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RE: Conformance Testing Proposal

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2004 13:07:12 -0500
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A1E30E0@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "David Dorward" <david@us-lot.org>, "WAI WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Thanks, David.  A very helpful commentary on a really sad situation.

David's analysis makes it clear that there's a significant problem with
the way graphical user agents handle image maps when images are turned
off. But Chris' proposal that we require redundant text links for image
maps (whether server- or client-side) *for now* seems like bringing the
dread "until user agents" clauses back in through the back door even
though we've tried hard to keep them out of the guidelines themselves.

If Chris was proposing a candidate for a technology-specific checklist
with a built-in mandate for change as user agents change, then the
checklist shouldn't be normative (because adding new requirements would
trigger the whole W3C process). But if the checklists aren't normative
then they aren't reliable bases for conformance claims.

<wringing of hands>

Is there an argument to be  made that redundant text links for image map
areas provide an accessibility benefit, e.g., for users with learning
disabilities? If so, I would find that a more convincing rationale than
the argument that user agents don't behave properly.

But I would be concerned about the impact of such a requirement where
there are large image maps with a considerable number of selectable
areas-- for example, a map of Europe or the United States.


"Good design is accessible design." 
Please note our new name and URL!
John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Accessibility Institute
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.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of David Dorward
Sent: Monday, April 05, 2004 12:38 pm
Subject: RE: Conformance Testing Proposal

On Mon, 2004-04-05 at 17:38, John M Slatin wrote:

> > As far as I know, most graphical browsers still have problems
> > representing image maps when images are disabled, even when suitable

> > alt text is present.

> Interesting, David. What kind of problems?

The "entirely unusable" kind of problems.

David Dorward                                 <http://dorward.me.uk/>
Received on Monday, 5 April 2004 14:07:18 UTC

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