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Re: Re: Debunking the need for "text-only" parallel sites

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 12:31:49 -0400
Message-Id: <199905211635.MAA16667@smtp-gw.vma.verio.net>
To: "Jeff Guillaume" <JeffG@PMI1.COM>, "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear Jeff,

I am, understandably, following this thread closely.  You raise valid
points in this post and the one earlier.  I am sorry to say that I don't
follow what you mean by that "the argument _against_ having a text-only
version is merely furthering my point".  To which point were you referring?

Do you have the luxury, as is the case with Microsoft, to generate ALL your
pages dynamically?  If not, could you describe what policies/procedures you
will be putting in place to ensure that your "non-graphical" [Is this a
better term than "text-only"] pages will be kept up to date?

Kynn (and others) will argue that HTML is not that hard -- and that
accessible HTML is hardly more difficult to learn (nor to teach) than
inaccessible HTML.  It really just involves a paradigm shift to realize
that the Web is NOT a print medium (it's an information medium).  Of
course, these gestalt changes are very difficult for some folks.

The real challenge is with people who, for whatever reason, are not willing
to learn HTML.  Creating WCAG 1.0 compliant pages with Microsoft or
Netscape (or Corel, or just about anybody else's) products IS (currently)
difficult (or even just not possible).

I would argue (and I think others on this list would agree) that by the
time a web author is learning tricks like hand-coding "spacer" GIFs s/he
can handle writing accessible HTML!

Bruce Bailey, DORS Webmaster

> From: Jeff Guillaume <JeffG@PMI1.COM>
> To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'
> Subject: RE: Debunking the need for "text-only" parallel sites
> Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 11:09 AM
> It seems as though the argument _against_ having a text-only version is
> merely furthering my point.  Of course it makes sense to have an
> automated system that will output the appropriate model of the page to
> each user (as in Microsoft's case).  But again, that is essentially a
> "text-only" copy.  I understand that a well-designed site in valid HTML
> using WAI recommendations is supposed to be accessible to all.  But this
> is my point (not for me, because I agree with most of you, which is why
> I subscribed to this list in the first place): most Webmasters don't
> have the time nor inclination to learn what they need to learn to make
> valid, accessible Web pages.  They've been doing it for so long that
> they slip into whatever works to make the page look good quickly and
> forget the rest.
> I _do_ have the time and inclination to learn how to do it right; I
> still am NOT designing valid pages yet, because I simply have more to
> learn.  However, this is the major pitfall of the whole issue (the crux
> of the problem, in Monty Python-ese).  Webmasters think that all these
> new Web regulations will make their job harder -- and I believe it
> will!!  That's the whole point.  They *must* learn how to do it right if
> they are going to design accessible pages.  And it WILL be harder, at
> first.  I know, because I'm one of those people!  An example follows in
> my next question...
> ------------
> Question #2:  And now for something completely different.
> I was going to separate this into an entirely different thread, but it
> relates to what I just said.  I have seen on numerous pages the use of a
> 1-pixel by 1-pixel transparent GIF to use as a spacer (especially in
> tables, but not exclusively).  I was just reading an article on c|net's
> Builder.com about how the use of <TABLE> has taken on a whole new
> purpose, one that it wasn't designed for.  Many people are using this
> 1-pixel transparent GIF to force a table to a certain width or height,
> or even just for color or design sake.  Go to http://www.voyager.net
> (search for pixel.gif in the source) for an example.
> This has been a perfect solution for designing a page to look the way
> you want (I've even used this method).  However, this is very bad for
> accessibility.  Yet another example of change that lots of Webmasters
> won't appreciate.
> Please don't misunderstand me, I am all for accessibility.  I'm just
> stating the plain fact that change is hard.  It will take a while for
> this to become successful.
> -------------
> Jeff

P.S.  I looked at the source code you cited.  It seems to me that the
author is using pixel.gif as a kind of <HR> and not as spacer per se.
Also, take a look at URL:
Which is exactly on target with your "Question #2".
Received on Friday, 21 May 1999 12:35:33 UTC

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