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AW: Grey Text

From: P.H.Lauke <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2003 13:40:51 -0000
Message-ID: <3A1D23A330416E4FADC5B6C08CC252B97877CA@misnts6.mis.salford.ac.uk>
Cc: "WAI-IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Geoff Denning wrote:

>One thing we have to try and destroy is this myth that making a text
>only page addresses the accessibility concern.  That just shows the
>level of ignorance, that when you take markup our of a document, it
>renders it even more meaningless and inaccessible.  It's really dumbing
>things down.  

Exactly. So many sites I come across that proudly display their Betsie-based
text-only version, claiming that they're accessibility minded...
It gives the site owners a false sense of security. It's a stop gap solution at
best, and certainly does nothing for users with cognitive disabilities who
benefit from having additional auditory and/or visual information to complement
the pure text (and yes, Betsie will still not solve the problem of multimedia content
- text transcripts, captioning, etc). 
Even some 100% blind users that I have spoken to told me that they
do not usually choose to browse these text-only versions, and only use them as
a last resort when the actual "main" site turns out to be completely inaccessible.
Part of it is probably still the fear that the text-only version might be a cut-down
version that's out of date, not updated as frequently as the rest of the site (which
is admittedly a moot point when it comes to text-only versions that are generated
server-side on the fly, as with Betsie and its clones). Nevertheless, only a minority
of visitors benefit from text-only versions, and with properly coded sites these
become completely obsolete.

Getting back to the original thread starter: as Joe C already said, stylesheet switchers
and similar solutions are the way to go, for sure. Again, let's not dumb everything down
to the lowest common denominator, but work on solutions that degrade gracefully.

Patrick

Received on Saturday, 27 December 2003 08:40:57 GMT

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