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RE: Comments on SUFFICIENCY for tomorrows COnf Call

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 18:15:08 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>, <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

	Looked at your website, and will address your questions inline. Look at my
"Educator" page on my home site ...
http://www.erols.com/stevepem/Educator.html ... It's function is similar to
yours except that I used the "logos" from my homepage instead of logos for
the school where I work (when they pay for the site, I'll use their logos
on my professional page--<grin>) ... 

	Both pages have a single photo as an illustration, and both pages show a
wide range of activities. Our writing styles are very different. We both
use hyperlinks to "illustrate" single words or concepts. 
Both work for their intended audiences. My six year old students don't
understand anything on the page but my name and picture, but that's enough
to confirm the "magic" of the Internet ... 

(and yes, I do think that is one more possible way to illustrate content
... is with a link somewhere the text is illustrated in some way.) 

>The extremes of the argument on this topic seem to be:
>*ALL* text *MUST* have a non-text equivalent
>*SOME* text *SHOULD* have a non-text equivalent.
>Let's use my W3C people page as an example [1].  It is a very simple page 
>with a simple purpose: to give people a brief introduction to me.  I have 3 
>images on the page: the W3C logo, the WAI logo, and a photo of myself.  The 
>logos give context to the work that I do and my involvement in the W3C. My 
>photo helps people identify my age, style, and personality.
>[1] http://www.w3.org/People/wendy/
>The text on the page describes the work that I do and how I got here. I use 
>lots of hypertext links; For each major concept or organization I link to a 
>different site.  In some ways, this is a non-text equivalent for the 
>text.  From one word, you can find a whole lot more about that word than I 
>could in one illustration.

Wendy, at an extreme, this would suggest that when we want equivalents for
text, it should be on a word by word basis, rather than at a concept level
- phrase/sentence/paragraph/set of 5 paragraphs, etc.  

>For example, I link to the Special Olympics.  By visiting that site, you 
>get several illustrations and photographs.  You can find out more about the 
>games and programs, much more than I could in one illustration.  You can 
>get a general feel of the site and hopefully understand that it is a sports 
>organization through the photos on the home page.
>Likely, if I were to include an illustration on my home page to accompany 
>the link to the Special Olympics, I would include their logo. However, 
>would their logo (a globe of people that kind of look like snowflakes) 
>really help someone understand the page that much better?

The logo would help a someone understand what organization you were
involved with, but not the specifics of your role with Special Olympics. It
would not help them understand your current role at W3C or what W3C is about.

  Would they 
>understand the concept of my relation to the Special Olympics?

No, that is only given in your text, not in the equivalent you are using. 

 If they 
>don't recognize the logo, what will they understand? 

Nothing, if they can't read the text. 

>Would they be more 
>likely to follow the link to find out more?

I can only give what I saw this year at school as an example to answer.
Yes, the children who cannot yet read were more likely to click on a link
with some kind of a picture associated with the word/s for the link than if
there were only words with no picture. 

   What association will they 
>make with the logo if they don't know what it is and can't read the text 
>and don't visit the other site? That I like snowflakes?
>This is just one example and I got a little silly at the end of it. I hope 
>it illustrates the point that I think linking to a site ought to be 
>considered as a non-text equivalent associated with text.

Yes it does, but it's important to make it clear that where one goes to has
to illustrate the term or the concept. 

Wendy, Imagine if you will, that some of the folks you once coached in
special olympics have access to the Internet and link to your page. For
those folks, seeing your picture on the page may be all they get out of the
page, but for them, seeing the Special Ed logo on your page, with your
picture, may warm their hearts with fond memories! Yes, I'm a hopeless
romantic sometimes!

>Note: I don't think including their logo would do any harm...I'm just 
>curious about how much more understandable or approachable it will make may 
>home page.  If I had a table of numbers,  a bar graph would significantly 
>aid understanding.  I don't see the same benefit from a logo.  Whether we 
>like it or not, we do have to consider costs and benefits.

In my little romantic scenario, I point out some possible personal benefits
that you may never even know about ... 

>How about this as a compromise:
>*MOST* text *SHOULD* have a non-text equivalent.

Can I counter-bargain with:

*ALL* text *SHOULD* have a non-text equivalent....

>Non-text equivalents include but are not limited to: illustrations, videos, 
>audio clips, virtual environment simulations, links to other sites, links 
>to illustrations or videos, links to audio clips, etc.  also, metadata 
>could be used to define relationships between text and non-text.
Yes, yes, yes, all of the above, and whatever comes down the road that we
don't envison yet....

>This is a similar approach to William's "earcons" - he links to them from 
>phrases on a page.

I am truly sorry William had to leave. He was extremely helpful in making
this concept understandable ... on all sides of the issue ...

