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Re: Proposal for 3.4 Success Criteria

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2001 21:32:18 -0400 (EDT)
To: Joe Clark <joeclark@contenu.nu>
cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0108042109060.29829-100000@tux.w3.org>
On Sat, 4 Aug 2001, Joe Clark wrote:

  These lists of highly specific defined terms and cases are ridiculous
  and entirely unhelpful.

Are you suggesting that it is clear to people already what content needs to
be illustrated and what doesn't, or that the whole enterprise is impossible
at any level and that there is therefore no point in trying?

  If you demand illustrations, "concrete
  concepts" (an oxymoron) are not the only thing requiring illustration.

Correct. Perhaps you could enlighten us by explaining what other things
require illustration.

  The entire enterprise of selecting just these terms here and there as
  a focus, and the even more risible attempts to define them, bring the
  Guidelines into disrepute. It is absurd to provide this level of
  specificity.

I suspect we haven't got the balance correct yet. On the other hand, your
comments below would suggest that without a bit more specificity people will
do some fairly unhelpful things for lack of understanding.

  >* When referencing sounds, link to a clip of the sound.

  This too has not been thought out properly as it applies to
  real-world Web sites. Apart from issues of programming complexity,
  server load, authoring-tool rights, and simple common sense, here's a
  question for you:

  If I write about "Vasoline" by the Stone Temple Pilots, do I have to
  provide a 3 MB MP3 of that song on my piddling little server with its
  piddling little bandwidth?

(Aside: the size of your personal equipment doesn't make much difference to
the needs of other people - although it obviously has an impact on your
ability to provide for those needs. In a perfect world people would have all
the resources they nneed to produce accessible content, but it is beyond the
scope of this group to decide how to solve problems of resource allocation,
such as what constitutes an undue burden.)

Well, that is approximately the equivalent of providing the following alt
text for the W3C logo that appears on each page:

  The World Wide Web Consortium's logo. It consists of the letter "W"
  (capitalised) kerned with the numeral 3, both in a sky blue colour, and
  followed by the letter "C" (also capitalised) which is presented as a white
  letter over a black letter slightly displaced to give a sort of shadow
  effect on the white background of the logo. The "W3C" is centred, taking
  approximately one third of the space, and is followed by a small (about one
  quarter font size) symbol that this is a registered mark - in this case the
  symbol of a capital letter "R" enlosed in a circle, in black. The font used
  for all characters is SomeFont, and the top and bottom borders of the image
  are thin black lines.

(If you would have provided an alt text like that for a logo, please don't.
It is appropriate for a long description, but inappropriate for an alt).

Perhaps your writing skill is sufficient to convey the musical feel of the
song "Vasoline" (I presume it is spelled like that to avoid infinging a trade
mark), but in general there will be many people who will be much better able
to convey a sense of the music by including a short excerpt. My advice would
be that they should use a fairly low quality version to ensure a small
download is required. I also recognise that not everyone is going to make the
effort to make their content accessible, but it is helpful if we describe how
they should proceed if they do want to make that effort, and what groups of
people will not be able to use their content if they don't.

It seems that we need to work out how to provide fairly specific advice, just
as we needed to do in the case of text equivalents, if we are hoping that
your hypothetical misunderstanding is to be avoided.

Cheers

Charles
Received on Saturday, 4 August 2001 21:32:21 GMT

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