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Re: An elaboration of why plain text is still needed as an alternate format

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Tue, 08 Dec 1998 10:15:31 -0500
Message-ID: <366D4293.B598B40C@clark.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
CC: Jamal Mazrui <empower@smart.net>
I am familiar with screen readers and internet browsing.  I disagree with Jamal's
very first statement (and thus the premise he is working from).  I am hoping he
will elaborate on:

> There is not yet a Windows based HTML browser that provides efficient access to
> most screen readers.

What is wrong (i.e., non-efficient) with IE 3.02, NN 2.02 or 3.04 or Lynx 2.8?

> People with disabilities are often economically poor and not able to keep up with
> the latest
> hardware requirements.

With Henter Joyce giving away JAWS for DOS, I think consideration of the sub $200
PC market is quite relevant.  Free dial-up text-only access to the 'net via Lynx
(running on a remote server) would be the status quo for this market.

> It has been suggested that, even if one does not use a contemporary graphical
> browser, it is a trivial matter to use one to produce a good plain text rendering
> of the HTML page.

It has been suggested that this is a trivial matter with graphical browsers too.

> Unfortunately, I have not found this to be the case.

The problems Jamal describes are not consistent with my own experience.  (Aside
from desiring nested documents to be available as a single file, which is a
different issue altogether.)  What is wrong with the way Lynx saves html documents
as plain text on the local drive?

> This further indicates that rendering good plain text is a nontrivial matter
> which should not be assumed practical for the average user.

I would contend that computer literacy is a requirement for anyone (for economic
reasons or whatever) who is using a DOS-based machine.  Operation of Lynx via
telnet using a telecommunications package (like Procomm Plus or whatever) certainly
falls within the required skill set.  Use of the the HTMLSTRIP utility Jamal
recommends would not be difficult for such users, but not required.
Received on Tuesday, 8 December 1998 10:14:44 GMT

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