Jakob Nielsen: "Making the Web more accessible for users with various 
disabilities is to a great extent a matter of using HTML the way it was 
intended: to encode meaning rather than appearance." [from ]

With the possible modification of "HTML" to "standard markup language" this 
seems a pretty succinct statement of what the WAI documents are all about. 
Note that in the original "meaning" and "appearance" are given <em> attribute.

It's interesting that in order to codify that concept has occupied dozens 
of people for thousands of hours and produced lots of words!

It is very difficult for us retinally conceited folks to understand such 
simple concepts as that "image text" is in the mind of the beholder and not 
in fact text at all. It is hard to explain to a blindless person that 
"click here" or a button with what clearly appears to be text inscribed on 
it is in fact an image requiring an alternate textual equivalent. In fact 
"click here" might even be text in the sense we mean it but semantically it 
is not text but a marker for a screen location.

One reason we have these long discussions about text vs. text-image is that 
the notion of semantics is so closely tied to our visual apparati. As the 
slogan says the markup languages are intended to encode meaning. Appearance 
is the province of style sheets.


Received on Thursday, 28 September 2000 10:24:54 UTC