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RE: Mail order catalogues was Re: Cognition Simulation

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 17:32:42 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 07:05 PM 8/29/01 -0700, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>Are we trying to increase comprehension for users -- particularly for people
>with cognitive disabilities -- or are we just recommending multimedia for
>its own sake?

Haven't I made it clear enough that the recommendation for multi-media is 
for ILLUSTRATION? Then let's try again, all together now .... add 
illustrations to text to aid comprehension.

>Anne wrote: "The reason to add images, etc. should be because you have it
>and it's relevant." But this is preposterous. If I need an image of George
>Washington and I have fifty, should I put all fifty on the page simply
>because I have them and they are relevant?

Depends on the purpose of the site. If it is *the* comprehensive page on 
ole George, then if you have fifty pictures, you need to put all or most of 
the fifty pictures on the site. No, not all on one page .... Although I 
haven't counted them, there are probably more than 50 pictures of Helen 
Keller on the AFB site .... Are you suggesting that the AFB "wasted too 
much band width" sharing all of those pictures? Library of Congress has 
thousands of historical photos online. Are they "wasting band width" 
keeping all those images that are so heavily used in historical research?

>Had I made my "illustrated" page usable, it would *not* have illustrated my
>point -- just the reverse. I needed it to be unusable to show why -- in a
>very pointed way -- graphics must be used judiciously if they are to
>increase comprehensibility. Adding graphics three randomly that green have
>nothing to Jeff do with the content would be horse like interspersing ouch
>random words in your elves text.

When 3.4 is written correctly, it will specify that the graphics be 
illustrations, eliminating your concern about random additions.

Interestingly, since I am downloading at a very slow speed recently, I had 
no trouble comprehending your page because I read it while it was 
downloading, and the hummingbird background was the last element to load. 
Worked nicely. You ended up making a comprehensible page when you were 
trying for an incomprehensible one <grin> ....

>We have a checkpoint that says "Write as clearly and simply as is
>appropriate for the content" and we have one that says "Supplement text with
>non-text content." Why don't we have one that says "Ensure that non-text
>content is as clear and simple as is appropriate for the content"?

That sounds like a good technique to go with the checkpoint.

>And given
>that bandwidth considerations *are* an accessibility issue for much of the
>world, why don't we have a checkpoint that says "Use the minimum bandwidth
>necessary to convey the content effectively"?

This is one of those issues that seems obvious, is hinted at in some 
checkpoint details, but I've never seen it proposed as a checkpoint. But, 
what would you tell the AFB about all that bandwidth they are using to 
share Helen's life with the world, or the Library of Congress not to share 
the publicly paid for photographs and art work that tell the history of our 

>On my illustrated page, I looked at what images I had -- "because you have
>it" -- and I tried to decide how they might be "relevant." I had a black cat
>animation that I like (I like cats) and I thought, A black cat crossing your
>path is bad luck, and people will have bad luck with graphics if they don't
>follow my advice. So I used the black cat as a warning to readers.

And nicely described in the alt text which displayed while I read the 
loading page. Oh, couldn't you think  of anything better for the background 
than netscape grey?

>Then I added a dinosaur (I only had a hatching animation, unfortunately, but
>sometimes designers are pressed for time) to represent the old "dinosaur"
>browsers that many people in the Third World are stuck with.

With a more visible caption, this is another really an effective 
illustration for your point.

>I also added
>the hopping rabbit to draw attention to the key point.

This one didn't work. An animated arrow zooming at the text would have 
worked better.

>I admit that I added
>the rose because I simply like flowers.

Then make a page about flowers and move the rose there .... I do that quite 
often with my pages .... get to building something and discover I've got 
more content than that section needs, and another section gets started ...

>But there is nothing to discourage
>this in the Guidelines. In fact, for the most part, my page seems to pass
>the guidelines (I haven't studied it closely, but neither will lots of web
>site developers study theirs that closely).

Nope, you page doesn't upset much in the guidelines, especially since you 
avoided using the music as background and put that link on the page. You 
were not as outrageous as you could have been! <grin>

>You may think that this is page is grossly exaggerated. It *is* exaggerated
>to make the point -- in text we call it hyperbole -- but not as exaggerated
>as some might think. I have, in my short career as a web site developer,
>made all of the mistakes that are evident on this page, though not all at
>once, of course. And I see pages with these sorts of errors -- even pages
>made by "professional" web site developers -- all the time. Twice in as many
>days I've had to turn off a background image on a page because I simply
>couldn't read the text.
>I hope this clarifies my point.
>(Perhaps text *is* sometimes necessary to get the point across.)

It is not the purpose of the guidelines to avoid the learning lessons of 
those new to the field. At one time everyone was new to the field, all at 
once even .... now, at least those coming in new are spaced out and 
everyone isn't all trying to learn at once.  My biggest splash into 
graphics was when I started using Publisher to design page sets,  and 
finally learned to do what was useful in Front Page and drop the excess 
coding and constrictions in Publisher (I still design some pages in 
Publisher then convert them to Front Page after the presentation is 
right)... but those splashy pages bugged me and I took them down this 
summer and haven't rebuilt that part of the site yet, but happier with them 
down for now ... The medium is still growing and we all grow with it ....


Anne Pemberton

Received on Thursday, 30 August 2001 17:49:41 UTC

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