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Re: Aie it's HUGE

From: Chris Kreussling <CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org>
Date: Tue, 08 Dec 1998 14:12:00 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: sweetent@home.com
Message-id: <s66d3406.095@ny.frb.org>
Claude: I share your concerns. I hope you don't mind that I'm responding to the group instead of just privately.

<author>Chris Kreussling</author> 
<disclaimer>The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System.</disclaimer>


>>> Claude Sweet <sweetent@home.com> 12/08 1:22 PM >>>
Is it not possible to have templates designed to be fully accessible
that other individuals could use FrontPage as a means of inserting
information?
<<<

Regardless of the tool, page templates or skeletons are not enough. Once the author begins to modify the page, they could easily remove the accessibility features which were built into the original template. The tool needs to apply accessible features as the page is edited. Accessibility considerations must be built into the tool.

>>>
My objective is the creation of a first class design with navigational
tools that would NOT require two different sets of pages. While I don't
have the expertise to presently write such code, I believe that this is
something that should be part of the Guidelines (standards).
<<<

It's definitely possible to create accessible pages and sites without requiring two (or more) different sets of pages. This is one of the educational challenges facing WAI and other efforts: Accessibility does *not* mean double the work! It does mean more design and analysis time up-front, but not a lot more. It does require ongoing consciousness and attention to the issues on the part of authors as they create new content and modify existing content. Like it or not, some people prefer to remain unconscious [g].

>>>
I doubt seriously that I can inspire teachers and students that they
must become experts in html accessible pages. More must be done to
facilitate the development of accessible materials without requiring
such html expertise. Failure to provide a lower entry level of expertise
will exclude 90% (in my opinion) of the existing non-commercial sites on
the web, especially educational site of k-6 schools.

Non-profit organizations and educational sites (especially grades K-6)
will be unable to participate in using the web if individuals are
required to become expert html code writers able to comply with
accessibility standards. 

Non-profit groups, especially smaller organizations depend on volunteers
and most will [not] have individuals who have such html expertise. School
teachers primary job is not writing html code. To expect them to obtain
such expertise is unrealistic and counter productive to efforts to
involve students in using the web as a means of communicating with other
classrooms as distance learning projects.
<<<

Unfortunately, there are no currently available tools which don't require HTML expertise on the author's part while producing accessible HTML. For example: HTML allows an author to provide alternate text for the areas of a mapped/hyperlinked image. If a tool assists the author in creating a mapped image, does it also support, nay urge, the author to add alternate text for each mapped area of the image?

FrontPage 98, specifically, fails in several regards. 
1) It doesn't support or recognize many accessibility-related HTML tags and attributes.
2) It automatically provides meaningless ALT text for images: the name of the file and its size.
3) Most egregiously, it modifys existing HTML to its own liking, destroying HTML which has been carefully crafted for accessibility. To protect HTML it must be "wrapped" in a special FrontPage tag, which renders it invisible in the visual editor! Using the mapped image example, the image can't be seen in the visual editor! An author could easily delete the entire image without even knowing they'd done so.
Received on Tuesday, 8 December 1998 14:31:10 GMT

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