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RE: Mail order catalogues was Re: Cognition Simulation

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 23:08:07 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
         reply inline ....

At 05:07 PM 8/29/01 -0700, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>I don't want to deny anything to anyone. That's why I'm in favor of the
>judicious use of graphics to enhance comprehensibility on Web pages. I think
>that, just as web site developers need to take care to make their text clear
>and simple, they should also minimize graphic clutter and keep their
>graphics clear and to the point. Or is it only text that needs to be simple?

I'm not sure that judicious use of graphics will accommodate the folks who 
need it so much as a comprehensive use of graphics to enhance 
comprehensibility on we pages ....

Helen Keller was added to the Virginia SOLs this year, and I made a page 
for her on http://www.geocities.com/apembert45/History/Keller.html .. At 
the bottom of the page are links to the AFB site for a whole gallery of 
photos of Helen, Anne, and the many people in Helen's life ... and one of 
the second grade teachers in today's workshop linked on those pictures, and 
was ooohing and aaaahing all over the place . HER students will be visiting 
that site this year!!!!

>I don't see how adding graphics to a site carefully and wisely denies access
>to anyone.

Carefully and wisely sound constraining. There is no reason for constraint 
when you are meeting the needs of disabled persons, at least according to 
the purpose of the guidelines.

>I can see how bandwidth-hogging pages full of Flash applets, Java
>applets, big images, sounds, etc. might deny access to someone with older

I don't. If you don't have the technology, you just get a message it isn't 
there. If the guidelines are followed, you will have a text alternative if 
it doesn't work. So access is denied to no one with older technology ..... 
(hey! the school I work at has ancient MAC III classics some idiot thought 
would make a useful lab --- oops it can't get online! Duh! What use are 
they?) I was online back when it was all dos on an apple, before a 386, 
486, and onward .... I know what it can't do, and when it can't pull in a 
graphic, you DON'T have the download time!!!!! If you pay extra for 
download time, you turn off images to pull in a page, and get it cheap .... 
but, again, if the images aren't there the user doesn't have a choice to 
turn them off or on ..... they are denied the choice .... dis the user!!!

And we are talking *big* numbers of people here, too. Sure, a
>user can turn images, etc. off, but how then does he know which ones are key
>to understanding the page? Do people with cognitive disabilities in Third
>World countries not figure into your equations? Wouldn't a page that uses
>images as effectively as possible with a significantly lower bandwidth
>requirement better serve these people?

Again, are these people served if they have no choice of image or not? If 
it's not there, the user is dis'ed ....

> > >10. Regarding the WCAG, I think that it is very important that we stress
> > >that non-text content be designed to increase comprehensibility, not just
> > >added willy-nilly to make the page pretty.

You are confusing content with presentation. Graphics that are there to 
make a page pretty are part of the visual presentation, they are not 
content ....

>It will be a long
> > time before the
> > >rest of the world catches up with the First World. Let's not make it any
> > >longer than it needs to be.

Actually, the non-First World is catching onto computer better than onto 
TV, doncha know ... chat I had with a prof in Cuba was that computer with 
email access were happening in the colleges, not yet the K-12 schools, and 
not yet the web. Interesting that after we exchanged mutually exclusive 
political position, he sent a picture by e-mail ... which I responded to in 
kind. He cannot see my web pages, but we can exchange pictures with this 
Third World country ...

> > What makes you think that the rest of the world isn't waiting for the
> > graphics as so many Americans did?

The story of my friend in Cuba .... sending me his picture early in the 
correspondence, reciprocated by picture of hubby and I <grin> ...

>They aren't waiting: most of them can get at least simple graphics. But when
>you have a bad phone line connected to a 14.4k modem and an ISP that charges
>you several day's pay for limited access, then how many images can you
>afford to download? And when you are working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week
>to support your family, how much time do you have to wait for images to
>download? Shouldn't every image count? Shouldn't we try to do *more* with
>*less* until we've solved the bandwidth problem for everyone?

Again, if you don't want images you can de-select them. But, if they aren't 
there, you don't have a choice .... give the user the choice!!!!!

>Or do only
>wealthy, white, English-speaking Americans with cognitive disabilities
>count? What about poor, Hispanic, Spanish-speaking people with cognitive
>disabilities, either in Latin America or right here in the good ole U.S.A.?
>Don't they count? I'm sure that's not what you mean to say, but taking the
>unlimited-bandwidth approach to site design will have that sort of effect.

Pictures work for the poor, Hispanic, Spanish-speaking people with 
cognitive disabilities or not, right here in Dinwiddie, Virginia. Do they 
count? I'm trying to make it so .... How about you?????

>We need to be careful that we are not solving the problems of one group
>while -- unintentionally, of course -- destroying accessibility to another.
>I've decided to take a page from your brave support of Americans with
>cognitive disabilities and become a voice in this group for the rights of
>poor people with cognitive disabilities worldwide. I'm sure these issues
>will come up again as we work out the details of hypermedia on the Web.\

Have at, it Chas!!!! You are a worthy opponent .... But can I suggest we 
take some of it offlist and spare the group the flames?

