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Re: Call for review of WCAG 2.0 draft

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 08:08:35 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: love26@gorge.net (William Loughborough), <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

      Thanks for another easily understood answer to my question. I look
forward to what you do at a level that can be understood by first graders,
tho I think practically, the main issue at that level is how to explain
their pictures. 

	I'm doing a somewhat complex activity with my first graders recently. They
are corresponding with a friend, writing as a "alien" asking them to
explain "earthlets". One of the exercises was for them to look at six
pictures of the same still life in which each picture had been altered
using photo software. The children were asked to choose the picture that
they liked best. Most preferred the one in which the colors were altered to
very bright, appealing colors. The children recorded their choices, and are
last week and this compiling spread sheets to calculate and display the
results of their choices (the object is for the children to show Zman that
they are "real" because they all think differently). I have a web page that
tracks the various activities between Zman and the children, and have
arranged the pictures so they can be seen as a whole group on the page, or
clicked on to see the full sized version the kids studied. My problem is
that at present I've no equivalancy text for the individual pictures, and
there is a blind woman in the project, and I'm stumped at how best to
describe the pictures and put that information on the web page so she can
generally telll what the kids have been shown. My problem is trying to find
a way to describe to her how the pictures are different without her having
knowledge of what these things look like. The highly colored picture isn't
a problem, but some of the other pictures vary because of treatment in the
photo software to sharpen, or blur, combine pixels or accentuate them. 

You can see the pictures on http://www.enabling.org/zman/Southside. They
are the still life pictures of the flowers with a fruit bowl. 

                   Ooops, gotta go, more later.... And suggestions on
meaningful alt text are welcome...

At 06:25 PM 2/15/01 -0800, William Loughborough wrote:
>At 07:27 PM 2/15/01 -0500, Anne Pemberton wrote:
>>Is your point is that we first have to devise the guidelines so "we" can 
>>understand them, then we set about the task of making them understood by 
>>the web-making public
>"We" *are* the "web-making" public. The "tree" I think Steven refers to 
>springs from roots of abstract notions whose trunk/limbs/leaves can be 
>understood at different levels by differently-indoctrinated climbers. Like 
>a musical score can be as abstract as is permitted by the knowledge of the 
>The lengths to which one's explanatory efforts must go to get across the 
>idea of such arcane notions as repurposing/transformation/equivalency 
>depend on whether the reader is already aware of what is meant by "backward 
>compatible" and "device independence" or how much experience she's had with 
>synchronization of elements in a multimedia presentation.
>When your sisters visit our site as people who have certain background 
>information about Web design, the most important key to communicating with 
>them is IMO that the site itself is "comfortable" and to this end I find 
>something like http://rdf.pair/xguide.htm to be a more useful approach than 
>http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/ but others may do even better in that
>The document itself can be as impenetrable on its own as any "standard" 
>written for specialists but just as the Declaration of Independence 
>resonates better than the Constitution, they are both needed.
>I hope there will be a guide that explains accessible Web design for 
>first-grade students as well as one (probably a different one?) for 
>computer science graduate students. Both will adhere to the same 
>guidelines/checkpoints we're working on. The latter group are as put off by 
>too-elementary a document as the former are by polysyllabic obfuscations 
>engendered by...
>The railroad drawing of an "annotated bogie" you pointed me to is an 
>example of something that would be of little use to someone who already 
>knows the field and is designing an integral part of a railroad truck, I 
>think. However, it is very good for introducing a little down-to-earth 
>orientation in the subject for people like hubby?
>At any rate I've already forgotten exactly what I was trying to say in the 
>subject email except that "to some extent" was what I thought of as an 
>escape hatch. *I* am working on both of the above-referenced things and 
>will probably try to make one that is at yet another level, perhaps even 
>more fundamental?
>One problem is that there is a level at which one must assume some 
>"technical" know-how. The Authoring Tools Working Group is trying to get 
>the tools positioned to automatically help produce accessible sites, e.g. 
>when one uses a page layout or word processing program and "saves to Web", 
>the user need not even know what <img alt="text"> means but will be asked 
>for some words to explain what the image is to convey for those who won't 
>see it or presents an array of icons/illustrations where appropriate.
>The nature of WCAG is that it is written for people who design the tools, 
>not *just* use them. The latter shouldn't even know that the engine has 
>connecting rods, pistons, and a crankshaft - the former must have access to 
>the particulars of designing those elements.
>This is pragmatism, not elitism.
Anne Pemberton

Received on Friday, 16 February 2001 08:05:59 UTC

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