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Re: alt text seen or not?

From: Kathleen Anderson <kathleen.anderson@po.state.ct.us>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 10:28:51 -0500
Message-ID: <045401bf635b$1bc91540$e924f79f@STATE.CT.US>
To: <webmaster@dors.sailorsite.net>
Cc: "'Web Accessibility Initiative'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
----- Original Message -----
From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
To: <kathleen.anderson@po.state.ct.us>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2000 9:53 AM
Subject: RE: alt text seen or not?

> Kathleen,
> Your quotation below did not alarm me at all when I first read it (in
> context) in your excellent article in print.
> > "Making a Web site accessible does not have to stifle its artistic
> > presentation or professional look. The design and presentation will not
> > suffer if you follow one simple rule: Create your site with text-only
> > pages first. When you are sure that it is complete and accessible, then
> > add the images and other design touches. Your site then will be
> > accessible to everyone."
> It now strikes me as dangerously counter productive because it reinforces
> the idea and practice of "text-only" pages.  If I were just starting out,
> would take this to mean that one should create the "disabled" page first,
> then move on to the "real" page, leaving the text-only page in place.

KA  - I am talking about creating one (1) page, containing the information,
in text or HTML format, that you want your users to have.
Once the page is done, and you are sure all the content is there, then add
whatever design touches you or your content provider wants (as long as they
don't impede accessibility) to the SAME PAGE.

I was not and am not advocating creating a text-only page, and then creating
a 'mirror' page with graphics.

The only time an alternate page should be created is  "If, after best
efforts, you cannot create an accessible page, provide a link to an
alternative page that uses W3C technologies, is accessible, has equivalent
information (or functionality), and is updated as often as the inaccessible
(original) page. "
Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

> would, of course, mean that the text-only page gets left in place even as
> the mainstream pages are evolving with new content and features.  My
> (flawed) thinking would very likely be something like:
> <Q>I have already done the work to create a "text-only" page, so I might
> well use it.  I don't want to have wasted my time or throw out anything.
> definition, "text-only" pages are accessible.  I've heard that the
> prefer text-only pages.  I don't want to risk messing anything up, so I
> leave a copy of that in place (and link to it), while now I work on the
> graphical page, which is really the only version I care about anyway!</Q>

KA - This is not my thought process at all.  I care most about the content
(information) being accessible, available, understood and comprehended by
anyone who visits our site.

> I wish you had written something like:
> "Create your pages without graphics, JavaScript, CSS, or other
> embellishments first.  When you are sure that they are complete and
> functional and include all the intended content, then add images and other
> design touches.  As long as you don't take anything out, your site will
> be accessible to everyone."

KA - Everyone has their own way of saying the same thing.

> N.B., The rule above would even cover the addition of an ALT-free image
> image map).  The evolved page might violate P1 WCAG checkpoints, but since
> the content is still there in a text-oriented modality, the page *would*
> still be accessible.
> With either version, the above advice does nothing to help authors
> understand what they have to do to MAINTAIN accessibility as existing
> get changed with new content and features.
> The point has been brought up on this list before that the term
> is ill-defined.  Probably, those of who understand the issues, should
> endeavor to avoid the term in favor of more explicit language -- unless we
> are saying "don't do it"!
> Just my 2.
> -- Bruce Bailey
Received on Thursday, 20 January 2000 10:29:46 UTC

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