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[1.1] Exception for text equivalent (non-urgent)

From: Yvette P. Hoitink <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2004 20:43:39 +0100
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <E1Ayykv-0001CO-KP@smtp1.home.nl>

Hello everyone,

Guideline 1.1 currently has an exception:
If the non-text content is part of a test (for example, a spelling test) and
providing a text-equivalent would defeat the purpose of the test, a
text-equivalent would not be required. 

In my work, I have encountered another business case in which it is hard to
meet the level 1 success criteria for this guideline, which we could fix by
generalizing this exception.

We work a lot for organizations that handle historical information. In this
domain, more and more old documents get digitized. Some of the archives have
expressed the wish to publish the digital documents or photographs on their
websites, and ask the visitors to help them to make transcriptions of the
documents (or describe the content of the photographs). 

Until the visitors have created a transcription or description, no text
equivalent is available. I'm currently involved in a project that involves
500,000 poorly described images, where the public is asked to help improve
the descriptions. With numbers such as these, simply telling them to fix the
descriptions before they publish the content isn't an option because that
would take several man years. 

How do we want to handle cases like this? It would be sad if archives had to
choose between either complying to WCAG 2 or making historical information
available through the internet (a service that is greatly appreciated by
people with disabilities who cannot always go to the archives).

My proposal (needs some word smithing) is to generalize the current
exception for other situations than tests as well:

If the purpose of the non-text content is to let the user provide the text
equivalent, for example in a spelling test, a text-equivalent would not be

This formulation would apply to the transcription business case as well. 

Yvette Hoitink
CEO Heritas, Enschede, The Netherlands
E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl
Received on Thursday, 4 March 2004 14:43:45 UTC

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