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Re: Clear and simple writing

From: Jim Ley <jim@jibbering.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 15:18:28 -0000
Message-ID: <00a001c175c6$0fbb6bc0$853c70c2@7020CT>
To: "WAI GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
"Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>:
> At 7:22 PM +0000 11/24/01, Jim Ley wrote:
> >I am, I have distinct problems with illustrations, they make content
> >(which can be explained clearly in text) difficult to understand, at
the
> >same time I appreciate images so cannot disable all images, cartoon
like
> >"descriptive" images that are all I see are especially distractive. (I
> >have a similar problem with music, I can only understand words..)
>
> Are you arguing this because you have an actual disability and
> inability to use the web,

I have no inability to use the sites I need, but as I'm sure everyone is
aware, sites aren't currently illustrating their content in this manner -
I certainly have difficulty with those few pages which have been suggested
as examples of this technique.  My current use of websites tends to be to
technical documentation on programming or mark-up technologies, news
sites, e-commerce, and tourism - I certainly use images a lot (I like to
see what the destination looks like so I know it when I arrive, and I like
to see the products I'm buying.)   If images appeared though on every
idea - I would have problems, I couldn't realisticly disable all images,
as I'd lose the ones I do find valuable, but equally couldn't afford the
distraction (or the download...) of those which are purely alternate
content for that which is expressed in the paragraph.

> or are you arguing this because you are
> a web developer who does not wish to have the burden of illustrating
> web pages placed upon him?

I've already told my designers about the issues of illustrating ideas, and
they are certainly very interested in accessibility and are increasing the
imagery used, and how it's used.

Whether websites are illustrated or not, makes no difference to me,
there's no burden on me at all, I'm very much encouraging it, but the
abscence of any techniques is currently very limiting especially for my
own personal sites where I don't have designers behind me doing the work.

> >Ruby can be used to hide images - in which user agents, can you
describe
> >exactly how a user agent should control this (I'm happy to author a
user
> >agent to do it, I do need though there to be some mechanism recommended
> >that users can use for providing alternate non text content for text.)
>
> So what do you propose to solve this supposed problem?

Well, there are a number of ideas all of which I think have problems, this
alternate content and on a paragraph basis (single idea per parargraph,
all ideas illustrated.) therefore we have the opportunity to add an
alt/longdesc type attribute to the P element, I don't like that much, but
it's an idea.

Perhaps the simplest approach would be to require that all such
illustrations have a class of "alternate" * or something, therefore I
could simply hide them (and them alone) by a user stylesheet, something
that is already well supported in current browsers.  e.g.
<p>Chickens like to fly. <img class="alternate" ... ></p>
This would also allow page authors to choose to have the alternate content
hidden by default on pages (if they wished).  There are though still
bandwidth issues with such as current browser CSS implementations still
downloads images with display:none - but that's still less development
work than supporting new attributes.

* It would actually need to be more unique than this to avoid potential
collisions with authors chosen names, who are not aware of the guidelines.

The proposition that I can just disable images, leads me to another area
which I haven't seen addressed with this alternate content - what are the
alt etc. attributes?  if it's a text explanation of how this illustration
is trying to get the idea across then I will probably struggle just as
much - ie "A man dropping a piece of paper on to the floor with a large
red cross through it" - would still make be more confusing than just the
paragraphs "don't drop litter" instruction.

Jim.
Received on Sunday, 25 November 2001 10:29:16 GMT

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