Re: Comments on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Alan is absolutely correct here. I was responding to Patrick's use of
design when what we really meant was presentation. (When Ian says design
he means design.

So let me state clearly that I agree with Ian and Alan about good design,
and further that I feel presentation is less important than accessibility
in general, and that this document in particular should not take any other

Sorry for my earlier carelessness with words.

Charles McCN

On Sat, 13 Mar 1999, Alan J. Flavell wrote:

  On Fri, 12 Mar 1999, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
  > IJ:  
  >   We attempt to emphasize that good design produces accessible documents,
  >   thus I don't think there's a conflict. 
  > CMN:
  > It would seem foolish in a document about how to produce accessible
  > content to do anything other than stress accessibility as more important
  > than design.
  These two usages of the word "design" seem to be contradictory.
  I always feel it's a mistake when people apply the word "design" to
  refer only to visual cosmetics.  I regard design as a much more
  comprehensive and fundamental activity.  From the context, it appears
  that IJ does so too.
  All too many "web designs" that one sees around, have been composed
  merely to be graphical cosmetics without any underlying structure.
  When it's proposed to their author that the page should be made
  accessible, their usual response is "that would need an alternative
  text-only version, for which I haven't got the time or resources".  
  In fact (as I hardly need to say to the participants on this list!), a
  properly _designed_ page could in many cases look just the same as
  theirs when viewed in the narrow range of viewing situations they
  "designed" it for, yet, due to the soundness of its underlying design,
  the self-same document can be essentially accessible in and of itself.
  I certainly support the motion that the construction of alternative
  versions is best kept for the most exceptional of situations, and the
  guidelines should avoid reinforcing authors' prejudices that creating
  alternative versions would be the routine way to make a "normal" web
  page accessible.

--Charles McCathieNevile  
phone: +1 617 258 0992
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA

Received on Friday, 12 March 1999 20:37:46 UTC