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A few thoughts on alternative rendering

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 11:59:46 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <199809251859.LAA06464@netcom9.netcom.com>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
I've been thinking about the issue of where the alternative rendering of
the information is best handled.  In general, I believe for a number of
reasons that providing choices of alternative rendering via the browsers
is preferable for many blind users.

One reason is that blind users can change access technology without
needing to learn new ways that the information is going to be presented.
This means that a user has some more freedom to switch among acess

Having the browser provide alternative renderings reduces the problems
which can crop up when a blind person in the workplace or at school
needs to use the organization-chosen browser that is not well supported
by access technology.

More of the burden is on browser developers rather than access
technology developers.  My suspicion is that it is probably easier for
browser developers to "tweak" their software for alternative renderings
rather than teaching access technology about web pages because the
alternative renderings that are being asked are not that significant in
terms of complexity.

Having the browser handle alternative presentations avoids the lag
between versions of access technology handling changes to browser.

A browser providing alternative renderings does not prevent some access
technology from providing additional renderings if some specialize
segment needs them.

I'm not clear that there are very many reasons why alternative rendering
should not be done in browsers.

The first reason is that browser developers may not understand or seek
out what blind users need.

The second reason is why would browser developers go through any effort
to have their browser provide alternative arrangements?

An idea that came to mind is to include a statement in the guidelines
that browsers which do not include the specified alternative formats can
be considered to be inaccessible for many blind users.  This statement
could be used in a number of ways, e.g. legal action, 508, etc.

Received on Friday, 25 September 1998 14:59:49 UTC

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