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Re: Illustrating Guidelines

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 12:32:48 -0700
Message-ID: <07b601c0db1a$63b65420$6601a8c0@sttln1.wa.home.com>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "William Loughborough" <love26@gorge.net>, "Anne Pemberton" <apembert@erols.com>
----- Original Message -----
From: "Anne Pemberton" <apembert@erols.com>
> 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" ...

That doesn't convey the meaning of the writing. Only a basic subject. That
isn't anything like "alternative" or "equivalent" content for a larger
document. And it could just as easily be a generic sports logo or a picture
of a window on a house, which would convey even less meaning, or confuse the

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

The guidelines _do_ insist on good text. "Write clearly and simply."

>  Flash movies, in particular, violate
> >common UI principles in horrible and unpredictable fashion, which makes
> >unusable _and_ inaccessible.
> Can you be more specific? to whom do these supposed violations render the
> movie unusable?

By default, Flash violates most of Guideline 2 (Interaction according to
user needs and preferences).

Flash has no native user interface widgets, so it's next to impossible to
comply with 3.1 (Use consistent presentation) and 2.2 (Provide consistent
responses to user actions). The user has to learn how to work each
individual movie in a different manner. We have a finite number of user
interface objects in HTML, which afford users the ability to access content
without a learning curve. There is a learning curve built in to every Flash

Flash objects cannot be paused by the user without knowing how to access the
contextual menu, and phrases cannot be replayed, unless the designer had the
forethought to do this.

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

The goal of WCAG is to make web content accessible to users with the full
range of disabilities. If organizations refuse to make an attempt due to a
constraint they can't meet, and there's no way around it, none of their
content is going to be made more accessible to anyone.

> Yes, good and bad are highly subjective and I have not doubt that you and
> 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.

Checkpoint 3.4: Use multimedia to illustrate concepts.
What about that is insufficient?

> >And, once again, this doesn't address legacy content. If I have gigabytes
> >textual technical data, which date back to 1995, and it would cost me
> >than my entire annual sales figure to retrofit with graphics and
> >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?

So, your answer is no, there is no way to make huge swaths of the web
"accessible." That's not satisfactory to me.

I don't think the analogy is accurate, or maybe it's too accurate. These are
buildings (sites/pages) that don't have elevators (accessible technologies)
to begin with, and have no means of accommodating them outside of
constructing a new building (starting from scratch, including replacing
legacy technology). And in some cases, this requirement is being made of the
tenants of the building (content aggregators), rather than the owner
(author). They don't have the _rights_ to build the elevator, even if they
had the resources and know-how to do so.

> >Here's what it all comes down to: we have to trust the providers with
> >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
> >well.
> But we don't.

Yes we do. Checkpoint 3.4. Checkpoint solutions will follow.

> 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.

And we tell them to use multimedia to illustrate concepts, at checkpoint

What we cannot do is evaluate with any degree of accuracy what is best for a
given situation, or prescribe one-size-fits-all solutions for the web with
respect to the application of multimedia.

Received on Saturday, 12 May 2001 15:35:26 UTC

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