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Re: The Root of Accessibility is Access (Was RE: alt text & punctuation - best practice?)

From: Steven Dale <sdale@stevendale.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 15:22:02 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <1064.129.174.36.179.1087932122.squirrel@www.stevendale.com>
To: <foliot@wats.ca>
Cc: <Kurt_Mattes@bankone.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

We are comparing apples and oranges when we compare printed media versus
the web.  The web is a different beast then the printed world and we need
to see this.  The fight to make the web like a printed page is waisting
valuable resources that the web could bring that magazines etc could
never.  One such asset is interactivity, how interactive is printed media?

I am not against printed media, my grandfather earned his living through
owning an ad agency.  But the idea of making the web an ad agency is not
where we should be heading.  Does it pay to advertise on the web? Heck
yes!  Should we advertise on the web?  Heck Yes!  Is the web all about
advertising?  Heck NO!

-Steve

>> > As a web page user, I would be glad not to have the ads.
>>
>> The love hate relationship of advertising.  We all hate them, unless
>> they bring us information about a product or service we are interested
>> in or would benefit from.
>
> And if a significant (measurable?) portion of the intended audience
> cannot access the message or information about said product or service?
> What then?
>
>> The advertising industry has a few decades
>> of maturity over the Internet.  If images with text were not
>> adding value to the
>> advertisement, the expense to create them would cause their demise.
>> Advertising is all about return on investment.
>
> And currently, web accessibility is, for the most part, still about
> education.  If we as a community can show the advertisers a better, more
> accessible way of communicating their message, thus producing a better
> return on the investment, should we not do so?  All to often the ads,
> especially those provided via third party agencies, are simply horrid in
> their implementation and delivery.  A case in point;  I am a frequent
> reader of a web site produced by a large print organization who also
> maintain a web version of their magazine.  Currently, the web site
> sports a right side image "ad", which undoubtedly Hewlett Packard is
> paying a measurable dollar for.  However, when using anything besides a
> mainstream visual browser, site visitors are served up the following
> morsel (as viewed in Lynx):
>
> <code>
>
> 	IFRAME:
> http://ad.doubleclick.net/adi/eweek.dart/home;ptile=1;sz=728x90;ord=38481867
> 32? [Link] [Link]
>
> </code>
>
> I cannot in any way understand how this would contribute to any ROI, any
> time, any place.  Further, should I at least be curious to follow that
> cryptic link to "see" what I might be missing, I am delivered to a
> second document with the sum total of:
>
> 	[Link] [Link]
>
> It is this type of behaviour that is still all too prevalent on the net.
> This is a mainstream, high volume web site I'm talking about, not Joe's
> Homepage and pictures of his cat.
>
>>
>> > However, if I am a bit more realistic, I realise that the
>> editorial only > exists because it is paid for by the ads.
>>
>> None of the ads on the sites I develop are paid placements.
>> Rather, they are designed to inform users about products and
>> services offered by the
>> corporation.  Yes, when customers partake in the offering, the
>> corporation does profit.  Last time I checked, corporations are
>> supposed to profit
>> from their offerings.  The world does not run on not-for-profit
>> companies.
>>
>> A clear majority of the visitors to these sites go for the information
>> about their finances.  I do not believe this would be considered
>> editorial content.  The benefit of the web for most banks is a
>> reduction in cost, not
>> an increase in gross revenue.  Cost reduction translates directly to
>> fewer fees paid by the customer - a benefit to all.  But advertising
>> is not the issue
>> here, graphics with text is.
>
> Correct.  And the point is, if you are using nothing but a "picture" on
> your site to try and sell or inform your users of a service, product, or
> any important concept or commercial offering, then you are short
> changing both yourself and your employer/client.  Just as the code
> snippet I provided above is short-changing Hewlett Packard.  Now if you,
> (or HP) are OK with the marginal group of users who might not receive
> the "message" that is being paid for missing out, well, that's a