>You must have a lot of free time, Anne. I read the "Illustrated Guidelines"
>thread from last May this morning and it took me all morning. On my slow
>connection (28.8k), it could take me weeks to get through the archives. So
>I'm afraid I'll have to be satisfied with the spot check I've done, and if I
>bring up something that's been covered before, I'll be happy to read any
>previous posts that others are willing to point me to.

Go probably got the gist of it!  The discussion tends to repeat itself when 
new folks come into the group ... that's why I want to create a simulation 
that gives new folks a chance to see what it's like to hit a wall of text 
with no clue what it's about ...  And, I've been off this summer, mostly 
making the web pages I did at the presentations today ... but in May, the 
kids were pretty much where I wanted them to be --- independent in using 
the computers on something instructional .... which left my lunch time and 
breaks free for e-mail ... which was usually Guidelines ... My time will be 
limited beginning a week from Monday til October ....

Now, regarding when we should talk about the best way to accommodate
>graphics to all users, why wait? What is the benefit to waiting? Besides,
>haven't we already said that graphics have to be there? Isn't that what
>checkpoint 3.4 says, or am I reading it incorrectly? So we are now ready to
>proceed with a discussion of how graphics may be used most effectively. With
>luck, we can come up with some techniques for keeping graphics small (in
>file size) and efficacious.

When checkpoint 3.4 actually says that graphics need to be there, we can 
move forward. Not until. If we cannot recognize the need for these 
elements, we cannot obstruct their use by those who recognize realities.

>Here is a good start: Taking my cue from Strunk's "The Elements of Style"
>("Omit needless words.") and Orwell's "Politics and the English Language"
>("If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out."), I recommend the
>***If it is possible to cut a graphic out, always cut it out.***

A picture is worth a thousand words, so you will have to cut out a thousand 
words to balance the loss of a graphic ....

>In other words, if a graphic is not necessary to convey the meaning of the
>content, delete it! It is just superfluous clutter, wasting bandwidth and
>mind-space that could be better used for images that *do* convey meaning.
>This doesn't in any way limit the number of graphics that may be used to
>illustrate the topic! It just requires them to be useful.

Not a problem, but remember we are only talking about the graphics that are 
content .... the presentation graphics, such as backgrounds aren't content ....

>Here is another:
>***Never use a big graphic if a small graphic will do as well.***
>This goes along with the admonition to text writers to avoid big words. Note
>that it doesn't require the substitution of small graphics for big: it
>clearly states that the substitution should only occur when the smaller
>graphic can be used with no loss of meaning. This is pure gain for all

The correct way to do this is to put the small (resampled) version of the 
graphic on the page and link it to the full-sized version.... after all 
some people want to see the details in faces in graphics of a large 
painting ... see 
http://www.geocities.com/apembert45/FamAmer/Pocahontas.html and look at the 
painting of Pocahontas and John Smith and tell me that five year olds will 
get anything out of that image if you reduce it to a width  of 100 pixels?

>How about this:
>***Keep graphics simple and clear. The complexity of a graphic should be no
>greater than that required to convey the information.***
>Again, this goes right along with checkpoint 3.3! Think of how much easier
>it will be to get information out of Web pages when they all provide *both*
>text and non-text content; keep everything -- text and not-text alike --
>short, sweet, clear, and simple; download in a flash; and work on every

Yep, Jonathan has talked about the need to keep pages short and sweet, and 
he is working with the adults of this disability (whereas I work with 
children whose needs are not always the same) ...
download in a flash is dependent on your connection ... I'm on a rural line 
and sometimes I get less than 14000 even tho my modem can handle much more 
.... downloading time is time to load the dishwasher, etc.....

>I was further encouraged this morning when I read "Designing for Users With
>Cognitive Disabilities" by Erica Kolatch:
>In particular, she mentioned:
>"The primary focus for designers producing any material for those with
>cognitive disabilities, whether it be new computer aided instruction,
>assistive technologies, or the World Wide Web should be to:
>     * Avoid clutter"

Of course, do you see clutter on my pages? 
http://www.geocities.com/apembert45  and especially in the pages for the 
individual Famous Americans from 
http://www.geocities.com/apembert45/FamAmer .... ?

>And later:
>"Designers must remember to provide:
>     * Information layouts that are consistent and easy to understand. For
>example, display important information in a prominent area to catch the
>user's eye
>     * Simplified and consistent design and presentation"
>Seems to me that by keeping graphics clear and simple, avoiding overuse of
>graphics and graphics that distract or are superfluous, and keeping pages
>short and to the point, we can better serve everyone. It's a win-win

Again, look at what that looks like when her suggestions are followed 
without limiting the use of graphics to illustrate the content on: 
http://www.geocities.com/apember45/History ..... if you look at all the 
pages from http://www.geocities.com/apember45 are all consistent - same 
layout, same background .... but the graphics are there (and there are 
text-only links that are waiting for graphics ... have two weeks to finish 
them up ) ...

>I find this especially pleasing because I usually go to great lengths to
>keep my pages short (pun intended, of course). It's nice to know that I was
>on the right track all along. (Now if I could just keep my posts as short as
>my pages.)
>I'm really starting to enjoy this thread. We seem to be clarifying the
>issues surrounding checkpoint 3.4 quite a bit.

Yes, Chas .... it is working ....


Anne Pemberton

Received on Wednesday, 29 August 2001 23:13:13 UTC

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