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

From: Nick Traenkner <nick@kentinfoworks.com>
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 15:03:30 -0400
Message-ID: <3745AE01.79E4B593@kentinfoworks.com>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
CC: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Kynn Bartlett wrote:

> It's another issue, too.  I (and others) maintain that properly
> done HTML means accessible HTML, and that means no need for a
> text-only copy.

And of course browsers which support the mechanisms available to make work
those pages which require no text-only views. While they are getting better, I
am (as I am sure many here are) disillusioned by the progress of both
Microsoft and that other company that I can't remember at the moment (started
with an N I think...). I am sure this has a lot to do with the fact that
although it seems old hat to me, HTML4 and CSS etc... are young
reccomendations.

But this is a real problem right now- some (business) clients demand hacked
HTML- in this case, text-only looks like a good solution, especially if you
can do it without duplication. They aren't concerned that the AOL 3.0 browser
that doesn't support CSS will render a page readable- they're concerned that
it will render the page "ugly"- image is very important to them (though I do
fight against 'marketing creep' as much as possible, in favor of accessible
information).

> Three words:  "Separate. But. Equal."  You will people who very
> strongly consider the idea of "ghettoization" of the disabled to
> be a worse sin than inaccessible pages.  While I am not quite so
> dogmatic about this, I can certainly see the point and I think
> there is an implicit assumption that "disabled folks cannot use
> the web as well as others can, therefore we need to make special
> accomodations for them" and that is insulting when in reality,
> NO SPECIAL ACCOMODATIONS ARE NEEDED, JUST PROPER APPLICATION OF
> HTML IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

This is not so much a usability issue then as it is a political issue (not to
imply political = not important). By offering a text-only view of a site, you
are creating information ghettos. Interesting point- one I would not have
considered, being disability-impaired. My view is that until everyone supports
the proper application of HTML/CSS special accomodations may be neccessary for
those web authors who must work within the constraints of a customer with
high-visibility (actually the trick is getting them to constrain themselves).


> Sorry for raising my voice.

No problem, just as long as the voices aren't so loud that no one hears what
is being said.

-nick
Received on Friday, 21 May 1999 15:03:36 GMT

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