. If I have gigabytes of
>textual technical data, which date back to 1995, and it would cost me more
>than my entire annual sales figure to retrofit with graphics and multimedia,
>can I still make my site single-A accessible? 

If you have an elevator in your building, can you claim accessibity if you
allow it to fall into disrepair?

>Here's what it all comes down to: we have to trust the providers with their
>content. There is so much we don't know about their content and how it's
>managed that the best we can do is keep them informed about how to do things

But we don't. We tell them to add alt tags, long discriptions for stills,
text of sound files, summaries and more for tables, and scripts of
multi-media ... text is not sacred and it needs to be included under the
guidelines as well as the other forms of content. 

Anne Pemberton

Received on Saturday, 12 May 2001 13:53:06 UTC

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