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1.3.2 (don't only use color)

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 14:04:51 -0400
Message-ID: <CCDBDCBFA650F74AA88830D4BACDBAB50B2D4D4D@wdcrobe2m02.ed.gov>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Apologies for not picking up on this sooner.  If the rational for the change is available, I could much appreciate a URL.  I do not see this discussed in the Wiki.

The current (27 April 06) version:
1.3.2 Any information that is conveyed by color is also visually evident without color.

Actually closely follows WCAG 1.0 (2.1: Ensure that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.) but to a fault, as it has the same flaws.

Consider using bold or italics to indicate required fields on a form.  This satisfies both the success criteria / checkpoint, even though such a technique is really *not* sufficient for someone using a screen reader.

The previous version was a little better:

1.3.2 When information is conveyed by color, the color can be programmatically determined or the information is also conveyed through another means that does not depend on the user's ability to differentiate colors. 

Both the (current) 1.3.2 and WCAG1 GL 2.1 suffer from the same problem that the How To Meet examples get to the intent, but not the literal wording of the standard.

Ensuring that color encoded information is also available in text.
Including a text cue whenever color cues are used.

The identified Common Failure also gets at the intent, but not the literal wording of the standard:

Failure of SC 1.3.2 due to having a text alternative that does not include information that is conveyed by color in the image.

Now, if something like font-based effects (besides color) is used to convey information (like required fields) we can get to that from L1 SC 1.3.1, Information and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined, and notification of changes to these is available to user agents, including assistive technologies.  But that is a lot of work to notice which form labels are bolded (for example) and really the same level of effort as is needed to reveal which form labels are in red.

Is color really that distinct from other superficial visual effects that it warrants its own success criteria?

Is using a font-change (but not a color change) to provide information caught by anything other than SC 1.3.1?

Should 1.3.2 be rolled into 1.3.1?  (Given the timing, I am sure the answer is no.  But I am troubled by an SC that is meant to help people with visual deficits requiring a visual, not a textual, alternative.)
Received on Monday, 15 May 2006 18:05:13 UTC

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