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Re: Accessible UI-- text-only or text-accessible?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 08:40:21 -0500 (EST)
To: Reidy Brown <rbrown@blackboard.com>
cc: "'EASI-ED3 EASI Online Workshop: Creating Accessible HTML'" <EASI-ED3@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU>, "'disacc@onelist.com'" <disacc@onelist.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0001090835430.638-100000@tux.w3.org>
If you rae creating an alternate page then I assue that it is becuase your
"primary" page is not accessible and you don't feel it can be made so. This
is a good thing to examine for a start, but let's assume you've thought long
and hard about that already for now...

If the alternate page is the accessible version of your site then it is
definitely not enough in nearly all circumstances to simply provide a
text-only version. This may (if done properly to include full equivalent
information, and updated carefully, and structured appropriately, and...) be
suitable for people who are blind. However unless you include the rest of the
features that make content accessible (navigation systems, images, simple
text, etc etc) you will quite possibly be excluding a number of people with
disabilities for every one for whom you improve access.

If you must use an laternate site to create accessibility, then it should be
as accessible as possible in general, and should include linkage back to the
"main version" throughout. (And should match the entire main version, not
just the first few pages).

Anyway, that's my tuppeny'orth...


Charles McCN

On Thu, 6 Jan 2000, Reidy Brown wrote:

  Here's an interesting question... if you are creating an alternate
  accessible interface, should it be a text-only interface, or a
  text-accessible interface?
  Is it better to use accessibility features that come along with some of the
  more sophisticated code (e.g. using tables so that you can identify row and
  column headers, using images with d-links, using audio with a transcript)?
  Or is it better to go with the lowest-common-denominator text-only version--
  so you don't have to worry about your table wrapping, for instance?
  Keep in mind that this is an "alternate" interface, so for example, if it
  did use tables, it wouldn't use parallel tables to format columns... but in
  visual browsers the text might wrap, which could cause problems with screen
  There are essentially two ways to play this-- do the simplest, safest (?)
  text version, or go with a slightly more developed version that could
  eventually be "spiffed up" with CSS... and (possibly) become the primary UI.
  (Please excuse the cross-posting-- you may want to reply just to me, or just
  to your listserv rather than hitting reply-to-all in your email software.)
  Reidy Brown
  Accessibility Coordinator/
  Senior Web Application Developer

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                    http://www.w3.org/WAI
21 Mitchell Street, Footscray, VIC 3011,  Australia (I've moved!)
Received on Sunday, 9 January 2000 08:40:25 UTC

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