> judgment call.  But please do not argue that it is acceptable within the
> greater accessibility argument.
>
>>
>> > Personally, if an advertiser fails to reach his audience
>> because he fails
>> > to use text, It doesn't worry me.  For me, ads on web pages are for
>> the benefit of the content provider, not the audience.
>>
>> Once again, unless the ad provides information about something you are
>> presently interested in or would benefit from.
>
> "IF" they know what they are being offered... it is a rare person who
> knows what they don't know.  And if you are unable to tell them, then
> they will remain un-informed.
>
> <snip>
>> As with the use of scripting, graphics with
>> words exist and will never be eliminated.  Shouldn't the goal be to
>> find a way to make them accessible?  Perhaps screen magnifiers should
>> render and enlarge alt
>> text.
>
> Or perhaps, as many on this list have attempted to do, educate others on
> why they *shouldn't* be doing some of the things they are currently
> doing.
>
> Just because *most* people are perpetuating a problem does not make it
> right.  There was a time when *most* people argued against wearing seat
> belts, offering up numerous "reasons" why they shouldn't have to wear
> them (which interestingly your reasoning for using image ads and client
> side script echo with an uncanny similarity...).  Where they right?
>
> You argue for maintaining essentially the status quo, others argue for
> advancing the general knowledge and improved accessibility for all...
> and not just for users of Adaptive Technology I might add.
>
> <rant>
> Just this week, I personally experienced 2 separate instances of poorly
> implemented development and reliance on client side scripting which
> prevented me from accessing content and/or completing a web based task.
>
> Issue 1 was with a "legal" music download site - www.puretracks.com -
> which is now licensed to provide music downloads to Canadians.  However,
> my current browser (Netscape 7.01) could not access the content of this
> site. As a matter of fact, the client side script was so mangled that
> instead I received the following error message:
>
> 	"Currently our website supports Internet Explorer 5.0 and above on the
> Windows operating system (Win 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP / 2003),
> 	and is available to Canadian residents only."
>
> 	"We value our Mac audience, however the Windows Media player for the
> Mac platform is not currently compatible with Microsoft protected audio
> content.
> 	Puretracks is currently working to make our service available to Mac
> users."
>
> HUH????  I don't own a Mac.  How can a music-for-money download site get
> away with this?  From my perspective they are already fighting an uphill
> battle thanks to the Kazaas and Limewires of the world, and yet they
> shovel out this?
>
> 	<meta content="JavaScript" name="vs_defaultClientScript">
>
> Good luck lads...
>
> ***
>
> Issue 2 was when I tried to order new cheques from my bank on-line.
> After completing the form I was invited to verify "what the cheque would
> look like" by clicking on a link.  Sadly, once again this site was
> "optimized" for the other browser.  Clicking on the link launched a
> pop-up window (yech) which used a collection of JavaScript and cruddy
> code to display a Java Applet.  But in Netscape 7.01 again (it *is* my
> default browser), I got nothing... bubkas, zilch, nada.  Thanks guys.
> </rant>
>
> Kurt, I respect what you are saying, that accessible sites cannot just
> be about black and white text.  But by the same token, we as
> professionals have a duty and responsibility to deliver; to our clients,
> to our intended audience, and to any and all who come to our sites in
> search of "something". And yes, this includes accessible advertising...
> That's Return on Investment.
>
> There will be those who will continue to pretend that it's OK, that
> client side scripting's "benefits" out-weigh their potential problems,
> that graphically based ads are acceptable to most and produce results
> most of the time.  But forward thinking professionals will seek instead
> to push the envelope, to try and deliver the pizzazz and punch that many
> have come to expect but will do so in accessible ways.  They will think
> outside of the box, try new ideas, fight for a better way, push, prod
> and plead.  The choice is there for all...
>
> JF
> --
> John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
> Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
> Web Accessibility Testing and Services
> http://www.wats.ca   1.866.932.4878 (North America)
Received on Tuesday, 22 June 2004 15:22:40 UTC

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