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Re: Alt is not a description (was Re: when to use longdesc for images)

From: david poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 13:05:50 -0500
Message-ID: <000a01c4e787$b5dda6e0$6401a8c0@DAVIDPC>
To: Léonie Watson <lw@nomensa.com>, "Patrick Lauke" <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

yep, and if I am dialing in via voice phone and listening to the site, I 
would certainly like it if a way could be provided for me to hear the 
information as I have no screen at all to work with.  I always try to find a 
par way to approach these things since it's the technology that is disabled 
and not the person.

Johnnie Apple Seed

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Léonie Watson" <lw@nomensa.com>
To: "Patrick Lauke" <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 12:26 PM
Subject: Re: Alt is not a description (was Re: when to use longdesc for 
images)



Patrick Lauke wrote:-
    "Again, the question here really is: what purpose do all the decorations
and other visual cues have? Is it really that relevant to a blind user
to know that the typeface used is Helvetica Neue rather than Cooper Black,
that it's all soft pastels rather than day-glo primary colours, if the
relevant associations and emotional responses that these visual cues were
used for are also present, in different form, in other parts of the
page/site?"

    If the blind person has a visual recollection of what helvetica looks
like, as opposed to any other type face, then they can bring this to mind to
appreciate the look and feel that the designer intended.

    A site displayed in pastel shades evokes a specific atmosphere, which is
relevant whether the page is being looked at or imagined in a person's mind.

    Of course, if the emotional cues can be found elsewhere, then it may not
be as desireable to have access to these elements, but if they are not
expressed anywhere else, and I don't know of many sites that provide a text
based description of their logo and branding, then being able to appreciate
this information indeed has a value.


    Many screen readers can already pick up much of this information,
particularly regarding type face, text colour and so forth. Graphics are of
course a different matter. If a description of what Andy called 'mood
setting images' is provided by the designer, it leaves the choice with the
user as to whether they stop and listen to it or not.

    The point being that just because a person is blind doesn't mean to say
they can't visualise and that is a choice they should be given.


    An example of where this access to visual information is important, but
sadly missing, is at the CSS Zen Garden:
http://www.csszengarden.com//

    Although many of the visual effects are held in the background rather
than in the content itself, the point remains that it is not possible to
appreciate the ethos and atmosphere projected by each design if you are
visually impaired.

    The relevance of visual information will naturally vary from site to
site and person to person, but the notion that visually impaired people are
not interested in imagery is simply not the case across the board.

Léonie.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Patrick Lauke" <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 2:56 PM
Subject: RE: Alt is not a description (was Re: when to use longdesc for
images)


>
>> From: Léonie Watson
> [...]
>>     Not all visually impaired people have always been that way. An
>> appropriate alternate description of a decorative image can
>> conjur up a
>> picture as desireable
> [...]
>>     If the image of the house serves no purpose, then it
>> probably shouldn't
>> be there. If it serves the purpose of adding colour and vivacity to a
>> document, then there is absolutely no reason why both sighted and non
>> sighted users shouldn't participate in that emotive aspect.
>
> Taking this to the extreme, though, visually impaired users may then
> also want to know what typeface is used for headings, body copy, etc, what
> colours, what patterns, what type of layout, etc
>
> Again, the question here really is: what purpose do all the decorations
> and other visual cues have? Is it really that relevant to a blind user
> to know that the typeface used is Helvetica Neue rather than Cooper Black,
> that it's all soft pastels rather than day-glo primary colours, if the
> relevant associations and emotional responses that these visual cues were
> used for are also present, in different form, in other parts of the
> page/site?
>
> Debatable, and it would strongly depend on exploring *why* users are
> coming
> to a particular site (compare a bank website versus an art site, for
> instance).
>
> Anyway, my GBP0.02
>
> Patrick
> ________________________________
> Patrick H. Lauke
> Webmaster / University of Salford
> http://www.salford.ac.uk
>
Received on Tuesday, 21 December 2004 18:06:24 GMT

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