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RE: Are Small Text buttons level 2 compliant

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 09:23:37 -0400
Message-Id: <4.3.2.7.2.20000927090406.00c85df0@pop3.concentric.net>
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>, "Poehlman, David" <David.Poehlman@usmint.treas.gov>, "'Kynn Bartlett'" <kynn@idyllmtn.com>, "'Kynn Bartlett'" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, WAI ER group <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>, WAI UA group <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
Some people are saying that it's OK to have small text in an image because 
the user can use a screen magnifier.

However, it's better to use HTML text, and let the user control the size, 
font, and color of the text directly, instead of using images text and a 
magnifier.  It's not just preference, convenience or even cost.  HTML text 
is a better accommodation for low vision, and has additional advantages 
when the user has motor or cognitive disabilities.

Note that this lets people who need small text to use it, while letting 
other folks enlarge the text.

I addressed this earlier, but unfortunately this discussion has gotten 
spread among so many lists that not everyone in the current discussion saw 
my answer [1] Here's the problem with screen magnifiers compared to HTML text.

1. When you use a screen magifier, you have to scoll left and right in 
addition to up and down, because  the screen expands into a virtual space 
larger than your screen.  If the screen itself has a scrollbar, you're 
using two scrolling mechanisms.  This significanttly adds difficulty in 
terms of keystrokes and in terms of "knowing where you are".  It's a 
signficant problem for anyone, and is even more of a difficulty for someone 
who has a motor or cognitive impairment.

On the other hand, if you design a page right, when you have real text and 
let the user enlarge fonts, the text simply wraps at the right margin and 
you don't run into this problem.  All you have to deal with is the vertical 
scrollbar on the regular window.

2. With a screen magnifier and image text, user is no longer able to 
control the font. Some fonts are better than others.   With HTML text, the 
user can control the fonts.

3. Some people with low vision need reverse contrast. If the buttons are 
already reverse contrast, then if they reverse the whole screen to read 
other body text, the buttons get normal contrast. So they have to keep 
flipping the contrast depending on where they are.

4. Similarly, if all you can do is an overall screen color map, you can't 
get all the text, buttons and body, to have optimal color.

Bottom line: HTML text is not mere pandering to preference, vanity, 
convenience, or even cost:  it's a superior accommodation.


Len

[1]  http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-er-ig/2000Sep/0111.html

At 05:45 PM 9/26/00 -0700, Anne Pemberton wrote:
>At 01:28 PM 9/26/00 -0400, Poehlman, David wrote:
> >I explained this in the message.  what I disagree with is that the text can
> >be small.  some people have low enough vision that they need larger text but
> >not use assistives to achieve it.
>
>Isn't this like saying some people need glasses but are too vain to wear
>them?  The advantage of the small text and small buttons is that these
>elements can be present on a page without taking up space needed to present
>the meat of the page on the opening screen.
>
>                                         Anne
>Anne L. Pemberton
>http://www.pen.k12.va.us/Pav/Academy1
>http://www.erols.com/stevepem/Homeschooling
>apembert@crosslink.net
>Enabling Support Foundation
>http://www.enabling.org

--
Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP and Dept. of Electrical Engineering at Temple 
University
(215) 204-2247 (voice)                 (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday         mailto:kasday@acm.org

Chair, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Evaluation and Repair Tools Group
http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/IG/

The WAVE web page accessibility evaluation assistant: 
http://www.temple.edu/inst_disabilities/piat/wave/
Received on Wednesday, 27 September 2000 09:21:44 GMT

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