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[getting off topic] RE: imagemaps

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001 10:30:16 -0500 (EST)
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0103151003000.31315-100000@tux.w3.org>
Waring, this feels a bit like a rant and is probably really an authoring
tools topic...

Bruce,

my personal opinion is that paint programs which are accessible are useful to
a blind person. The problem with most paint programs is that they are so
heavily oriented to understanding graphics as though it has no meaning to
convey except visually (no "semantics" if you will) that there is little
point seen in making them accessible. To the point where choosing a brush
from a list (is this functionally different from choosing a city in the UK?)
is something used as an example of a thing that cannot be done accessibly, or
that it is unreasonable to have to do so.

There are people who are blind who have no real desire to produce graphics.
There are others who are perfectly capable of doing so given appropriate
tools, and who have a particular use for so doing. An example would be in the
area of producing tactile graphics, as a possible representation of graphics
that are generally useful (have a look in the SVG accessibility note for a
brief discussion of this).

As an analogy remember that one of the great composers (I think it was
Beethoven, but my memory is not very good for composers) was deaf. And Euler,
(again, I am pretty sure it was him) a famous mathematician, worked with pen
and paper, despite the fact that he was blind.

More generally, WCAG has, as a requirement,

WCAG 2.0 will address as completely as possible the needs of users with

* blindness,
* low vision,
* color deficit or distortions,
* deafness,
* hearing loss,
* impairments of intelligence, memory, or thinking,
* the inability to interpret and/or formulate language symbols,
* learning disabilities,
* speech impairments,
* paralysis, weakness, and other problems with movement and coordination of
limbs,
* photo sensitive epilepsy,
* and combinations thereof.

For most of these people a paint program is clearly useful. For many of them
there are accessibility requirements.

cheers

Charles McCN


On Thu, 15 Mar 2001, Bailey, Bruce wrote:

  Dear Charles,
  Thanks for thinking of this common counter example.
  Services like MapBlast and the like can be quite accessible.  The text
  directions are, for example, quite good.
  But what about the maps themselves -- where EVERY pixel is different hot
  spot?
  Can such a service achieve Single-A compliance or better?  (Without
  resorting to SVG as Charles suggests.)  Where does WCAG 1.0 make allowances
  for such things?  Is there not a way to eliminate all the extra verbiage
  about server side images maps, but still allow these kind of tools?
  Section 508, to my mind, gets around this problem with the allowances for
  equivalent facilitation.  Also, in the software portion, it discusses how
  keyboard access is only needed for textually oriented functions.  This
  means, for example, that paint programs are not prohibited by 508 -- even
  though such applications are not useful to a blind person.  Is there a
  similar escape clause in the WCAG?
  -- Bruce
Received on Thursday, 15 March 2001 10:30:18 GMT

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