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Re: Backgrounds and Accessibility

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 21:29:43 -0400 (EDT)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSO.4.40.0304212259010.31261-100000@ns1.seeto.com>

I see that WAI is managing to top itself.

> Let's look at it from a common sense point of view.

And when was the message going to start doing that?

> 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.

White text on a black background sounds like a nice legible
combination to me. Isn't that what we use in, say, print?

> 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.

For "those people," in other words.

In this simple paragraph, we at last see a confirmation that Web
Accessibility Initiative contributors hold good visual design in
outright contempt. Background images are, after all, "of no real
value," it has been decreed.

> Graphical text headers and graphical buttons
> serve no real purpose or value except to the individual developing the
> page or the site.

...and of course to the many readers who appreciate good visual
design, including people with disabilities, such as deaf or
mobility-impaired persons.

Of course, those groups simply *are less important* than people with
cognitive impairments, for whom the entire Web must be overthrown on
the unproven contention that it will make the Web less inaccessible
for them.

> Background sounds are typically sound bytes of non-vocal types.


> Therefore, they don't really offer any value to the hearing impaired.

If we took this reasoning to its ultimate, non-vocal music programs
would not be captioned, nor would any soundtrack orchestration. Are
you ready to defend this denial of accessibility?

> Background sounds with vocals are typically found in Flash, Shockwave,
> QuickTime, and any other multimedia presentation - not a web page.

You don't see any HTML on that page?

Aren't they delivered by HTTP in cases other than dedicated streams?

How do these multimedia presentations fail to be Web pages?

> 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.

I also appreciate this confirmation that Web Accessibility
Initiative contributors are now willing to micromanage, on pain of
refusal of WAI accessibility certificate, the editing of every audio
track on the Web.

> 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.

Ah, yes. Useless and meaningless images.

Really, they all are, aren't they?

> from the written text in the document.  I think this clearly clears up
> the problem and adds a level of accessibility not previously
> encountered.

It does clarify the delusionalism and extremism of certain Web
Accessibility Initiative proposed practices, yes. It even clearly
clarifies them. What it *adds a level of* not previously encountered
is, I think, something else.


  Joe Clark  |  joeclark@joeclark.org
  Author, _Building Accessible Websites_
  <http://joeclark.org/access/> | <http://joeclark.org/book/>
Received on Wednesday, 23 April 2003 21:30:48 UTC

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