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Re: sigint-humint was Re: definition of accessible: text is convenient

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2001 14:37:45 -0400
Message-Id: <200109151835.OAA2589390@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: "Jonathan Chetwynd" <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, "William Loughborough" <love26@gorge.net>, <wai-tech-comments@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com>
AG:: Great, I think I have an idea now of what is eating you.  On the last go,
I couldn't grasp what the problem was, because the "text is convenient" truth
and "definition of accessibility" are not on the same page, in my book.

At 12:44 PM 2001-09-15 , Jonathan Chetwynd wrote:
>To restate the 3 editorial points that I made, not just the one....
>Media like languages are alternatives, the title of a film tells me
>something about the film, but not a lot. Would you prefer to see the film or
>read the title?
>For those people that cannot see, the answer is perhaps clearer, though if
>they can hear, they might possibly prefer to listen, and not just have a
>machine read a text.
>Automated artificial voices are not generally preferred by many, though
>plenty like to listen to the professional voices of those they have never
>I don't feel that teletext is wildly successful, and if you asked the
>average punter to watch 'friends' in any xml repurposed form I think you'd
>have a problem.
>If you forced a nation to, you just might have a riot. All I am suggesting
>is that one could be more positive and say for instance:
>whereas non-textual content is less easily repurposed (by machines) at the
>present time.
>repurposing has a use, but no amount of xml will improve -on offering
>That is my case, they are alternatives and repurposing is only one tool in
>the kit bag.

AG:: Whatever you disagreed with in what I said, I would like to agree with

>1>A document is accessible if it can be equally understood by its targeted
>audience regardless of the device used to access it.
>I don't think this makes sense, It is brief, but we've had problems defining
>accessibility, and this doesn't fit.

AG:: We should recognize that there is no feasible _definition_ of _accessible
content_ and learn to work around this fact.

>2>>This semantics knowledge can be provided through human readable
>documentation of course, but having machine readable assertions of semantics
>that can then be used to present the document in various media is paramount
>for pervasive access (that is, you don't need a programmer, you just need a
>program). Enabling others to map from your language to existing ones, or
>vice versa, is a useful accessibility feature.
>What efforts are being made to encourage semantic content of images to be

AG:: Advocacy of image descriptions by advocacy groups.  Check with EO to

>is it paramount?

AG:: No. because most authors who provide information in images are
sufficiently oriented to other modes of expression so that there is a usable
resource without the images or graphics, aside from stupid things like images
of text used as navigation links.

>pervasive access often means providing a variety of media alternatives.

AG:: Absolutely, Amen.

Diversity is a master strategy.  Text is convenient.  They don't contradict
another.  They address different levels in the flowdown.  Yes, diversity,
stated symmetrically with regard to rhetorical and media forms, is the higher
principle.  But that's no reason not to eventually state the other as we
develop methods to address the need for diversity in both sense and rhetoric.

There is a need for diversity in rhetoric.  I hope that's not to psychobabble
for you.  The most direct way ordinary Joes can achieve a diversity in
is to "both show and tell" and pictures or diagrams are what often makes the
most sense for 'show.'

My beef is with the obsession with checkpoints.  The appropriate response in
terms of providing diversity in rhetoric is not readily captured in the
"checkpoint" medium.  So we need to generalize our notion of our product,
or we
are doing an unjust disservice to the people with cognitive disabilities whose
needs are most readily addressed through the author-comprehensible devices of
rhetorical diversity.  Pictures are no the policy issue.  Apropriate
to redress cognitive disability-linked inaccessibility vs. checkpoint religion
is the policy issue.

Sound files can help a lot.  If the content is a poem, a sound file is more
appropriate than a picture, probably.  Alternatives to text are part of the
agenda, and not completely solved by using graphics, just as diversity of
content is not completely helped by text.  But graphics is the long pole in
solution tent as regards cognitive barriers just as text is the long pole in
the tent in the solution as regards sensory barriers.  Each one is
pre-emminent, but not all-sufficient, in its domain of competence.

The chief advocacy opportunity here inside the W3C in this direction is to get
the Consortium ot make a more substantive commitment, and expect a broader
capability from, the Device Independence activity.  Talk with William.

Understanding the substitutability relations within a heap of multimedia
fragments that can be assembled to tell a common story in different flows
different channel constraints is the core capability that Device Independence
needs.   I have been through this once too quickly at

 rough romp through DI master plan

>Hope this doesn't all seem to contrary, but whilst recognising that tags
>normally contain text, I do feel that much is being attempted for the
>presentation of text, and little for the (cultural) dynamics of images, and
>all in the name of accessibility.
>No amount of text presentation will improve accessibility for people locked
>into a visual world.
>*3>Textual alternatives, for instance, can be repurposed
>for many different output devices, whereas non-textual content is often
>confined to a certain set of devices

AG:: Mosaic, by putting The Web in contact with The GUI, precipitated a
revolution which has made a large number of devices reach a large number of
people with access to a shared body of lots of stuff, much more so than the
text Internet including The Web did.  Are we having fun, yet?


>jonathan chetwynd
>IT teacher (LDD)
><http://www.peepo.com/>http://www.peepo.com         "The first and still the
best picture directory
>on the web"
Received on Saturday, 15 September 2001 14:35:27 UTC

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