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RE: Okay, I'm stuck here.

From: Jon Hanna <jon@spinsol.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 11:52:06 +0100
To: "WAI Interest Group" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hash: SHA1

> What's the goal?  Is it "accessibility", is it "accessibility
> and usability", and for what audiences?  Are you shooting for
> WCAG compliance (at what level), 508, or just best practices?

It's not something I'm dealing with at the moment, but it has come up
in the past and I started thinking about it after coming across a
site like that while using Lynx. 508 doesn't affect me (I'm in
Ireland), generally I am given a site to build and want to make it as
accessible and usable as possible to as many people as possible
because then I feel I've done my job well.

> What sort of server-side solutions do you have available to
> employ?

Lets say none, as most of the sites I have the most control over
(i.e. it's me who makes the call in how an issue like this is dealt
with) are no-budget non-profits I do voluntarily rather than the
sites I do professionally (were I generally write server-side code
and nothing else) and often no server-side control is available. Also
this is largely hypothetical and I just find client-side solutions
more interesting :) However, don't let that stop you suggesting good
server-side solutions.

> I'm not being a smart-ass here.  The issues related to web
> accessibility have advanced quite a deal beyond simply "put alt
> text in images" and there are a lot of questions that need to be
> answered as background before a "good answer" can be formulated.

Yes. What intrigued me about this problem when it occurred to me was
that it's somewhere where "put alt text in images" becomes

To reply to two mails in one, Jamie Mackay wrote:

> I might be misreading this, but if the image 'adds "value" or 
> comprehension
> to
> the text' then surely the image should be described in the alt tag,
> and if necessary, with  D and  Longdesc links, otherwise those not
> viewing the image are missing out on this added value?

Lets say (hypothetically) that all images here add value as images
only. E.g. you have an news article about something the US President
does in relation to Ireland (making my example relevant both to me
and the US citizens on this list :)
Now if I have a photograph of the US President near that article it
adds value to an image-using user by orientating them towards that
article if they are interested in politics and by adding a sense of
authority to the article (people are much more likely to belief what
you say about someone if you stick a photo of them next to were you
say it).
For a non image-using user there isn't a real alternative to this
image. The facts of the article they still get from the text. The
user will probably either already know what the US president looks
like, or are blind. Indeed once an image-using user has started
reading the article the image has done its job, and is somewhere
between a functional image (which should be given and ALTernative for
non image-users) and a purely decorative image (which only has value
for image-users).

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Received on Wednesday, 18 April 2001 06:50:47 UTC

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