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

From: Paul Bohman <paulb@cpd2.usu.edu>
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003 15:33:31 -0600
To: <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <003301c3472a$e8e8df40$ef117b81@Spot>
I have never liked the phrase "that can be expresed in words."
The truth is that anything can be expressed in words. Musicologists can
describe symphonies. Art critics can describe paintings. Even your ordinary
person can describe both of these. It may be true that the description does
not substitute for the experience of actually hearing a symphony or of
seeing a painting in person, but that is beside the point. Anything can be
expressed in words, no matter how inadequately.
Like John, I don't wish to provide a loophole through which almost anything
can slip. Almost anything can be said to be impossible to express in words
if you mean that you want the reader to experience the description in
exactly the same way that the author does. I could argue that it is
completely impossible to give alt text to any image that would truly
substitute for not being able to see the image. No one can write anything
that would allow an individual who is blind from birth to be able to
visualize anything in exactly the same way that a sighted person can. It
simply can't be done. A person who has never heard a sound will never
experience music the way that a hearing person does, but you can always
describe music. 
In most cases, Web developers aren't going to post a link to a symphony and
say nothing about it. They usually have a reason for linking to it. Maybe
they want the listener to hear the difference between Barroque and
Impressionistic music. The differences can be explained in words. Maybe the
developer is just trying to sell CDs by giving sample music clips. The
selling points of the music can be explained. No matter what the purpose is,
it can be explained somehow. 
I would like to either drop the phrase "that can be expressed in words". The
important part of the checkpoint (making the function or information
available) is already expressed in the current wording (minus the "expressed
in words" phrase): 
"All non-text content has a text equivalent of the function or information
that the non-text content was intended to convey. [was 1.1] 
Paul Bohman
Technology Coordinator
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
Center for Persons with Disabilities
Utah State University

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Gregg Vanderheiden
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 1:56 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 words


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


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 17:33:37 UTC

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