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Re: NEW DRAFT - 31 July 2001

From: Paul Bohman <paulb@cpd2.usu.edu>
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 17:02:47 -0600
Message-ID: <020701c11a14$ea10eb50$20117b81@paul>
To: "Anne Pemberton" <apembert@erols.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "Wendy A Chisholm" <wendy@w3.org>
> great! Now, let's see how comfortable other people are with this draft,
> particularly checkpoint 3.4.

I like the wording of the checkpoint:

<quote>Supplement text with non-text content.</quote>.

I do have a couple of related concerns, however

Concern #1: The success criteria.

The list of circumstances in which non-text equivalents would be required in
order to meet the success criteria reminds me too much of the list of
disability types that we recently scrapped. We are naming a finite list of
circumstances out of a list of infinite possible circumstances. We have
singled out processes, relationships, concrete concepts, symbols, data, and
sounds as the items that need to be supplemented. At first glance this
doesn't seem like a bad list, but what about things such as abstract
concepts, references to videos (or to illustrations, interactive scripts, or
whatever else), verbs (and all other parts of speech not encapsulated in the
"person, place, or thing" [noun] category), ...  My point is that the list
is much longer than we would perhaps like it to be. By singling out certain
circumstances, we are excluding way too much. Also, just as with the
disability types, by attempting to categorize, we are leaving too much room
for disputations of our categorizations. While studying instructional
technology at Utah State University, I became very aware that every theorist
defines information in vastly different ways. There is a lot of
disagreement. If we leave our success criteria the way it is now, we have,
in essence, written our own controversial definition of information (or,
more specifically, information needing non-text supplements). We are opening
ourselves up for criticism, just as we would have been with our previous
list of disability types.

I know that one of our goals is to make guidelines that are more checkable,
but in some ways I'd be more comfortable with a broader statement. Our
current list of success criteria includes some good ideas, but they might be
more appropriate in a techniques document, or somewhere else.

Do I have a suggestion for an alternative to the current success criteria?
I'm afraid that I do not at the moment, but I will continue to think about
it.

Concern #2: The definition.

It would be nice to re-word the definition so that we don't have the word
"text" in a definition of what is not text. Alternatively, we could leave
the definition as it is, but then we would have to provide a definition of
what "text" means.

Sincerely,

Paul Bohman
Technology Coordinator
WebAIM: Web Accessibility in Mind (www.webaim.org)
Center for Persons with Disabilities (www.cpd.usu.edu)
Utah State University (www.usu.edu)
Received on Tuesday, 31 July 2001 19:01:36 GMT

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