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Varied answers Re: Color Contrast (Minimum) Level AA requirement for "Photography" image

From: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 14:02:28 +0200
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.y7bs2ebmftbnq3@desktop-kurf4r9.home>
I have now seen three different apparently different replies, based on  
three different *assumptions* (or apparent assumptions) about how the  
image is being used.

One thing this makes clear is that context is important - the way you are  
using this image has a significant impact on what you need to do to ensure  
accessibility. Providing a version of the page in which the image was used  
might have been more helpful in getting consistent answers.

The differences in suggestions for "alt text" are entirely due to the  
different assumptions about the use of the image - each explanation makes  
sense for the underlying assumptions.

Looking beyond the differences, there are some common parts to the answer.  
Richard, Patrick and I all note, in different words, that if you want the  
text that is in the image to be accessible, you should ideally put it on  
the page *as text*, whether additional to the graphic or replacing the  
graphic with its background image. And as Richard notes, you may want to  
keep the brochure image with its text to help recognition of the physical  

(more below)

On Fri, 29 Sep 2017 11:10:24 +0200, Userite <richard@userite.com> wrote:

> The image that you are using is a photo of a brochure that exists in the 
> physical world. You do not need to make any changes to the image as it  
> shows thereal thing.  You DO NOT need to change the image at all to make  
> itaccessible.  What you do need to do is include an alternative text 
> attribute to the code that loads the image so that makes the photo  
> accessible.
> A suitable text alternative would be “Summer Caribbean holiday 
> brochure”.  The fact that the brochure text is not complying with the 
> guideline is not relevant in this case.  You are showing your visitor  
> whatthe brochure looks like so they can recognise it in a shop.  The  
> image isnot being used to present textual information.  You should write  
> the texton the brochure elsewhere on the page if you want users to know  
> what thebrochure text says.

> Guideline 1.4.3 refers to when you make an image of text that you then  
> wantto use to impart information.  For example if I want to have a fancy 
> “Welcome” message at the top of my page then I can make an image of the  
> word“Welcome” using Photoshop with some really exciting font effects.   
> In thiscase I need to employ good colour contrast because I want the  
> visitor to be ableto read the message and feel welcome.   What your  
> image is showing isa brochure, not textual information.

> Remember that the guidelines are just guidelines.  You need to make a 
> value judgement as to what guideline is relevant.

To the extent that WCAG is written well, it is a technical specification,  
and the success criteria are in fact requirements that need to be met if  
you are going to ensure your content is accessible.

Like most technical specifications, it is not perfect - and like most  
technical specifications it is fair to expect the next version, which is  
under development, will be better but also not perfect.

> To do this you shouldread and understand the supporting documentation.   
> If you go to  
> https://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-UNDERSTANDING->WCAG20-20051123/Overview.html#visual-audio-contrast10 
> for information about 1.4.3 and you will see that it is not relevant in  
> yourcase.

I'm not sure that I would draw that conclusion, since I don't have enough  
context to clearly judge the case. But I agree that it is important to  
look at the supporting documentation - and even more importantly to think,  
and consider what is happening when a user is faced with the content you  



Chaals is Charles McCathie Nevile
find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Friday, 29 September 2017 12:02:55 UTC

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