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Re: Graphic Designers work - potential for WCAG?

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 16:31:37 -0700
Message-ID: <008a01c0e317$6846d780$6501a8c0@sttln1.wa.home.com>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
The thread so far seems to be taking for granted the concept that graphical
elements will be added to a single, monolithic guidelines document, and I'd
like to challenge that assumption. I think that we should consider the
development of a non-text-oriented guidelines implementation as an adjunct
to the current model.

The core of HTML, which, while hacked over the years to accommodate various
forms of multimedia, was designed to present textual information in a
structured format such as that used in the W3C specifications. I think it's
important that, at least, one way the guidelines are presented is in the
same structured format we have now. Graphical examples, icons and earcons
inside each guideline and checkpoint have the effect of adding clutter that
detracts from the familiar structure of the document, which is an access
problem all its own.

The only way around this limitation is to design to the strengths of
graphical and multimedia presentation to explain the content of the
document. If this is done using, say, SVG, it could be linked with the HTML
guidelines, and it wouldn't violate the checkpoint on using languages, etc.
that can be made accessible (Flash being a severe trouble spot here).

In fact, I think this is something we need to consider in our discussion of
the inclusion of graphics and multimedia with a view toward accessibility:
the most effective repurposing of an awful lot of content depends on that
content being restructured (or even rewritten) for the medium. The most
basic example of that is that newscasters don't read magazine articles on
the air, and magazines don't print TV transcripts. If the presence of other
media is a requirement, it's essential that the content provider must have
the latitude to design for those media, rather than continuing to shoehorn
media into HTML. (Note that this does not imply my approval of such a
requirement; just that in that event, the need is there.)

Received on Tuesday, 22 May 2001 19:35:45 UTC

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