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RE: [TECH] Possible CSS Technique for image-text

From: <Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 07:46:12 -0400
To: "'w3c-wai-gl'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OFD3E2BFE3.5782D595-ON85256EFD.003CD402-85256EFD.0040F7B3@notesdev.ibm.com>
However, I see two problems with the technique. First, the audience you 
create this technique for (high contrast users) tend to have large font 
settings. I once had a student that could only read web pages with a sans 
serif font of 60 pts or more. With font settings like these, your 
technique will fail. One of the fundamental concepts of an accessible 
website to me is that you do not make any assumptions about the user's 
settings. Any technique that doesn't hold up under these conditions should 
be reconsidered, I think. 

I am curious how people adjust the size in the browser?  In IE the only 
way I can find to adjust the text size beyond what I get by just switching 
Windows into high contrast mode is to create my own style sheet - am I 
missing some other technique?  Changing the display appearance in Windows 
does not give me the option to change the  default font size for 
applications.  Setting High contrast mode in Windows does set IE's font 
size to "largest" but this doesn't give 60 pts.   In Firefox I can set the 
default font size.   And, this technique will fail (there will be overlap 
of the character based heading with the paragraph text) unless I turn off 
CSS - then everything works okay.  Which to me seems like a reasonable 
work around? 

What _are_ the problems high contrast users face with images of text with 
ALT-text? It seems to me that turning the images off in your browser would 
render the ALT-text in your preferred font size, which would make them 
accessible for this group, or not? Or do you feel that this is too 
cumbersome to ask of a high contrast user? The reason I ask is that it 
would be a lot easier to understand for developers if the ALT-text 
technique covers all the accessibility problems of images of text for all 
the audiences.

Again I see browser issues with alt text.  If I turn off images in Firefox 
and Opera, the alt text is rendered in the preferred font size.  But, in 
IE it does not display in a larger size, thus making it difficult to read. 
 Also, I didn't assume that high contrast users would have images turned 
off - is that common?   My concern with using an image and alt text  for 
"graphical text" is that if high contrast users do not have images turned 
off, the image text may not be readable because of the colors used or the 
size of the image. 

Unfortunately,  I don't think we are ever going to be able to provide 
techniques that work in all browsers for all users with any settings.  So, 
I think providing a variety of techniques that work without modification 
in many settings is helpful.  And, it is important to note the caveats and 
known issues in different user agents for the techniques that we do 
provide.  I agree that just requiring alt-text on images is the simplest 
technique. But, for people wanting to create highly visual sites, this 
technique might help them to make it more accessible. 


Becky Gibson
Web Accessibility Architect
IBM Emerging Internet Technologies
5 Technology Park Drive
Westford, MA 01886
Voice: 978 399-6101; t/l 333-6101
Email: gibsonb@us.ibm.com
Received on Friday, 27 August 2004 11:46:46 UTC

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