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Re: QED & Marshall McLuhan

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999 19:11:57 -0400 (EDT)
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9906091859580.21068-100000@tux.w3.org>
Sorry for posting such a long trail of stuff, but I think it is worth reading
if you haven't yet.

A couple of points:

in the guidelines, 14.2 says "supplement text with graphic or auditory
presentations where they will facilitate comprehension of the page". But it
is priority 3 - something that may be done to improve accessibility.

Anne is suggesting that this is a priority 1 requirement - something that
must be done to remove an accessibility barrier. I will take this suggestion
to the guidelines working group.

In regards to tables, the use of them to do layout causes a number of
problems for general accessibility. (The use of Publisher causes some more
fundamental ones, like turning some text into images and therefore making it
inaccesible to screenreaders, some simple but common kinds of magnification,
text-highlighting software, etc.) The problems fall into two kinds - the fact
that current technology does not cope well with tables used to lay out text
(or anything else, but the use of them for data is less problematic), and the
fact that the use of tables for layout is a big factor blocking the use of
CSS for layout, and therefore making it much harder to get the other benefits
that wide use of CSS would bring. Table layout and CSS layout are more or
less incompatible, although a very good CSS engine and a bit of work would
mean that tables used for layout would work about as well as they do now. It
is also possible to rewrite layout tables into CSS.

Charles McCN

On Wed, 9 Jun 1999, David Poehlman wrote:

  anne, thank you.  I keep forgetting to publish on the list because my
  reply default is to the sender the way the list is set up.  Tables are
  for tabular datta according to the w3c.  does this help?  Microsoft is
  often in error when it comes to the standards.  look at the use of
  frames in front page for everything.  as for graphics, one of the
  things  that the guidelines attempt to defer is the use of graphics
  without meaningful information being made available to people who
  cannot process them for what ever reason.  It is assumed and perhaps
  rongly so that people are going to design graphics into their pages. 
  I don't know what a meaningful graphic would be in the case of
  describing a lengthy process for something say philosofical.  I know
  there are charts and data flow instruments and much information can be
  conveyed by images with short labels, but getting many of the verbal
  constructs across with graphics seems out of reach to me.  I'd propose
  this.
  
  expand the scope to read something like:
  "ensure that pages are as readable/processable as possible to
  ......and those with special processing needs.
  guidelines:
  1> illustrate pages with meaningful graphics and symbology. (this
  should be done in such a way as to allow for comprehention of the page
  without reading the text on the page by individuals who are totally
  graphically oriented).
  2> use multimedia whereever possible to either speak the text of a
  page or sho a demonstration which in an animated way explains the text
  on the pages. (this gets at those with limitations of atention, focus
  and other types of cognative processing which may interfere with
  visual processing).
  Note:
  Making pages comprehensible after all is what we really hope to
  achieve.  providing these curbcuts and doing a good job of it may well
  assist many of the rest of us as the medium and the environment evolve
  to a more real time paradigm much the way tv is now or trafic flow.  I
  see this as moving to a situation where we will get our information
  entertainment, instructions and assistance all from one bag connected
  permenantly and irrevocably to a network, we wil be exploring our
  world more and more through this filter.  If in this process, we
  should look away for a second, we don't want to miss something
  critical.  This then that I propose will help to ensure less data
  loss.
  
  Anne Pemberton wrote:
  > 
  > At 05:18 PM 6/8/1999 -0400, David Poehlman wrote:
  > >tables are for datta.  any other use of tables according to the
  > >general html4.0 spec is incorrect.
  > 
  > To make something "incorrect" that is both useful and accommodating seems
  > to be shooting the horse before it runs the race. Perhaps the problem is in
  > the understanding of "data", and I may be assuming you have a more narrow
  > interpretation of "data" than indeed you do. When it creates web pages, MS
  > Publisher 98 makes extensive use of tables automatically to control the
  > placement of text on the page.
  > 
  > We have not achieved accessibility
  > >yet we are far from it and having evaluated all that has been said
  > >here, I still raemain confused as to what needs doing with
  > >guidelines.  One of the things that is stated through out the
  > >guidelines is that pages be easy to use.  this can take many forms.  I
  > >am not interested in two worlds separate but equal a blind getto but
  > >what you proppose may just set us on that path.
  > 
  > Whether the ghetto ends up being for the blind, or the cognitively limited
  > seems in question. I don't want anyone relegated to a ghetto, and hope a
  > way can be found to include everyone.
  > 
  > As to the guidelines, just saying that pages be "easy to use" is
  > insufficient. How is a page, or navigation control "easy to use" if it is
  > presented only in text and lacks a graphic that indicates what's what? It
  > isn't, yet the guidelines don't guide a webmaster to specifically include
  > "meaningful graphics" at the times and places where they are needed. Most
  > folks with cognitive limitations are accommodated when "meaningful
  > graphics" are used to illustrate the text. Most of them can read some text
  > - it is only the extreme of the group that cannot access text at all.
  > 
  > Something must be
  > >done like it is being done on the end with assistive technology for
  > >other disabilities to make this happen.  when you have technology that
  > >needs addressing, perhaps special tags or concepts of coding can be
  > >addressed in the form of guideline proposals.  I will be as concrete
  > >in my education of people as I can on these and other issues but I've
  > >not much to go on here.
  > 
  > Thank you. That is a good start. Make sure folks know that "meaningful
  > graphics" are NEEDED by some users, and extremely helpful to many others
  > just as alt tags are NEEDED by some users and helpful to others.
  > 
  >                                 Anne
  > 
  > Anne L. Pemberton
  > http://www.pen.k12.va.us/Pav/Academy1
  > http://www.erols.com/stevepem/apembert
  > apembert@crosslink.net
  > Enabling Support Foundation
  > http://www.enabling.org
  
  -- 
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  Voice: 301.949.7599
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  ---sig off---
  

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Wednesday, 9 June 1999 19:11:59 GMT

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