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re:audio contrast

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 18:39:21 +0000 (UTC)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.60.0411011832030.2379@aristotle.multipattern.com>

I want hard proof that this is a true accessibility issue that can 
actually be remedied using today's technology on *Web sites*.

> Perhaps we should open this up again to the hard of hearing community
> because the 20dbs contrast is in my opinion going to be difficult to sell to
> many film makers etc.

It's completely bogus. Decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale. A 
convenient multiple of 10, like "20 dB," is obviously a random choice. In 
fact, this entire guideline was pulled out of thin air.

How can this Working Group prove that this arbitrary figure has any 
demonstrable benefit to the great mass of hard-of-hearing people?

You can't be dictating to authors what their sound mix must be. Next 
you'll be demanding 5.1 surround sound.

> In doing this exercise of making the examples, I realized that the concept
> of "audio contrast" may be something to take back to industry.

It represents an unreal and mythical concept, rather like "unicorn."

> I envision new media devices which will have audio contrast as a control 
> (like tone and bass). New media such as films etc. would deliver the 
> audio background separately from the audio foreground so the consumer 
> can adjust the contrast. (Of course this is outside the scope of our 
> work).

Well, that's great, really-- somehow encoding foreground and background 
signals on Web streams. I'm sure iTunes version 5.0 will handle that 
nicely. But then, it'll probably also ship with the iPod Telepathy Plug-in 
to eliminate sound altogether.

But what planet are we *really* living on here?


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
     Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Monday, 1 November 2004 18:39:28 UTC

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