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access to the text alternatives for image maps

From: WCAG 2.0 Comment Form <nobody@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2007 12:19:39 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org
Message-Id: <20070701121939.484633320A@kearny.w3.org>

Name: Andrew Arch on behalf of Vision Australia
Email: andrew.arch@visionaustralia.org
Affiliation: Vision Australia
Document: W2
Item Number: Guideline 1.1: Provide text alternatives for any non-text ...
Part of Item: 
Comment Type: technical
Summary of Issue: access to the text alternatives for image maps
Comment (Including rationale for any proposed change):
Further to our previous comment on “Prohibiting images of important text”, Vision Australia would also like to raise the issue of how a user accessing pages with images off would necessarily know of the presence of an image map, let alone be able to access the map regions? Most browsers do not render the text alternative for and outlines of map regions.

WCAG 2.0 SC 1.1.1 seems to currently allow for informational images as long as those images have a text equivalent that can be programmatically determined – eg an Alt attribute in HTML. If those user groups with low vision magnify an image with current technology, it can pixelate to the extent of being unusable, so they expected to turn images off to access the text alternative.

However, in the case of HTML image maps, it is just the text alternative of the image that is display, not the text alternatives for he MAP areas or hot-spots. The user is not to know that the image has selectable areas, nor where those area boundaries are even if they did know that the image they can no longer see does have selectable areas.

Furthermore, some people with cognitive disabilities are unable to process image-based information and prefere clear text-based information. These people can see the image perfectly well, but may not recognise the areas they are supposed to select from.

WCAG 1.0 has a checkpoint (1.5) that requires the provision of “redundant text links for each active region of a client-side image map”. For many groups accessing the web, this is still a requirement.

Proposed Change:
Add a success criterion requiring image map links to also be made available as text-based links
Received on Sunday, 1 July 2007 12:19:45 UTC

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