Re: ref card: print and on-line versions

Reference card:  print and on-line versions

In Friday's conference call we discussed the need to publish articles about
web accessibility in technical journals and magazines. Daniel suggested
that we might need to consider at least two categories of article:

* the classic,  which provides good descriptions of the recurrent
challenges of universal web design and information provision

* the solution-driven sort in which current problems are discussed, and the
range of present technical (or other) solutions presented.

The first category would not provide direct technical advice to solve a
current problem, but because it is less dependent on current user agent
technology, or changing specifications, it would not become obsolete as
rapidly as the second category.

In a similar way, is there a need for both a print and on-line version of a
Quick Reference Guide? The print version might more resemble Daniel's
Classic category. The on-line version would be updated on a regular basis,
and be more a "Show me How to do it for Now" brief guide which would offer
links to the richer details and discussion of an appropriate version of the
Page Authoring Guidelines.

For example, a current on-line Quick Reference Guide might suggest the use
of d-link and "rel" to provide a fuller description that is possible in an
alt text. The guide would offer a link to a suitable version of the Page
Authoring Guidelines which would give further advice about using longdesc
or Object  when these options are more widely supported.

It is easy to suggest that there is a need for a less ephemeral  Quick
Reference Guide which is intended for print distribution.  I find it more
difficult to suggest appropriate content for such a Guide.  I attempted to
write a version of one section which is as follows:

start file

1 Supply text versions of visuals

Good visuals communicate something important, but not everybody can
see them. Text can be spoken or converted into Braille. Well written text
alternatives communicate the content or purpose of a picture or display.
A simple picture might only need a concise description to outline what it
illustrates or does (if it is a graphical link). Provide a fuller
description if
Frequently, you need to display data summaries in the form of a diagram,
graph, or pie chart. You might choose animations to visualise spreadsheet
projections. The complexity of this material means that you need to
provide (say) a full, linked, text version of the data summary. Explain how
you interpreted the data. Highlight any comparisons which are obvious in
the display, such as a difference in annual sales figures. The information is
now accessible to people who can not see the visual representations.

end file

This version does not mention alt text, longdesc or any other technical
solution (but the introductory section does refer the reader to an on-line
Quick Reference Guide for appropriate techniques). It is also not explicit
that the second part is intended to cover the output of helper
applications, Java, plug-ins etc.

The obvious questions are:

1 is there a need for different versions as suggested above?

2 is the suggested content appropriate? If not, what would be?

3 is the guideline " Supply text versions of visuals" unclear, or unhelpful
because it deliberately omits any technical details?

Best wishes - Stella

Stella O'Brien

Received on Monday, 3 August 1998 11:52:01 UTC