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Re: QED & Marshall McLuhan 4 points regarding 'a simple issue'

From: jonathan chetwynd <jonathan@signbrowser.free-online.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 16:06:28 +0100
Message-ID: <001701beb677$7ec425e0$d37838d4@omnibook1>
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>, "Ann Navarro" <ann@webgeek.com>
Cc: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> The guidelines that prescribe ALT text for images provide a mechanism for
> content to be delivered -- the process of understanding that content takes
> place after access to it.

Alt tags materially effect content, without them a blind person does not
receive content, unless perhaps you argue that they do. Hardly then

Similarly providing different sites for different browsers effects content.
Also screen size, frames, soundcard, directX, real audio, macromedia, VRML,
just about any difference in computer facility is catered for to some
degree, all providing substantially different content.

Even Gifs and jpegs are substantially different, even one might suggest as
different as a thesis and a child's story. the one requiring considerably
more interpretation in normal use, though providing far less information.

It is merely that having progressed beyond childish things we imagine we
have understood them. How misguided, one only has to read contemporary
authors, such as Marina Warner or Angela Carter, to realize how little we
know about storytelling.


> What's at issue is when is it appropriate to provide "simplified" versions
> of content, or significant page weight in images and multimedia content to
> meet the needs of individuals who don't really have the cognitive ability
> to manage the material.

You surely would not suggest that people with LD should be deprived their
vote, even though they have a limited capacity to understand the issues. We
all only get to make a mark in any case, hardly a sophisticated
Which person would say they understood all the issues and that
their vote is infallible, a fool perhaps.

Responsible Web builders need to enable, and providing accessible materials
for non-readers is only a start.
W3C should be setting an example.
Children need to know about these problems, they effect us all.

Bridge building might not teach one the tensile strength of materials, but
it is considered a suitable means of initiating interest.
Expressing the concern "Will a blind person enjoy visiting you site?"
communicates the intention if not the method (yet).


> The reason that the WAI guidelines have been successful so far is that
> DON'T require catering to the lowest common denominator. Requiring
> simplified text in inappropriate situations is a quick way to kill that
> success.

If this was suggested, it was not by me. I understood the WAI produced
recommendations, not requirements.
I strongly object to your comments about lowest common denominator.
In general the whole population would benefit from beng able to select
material at a level they desired, providing it was easy to do.

> the Green Bay Packers football team must have an image of a football

I would be very surprised if their site did not have a picture of a ball, in
fact most sports sites are accessible, many even having animated games
designed for them. These were never requirements, they are marketing.
W3C is missing the boat on this one, in my opinion, not worth a lot

The reason our site has very small gifs is that we are attempting to provide
a means of searching on the www. This precludes providing streaming (linked)
wonderful graphics and sounds, just now.  A small budget would help.


As far as proposals for recommendations I append these again, having not
seen anything better:

> Four suggestions, first two for now, then two for later.
> individual markers:
> Authors that consider the content of their site to be primarily graphical,
> are advised to provide an icon to be used by third parties as a link to
> site.
> meta markers:
> These authors are further advised that an icon (with link) of their
> indicating a topic area should be provided.
> photos:
> Could HTML incorporate an image tag indicating that the content was
> free?
> links:
> It would be helpful if links indicated whether they were to content of a
> similiar type.
> It is important to be aware that image producers would want to retain
> copyright in case their images were used in a grossly defamatory way. To
> have offending sites removed from the www where possible.
> Obviously problems arise where people post the images of others as their
> own. This is common to all media.

Browsers might then provide a visual history and my current site would be


Please send us links to your favourite websites.
Our site www.peepo.com is a drive thru.
When you see a link of interest, click on it.
Move the mouse to slow down.
It is a graphical aid to browsing the www.
We value your comments.
Received on Monday, 14 June 1999 11:11:47 UTC

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