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RE: alt text & punctuation - best practice?

From: Lois Wakeman <lois@lois.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 17:21:14 +0100
Message-ID: <B0129868296@inetc134.inetc.net>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Thanks for the clarification Ian.

> I am mainly talking about proper headings, including those marked 
> as h1/h2 etc. I am not sure about alt text, but I suspect that the
> same consideration applies for having sensible pauses.

In that case, I guess usability and accessibility are rather at odds for an
audience using the browser without AT: one of the rules of usability is not
to do things differently from what people are used to. If I saw a web page
with full stops after all the headings, I'd be distracted by that fact
rather than reading the content, I think - since it is contrary to my
expectations.

Of course, if you could engineer a shift in everyone's house style, that
objection would go away.

> But doesn't most accessibility require a shift in
> practice? -  Structured headings and mark-up instead of font
> changes; meaningful links; using alt text; etc etc.

Agreed: but your examples are mostly specific to HTML and an enhancement to
the content for everyone, whereas general writing conventions (including
punctuation) apply equally to paper, PDF or whatever. 

And whether it is a good thing or not, I would guess that most people expect
the written word to use roughly the same conventions, whatever form it
takes. (Exceptions include chat rooms and SMS: but I am talking 'serious'
permanent content here.)

Lois Wakeman

--------------------------------
http://lois.co.uk
http://siteusability.com
http://communicationarts.co.uk
Received on Monday, 21 June 2004 12:23:01 UTC

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