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FWD: CHI-WEB: Amazon's version for the Visually Impaired

From: Denise Wood <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 21:52:48 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <3C1C4625@operamail.com>
I agree with David.

Providing an alternative version of the site is not the preferred solution. We
need to aim to provide one accessible site for all users. Developing an
alternative site is considered a fall-back, last resort solution in the W3C
guidelines. Here is the relevant section of the guidelines regarding
alternative versions:

11.4 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. [Priority 1] (Checkpoint 11.4)

Note. Content developers should only resort to alternative pages when other
solutions fail because alternative pages are generally updated less often than
"primary" pages. An out-of-date page may be as frustrating as one that is
inaccessible since, in both cases, the information presented on the original
page is unavailable. Automatically generating alternative pages may lead to
more frequent updates, but content developers must still be careful to ensure
that generated pages always make sense, and that users are able to navigate a
site by following links on primary pages, alternative pages, or both. Before
resorting to an alternative page, reconsider the design of the original page;
making it accessible is likely to improve it for all users. Refer this URL:
http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT-TECHS/#tech-alt-pages

The "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) page on W3C's "Web Content
Accessibility Guidelines 1.0" also refers to this in FAQ 8:

8. Why don't the guidelines recommend using text-only pages?
Text-only pages should not be necessary to ensure accessibility of Web pages
that follow the "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines," except in very rare
cases. In fact, text-only pages are frequently counterproductive to
accessibility since they tend to be kept less up-to-date than "primary pages,"
or in some cases leave out information that is on primary pages.

Many sites that have made a commitment to accessibility in the past have used
text-only pages as a solution; however, by following these guidelines it
should be unnecessary in almost all cases, or even inadvisable, to set up and
maintain a separate set of text-only pages.

So in summary, while it is commendable that Amazon have at least developed a
Web site that is more accessible, this should have been a consideration for
the main site rather than as a second-best alternative.

Denise

-------------------------------------------
Denise

Dr Denise L Wood
Lecturer: Professional Development (online teaching and learning)
University of South Australia
CE Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Ph:    (61 8) 8302 2172 / (61 8) 8302 4472 (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
Fax:  (61 8) 8302 2363 / (61 8) 8302 4390
Mob: (0413 648 260)

Email:	Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au
WWW:	http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?Name=Denise.Wood
Received on Thursday, 13 December 2001 21:53:20 GMT

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