W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > July to September 2001

Re: examples of a variety of sites that include illustrations of concepts (i.e., examples of 3.4)

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2001 10:11:49 -0700
Message-ID: <063001c11b76$480ac200$6501a8c0@vaio>
To: "Wendy A Chisholm" <wendy@w3.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wendy A Chisholm" <wendy@w3.org>
> Joel and others are concerned about burdening authors if we ask them to
> illustrate concepts.  So, I decided to take a look at a variety of sites,
> particularly science research sites such as physics, to see what I could
> find.  In about 1/2 an hour, I found the following 12 pages.  Note that
> they all contain some sort of non-text content.  Particularly, the physics
> technical papers - which at least contain graphs and tables of data.
> I am not saying these examples are perfect, I am trying to show that
> illustrations and use of multimedia is more widespread than some people
> have been suggesting.  Also, that it is probably less of an "undue burden"
> than some have hypothesized.

I don't think anyone is arguing that multimedia (as a set including static
images) is not widespread on the web. After all, it was the ability to embed
images in documents that set the web apart from, say, gopher, back around
'94. Really, any page you visit, you'll find graphics. I just don't think
that merely their presence as a rule increases access or usability.

The point I've been trying to make is that presence does not indicate
quality. Good graphics require forethought. If sites, particularly
commercial ones, are going to answer a call to add other media, they need to
know who and why, not what and how. That is, authors need to know how
multi-modal communication aids cognition, and determine what they can do
with their content to accommodate that. If they don't know or care about
that, and take a set of rules they're not actually invested in, they're
going to do a terrible, and quite possibly counterproductive, job of
satisfying the checkpoint.

Also, those sites which I felt used graphics effectively clearly had
integrated them early in the content design process. Those who did it later
appeared to have less relevant images. The implication here is that attempts
to make legacy content accessible (which is to say the entire web up to the
date WCAG 2 is published) will falter, where they are able to get off the

I'm also thinking about technical and legal considerations. News sites
(including CNN.com) repurpose wire copy, which is necessarily plain text.
The sheer volume of wire copy makes it impossible to design or discover
relevant images for each one, and even then it would be done by someone
other than the original content provider. The majority of the largest
content sites around use mostly repurposed content, and it is often strictly
controlled by contract.

Maybe Charles and Kynn are right that my issue is really with the compliance
scheme, and maybe sometime soon someone can tag me with an action item to
come up with tweaking it. But even absent a compliance scheme, I still have
trouble applying success criteria to a checkpoint when the true measure of
success can only be discovered through testing.

Received on Thursday, 2 August 2001 13:12:19 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:38 UTC