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Prohibiting images of important text

From: WCAG 2.0 Comment Form <nobody@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 08:36:39 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org
Message-Id: <20070629083639.D6E1B6B644@kent.w3.org>

Name: Sofia Celic on behalf of Vision Australia
Email: Sofia.Celic@visionaustralia.org.au
Affiliation: Vision Australia
Document: W2
Item Number: Guideline 1.4: Make it easier for people with disabilities to ...
Part of Item: 
Comment Type: technical
Summary of Issue: Prohibiting images of important text
Comment (Including rationale for any proposed change):
Currently WCAG 2.0 allows the use of images of text. Some user groups with low vision may miss important content where text within images contains important information. This may be because the user requires a particular visual presentation of the content, such as a particular font size or combination of foreground and background colours to be able to perceive the text.

WCAG 2.0 currently has an advisory technique for Success Criterion 1.4.4 of \"Avoiding the use of text in raster images\". We do not feel this is sufficient at an advisory technique status.

If images of important text are allowed these user groups would need to \"turn images off\" to be able to apply their presentation needs to the text alternative. Here are some problems with that:

- This is something most users would not know of, let alone how to do it. 

- In Internet Explorer (still the most common use browser) the user would be required to make changes in the \'Advanced\' tab (in Internet Options) to stop image downloads. Not many people are comfortable making changes in the \"Advanced\" area of any program. Also, the setting to display all of the text alternative of an image would be required (again an \'Advanced\' setting in IE). 

- Image text alternatives do not necessarily render at the same size as the surrounding text 

- Viewing a page with image text alternatives potentially results in content being shifted so as to confuse the visual reading order; overlapping image text alternative with other text in the page; and cropped image alt text; generally making the content harder or impossible to read.

- users may not be able to change browser settings in some circumstances (such as at their place of employment where access to settings is prohibited or limited)

Another important area is that of accessing image maps. How would a user accessing pages with images off 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. This issue goes beyond images of text so we are also submitting a separate comment regarding image maps.

Proposed Change:
Add a success criterion at Level A or AA that prohibits use of images containing important text.

We acknowledge that the success criterion may need to include some exceptions, such as where the important text is already provided as text, or where logos are concerned.
Received on Friday, 29 June 2007 08:36:45 UTC

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