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RE: REF 1.1a - Add definition to 1.1 for ability to be expressed in words

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 16:48:23 -0500
Message-ID: <B3DC65CD2AA7EF449E554548C6FE11111356AC@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I'm concerned that the proposed wording for the definition of "ability
to be expressed in words" might be interpreted as meaning there's no
need to provide extended descriptions of art-works.  (The proposed
definition explicitly says that works of visual art are considered as
things that "cannot be expressed in words.")
The discipline of art history, for example, depends heavily upon very
careful and very precisely nuanced verbal descriptions of visual works.
So does film criticism and theory.  Until the very recent advent of
inexpensive and accurate color reproduction, moreover, a great deal of
art-historical writing and connoisseurship assumed (accurately) that the
vast majority of readers would never actually see for themselves the
works that were being described.
Moreover, if the only things for which text equivalents are required are
things that can be described unambiguously in a "reasonable number" (??)
of words, what becomes of images that are themselves ambiguous-- such as
a photograph of an event where it's possible for reasonable people to
draw different conclusions about what's actually being depicted? We
can't just say "Pretend there's nothing here"!
This is not to say that paintings aren't paintings or that symphonies
aren't symphonies, each doing things that can be done only in that
medium.  But I can't agree that all we need do for accessibiliity's sake
in these cases is to slap a short text label on these things and declare
HTML's LONDESC attribute is designed to support such extended
descriptions, and there are other techniques for making descriptions

John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Technology & Learning
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C
1 University Station G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
web http://www.ital.utexas.edu <http://www.ital.utexas.edu/> 

-----Original Message-----
From: Gregg Vanderheiden [mailto:gv@wiscmail.wisc.edu] 
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 2:56 pm
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: REF 1.1a - Add definition to 1.1 for ability to be expressed in

REF  1.1a  -   Add definition to 1.1 for ability to be expressed in


The phrase "ability to be expressed in words" is never defined.  Suggest
that in the definitions section, a new definition be added which would


Ability to be expressed in words 

This refers to content that can be expressed accurately and
unambiguously in a reasonable number of words (for example, diagrams,
charts, illustrations, etc.)  Content such as a musical performance or
visual artwork is considered "content that can not be expressed in
words," since this type of content relies heavily on the visual (or
auditory) experience.

Received on Thursday, 10 July 2003 01:00:35 UTC

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