>*BUT THEN*...
>How do we define *MOST*?  Here are some questions to figure out when it is 
>most important to provide non-text equivalents for text:
>Is it P1 to illustrate concrete ideas (i.e. a bridge) but P2 or P3 to 
>illustrate abstract ideas (i.e. love)?

No, I don't think this would be a helpful division of the priorities. What
bridge are you talking about? where? highway?foot/bike?train? what time
period? All of these if given in the text should be available in the
illustration, and if it cannot (bridge no longer exists and there are no
pictures of the bridge available to the page author), meaningful
substitutions would be appropriate. As to love, the illustration needs to
be based on more than the single word... what sentence or paragraph or
essay is the whole to be illustrated.

>Is it P1 for an education site, but P2 or P3 for john doe's personal site?

It should be P1 for an education site AND for a government site, especially
one that is directed at the citizenry as a whole. 

Not I don't think we can put any priority on it on a personal site. John
Doe may be blind and unable to meaningfully illustrate his words, and it
would be as unreasonable to expect him to do so, as it would be to have an
unskilled writer try to do text. But once John Doe start working on the
page for his employer, his organization, or his commercial site, his
responsibility shifts. 

>Is it P1 for sites whose main audience is people with cognitive or learning 
>disabilities but P2 or P3 for all others?

I cannot imagine sites existing "whose main audience is people with
cognitive or learning disabilities" ... there is no way to separate out the
interest, needs, wants, and possibilities of this audience from those of
general consumers, citizens, tax-payers, and members of various other
groups including those of Disabled Persons. So, I would say this is not

>Is it P1 to use illustrations for navigation features of a site but not 
>abstract ideas?

These are two distincly different uses of illustrations. The illustrations
in 3.4 are illustrations of content. So, no, it would not be P1 to use
illustrations for navigation but not for text content.

>Personally, I find it easier to illustrate or find existing illustrations 
>of concrete ideas than abstract ideas.  I find it more important for an 
>educational or work site to be more accessible than a private site.

I've been updating the pages I made "on the run" last year to use with
students and with classes. The most e-mail savvy of the faculty is testing
the waters on online collaboration, and we're discussing what classroom
resources can be supplied online, and how to make it most useful 1) to the
teachers when they do a class online, and 2) to the students when they want
to "get on the Internet" during their lab time. We're starting with a piece
of the social studies curriculum - in each of our 3 grade levels, the
children have a short list of "Famous Americans" they have to learn about.
The most pressing need, which is time consuming to search out, is for
pictures of these people they are to learn about --- and we are exploring
the use of music and song delivered from the Internet to the classrooms to
help teach some of these people to the kids. (It's what I do online when
I'm not responding on this list! <grin>) 

>would ideally like all sites to be accessible to all people, yet I know we 
>will never reach 100%.  Human communication is not perfect and you will 
>never know exactly the reality that I know nor I know yours.

No, but honestly, Wendy, I know more about you from the web page about
yourself. If you ever want to experience my reality, just pop on down to
Virginia and spend a day with me in the lab with the kids. 

>Finally, there are a variety of functions that an image can perform.  We 
>discussed this quite a lot during the development of WCAG 1.0.  For 
>example: decorative images help define mood, style, 
>personality.  Illustrative images convey relationships (particularly of 
>data), such as graphs, charts, photographs of a machine being 
>described.  Personally, illustrative images for difficult concepts would 
>get a higher priority than decorative images.  Also, images to help someone 
>navigate would get a higher priority.  This reflects my own personal style: 
>I express myself in words much better than in visual presentations.

Wendy, we have a close personal friend who spent his life working on
neuropsychological research who cannot "make" a picture appear in his mind
... hubby explains that Bob has "no mind's eye" ... Bob prefers to work in
text, but did some wonderful photo variations for my kids this past year,
that they used to make their first spreadsheets ... 

>Therefore here are some things to consider as we think about how we would 
>define *MOST*:
>- function of the image
>- abstract vs. concrete ideas (nouns vs. verbs vs. adjectives vs. etc.)

No, this isn't material. It's more important to concentrate on main ideas
not individual words.

>- purpose of site
>- audience of site

Yes, but remember that once the audience and purpose enter the public
realm, that you must open your range of educational, cognitive, and
learning variations. 

>Some of these overlap with the axes I describe in "Wendy's unillustrated 
>notes, thoughts, and questions about the recent WCAG WG "Illustrating 
>Guidelines" thread" at http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/2001/05/cog-notes.html

Will read this next time I get online and comment later.

>Anyway, I hope that wasn't too difficult to wade through.  Please respond 
>to the feasibility of the proposal and questions raised within.

Hope it is as easy for others as for me. But I am on summer vacation now,
and can spend time on these issues. If these issues end up on the agenda
for a Thursday teleconference, and you'd like my input for a call or two, I
can be available now. 


Anne Pemberton

Received on Thursday, 12 July 2001 18:02:45 UTC

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