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Re: city of hartford site has a text only?

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 14:40:16 -0500
Message-ID: <3880CD1F.74092E54@clark.net>
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: kathleen.anderson@po.state.ct.us, David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>, webmaster@ci.hartford.ct.us
Dear Group,
I put up a version of the "City of Hartford" web page that looks identical
to the original, but is also accessible.  It can be found at URL:
I agree that it could be improved with redundant text navigation links and
robust use of style sheets.  I did not feel like doing much work, and I
wanted to keep my version very close to the original.  Bobby reports as
many P2 and P3 warnings for the original "accessible" version
(http://ci.hartford.ct.us/accessible/) as it does for my "designed for
everybody" page.

I think this is a good example of how very counter productive is the
implementation of "text only parallel sites" (when content is not generated
dynamically).  A casual inspection will show that persons who choose the
the "Text Only Version" are not offered links to "Go Hartford", "The City",
and the "Connecticut Colony Charter of 1622".  A little more surfing
reveals that many of the links go to "Text Only Versions" of other pages
and sites and that these are equally deficit when compared to their
original versions.  The most glaring omission I noticed was that
"accessible" contact page lacked the capacity of an anonymous feedback
mechanism (the "mail free" contact form on the regular pages does not work
with Lynx).

Maybe people have the best intentions.  I don't know how patient we should
be with that.  I do remember that in the early days of the ADA, some shop
owners, who were committed to doing the right thing, cheerfully poured
concrete over a back set of stairs.  They did not seem to appreciate that a
30 degree ramp was of no use to someone who used a wheelchair.  Did they
deserve credit?

Accessibility is not difficult, but you do have to learn html.  Kathleen,
please let your folks know that they are working too hard (writing each
page twice) and still not meeting their objectives.  They should be working
smarter, not longer.  FrontPage is fine for laying out a page and creating
image maps, but it does not create VALID html.  One must go through the
code by hand and clean it up so that it is syntactically correct.  Probably
99% of pages that validate as HTML 4 meet the the P1 checkpoints of the

Some people have gotten the message that Text Only equals Accessible.  This
harms our cause.  As it has often been discussed here, there is little
correlation and no causality relationship between the two.  It is for good
reason that the WCAG explicitly advises against the practice.

Bruce Bailey
web master for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Division
of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

Kathleen Anderson wrote:

> I'm not sure what you mean by 'necessary', but, until user agents
> support alt tags for the hotspots in client-side image maps, or until
> the City eliminates the image map altogether, I believe he did the
> reasonable thing. Also, you should know that the webmaster who made this
> change does not author the entire site. Some portions are subwebs
> maintained by other city departments.
> This is one of the group that visited our test center, they came away
> very committed to making their site accessible.
> David Poehlman wrote:
> > can someone tell me if this should have been necessary?
> > Thanks, url below.
> > http://ci.hartford.ct.us/
Received on Saturday, 15 January 2000 14:43:43 UTC

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