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Backgrounds and Accessibility

From: Lee Roberts <leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2003 21:32:49 -0700
To: "WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c307bf$15c9a3b0$5f814094@rose>

Let's look at it from a common sense point of view.  If I have a black
background image and use white text against that black background image,
I just created a problem with accessibility that could be eliminated
with a little common sense.  If my background image includes a majority
of color which I must contrast my text in such a manner as it would
contrast well with the selected background color.

Background images are of no real value.  Excessive graphics are arduous
and hold no true value except to make things look well for those visual
individuals.  However, they can be extremely confusing for the
cognitively disabled.  Graphical text headers and graphical buttons
serve no real purpose or value except to the individual developing the
page or the site.

Background sounds are typically sound bytes of non-vocal types.
Therefore, they don't really offer any value to the hearing impaired.
To think that an audio sound byte of a vocal nature is used on a page as
background audio leaves me thinking that we haven't really examined the
issue of background sounds.

Background sounds with vocals are typically found in Flash, Shockwave,
QuickTime, and any other multimedia presentation - not a web page.  By
programming the presentation correctly with captions or written
explanations clears that problem up.  Having the 20db difference between
background noise and the vocal part of the presentation should be
required and does present value of getting the sound engineer to
generate a larger difference between the vocals and background noise as
Mr. Clark points out.

Perhaps, we should change the issue from simply background images to the
background then it wouldn't make a difference if the browser does not
download useless and meaningless images just to be challenged by the
designer with no common sense.  When using a background image the
background should be of a consistent value thereby allowing the
developer to maintain the difference in contrast, saturation, and hue
from the written text in the document.  I think this clearly clears up
the problem and adds a level of accessibility not previously

Received on Sunday, 20 April 2003 22:33:27 UTC

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