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RE: Washington Post editoral: Claims Against Common Sense

From: Waddell, Cynthia <cynthia.waddell@ci.sj.ca.us>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 09:57:26 -0800
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, empower@smart.net, "'John Whelan'" <whelan@itp.unibe.ch>
Message-id: <3EC0FC2EAE6AD1118D5100AA00DCD88301E67C01@SJ_EXCHANGE>
Some of the web site accessibility problems alleged in the Tamez
Metropolitan Transportation Commission ADA administrative complaint include
content posted in PDFfiles (including job applications and information) as
well as inaccessible transportation schedules.

Cynthia D. Waddell
Cynthia D. Waddell   Cynthia.Waddell@ci.sj.ca.us
ADA Coordinator       City of San Jose, CA

801 North First Street, Room 460
San Jose, California 95110-1704
(408)971-0134 TTY
(408)277-3885 FAX

> ----------
> From: 	John Whelan
> Reply To: 	John Whelan
> Sent: 	Tuesday, November 17, 1998 7:29 AM
> To: 	w3c-wai-ig@w3.org; empower@smart.net
> Subject: 	Re: Washington Post editoral: Claims Against Common Sense
> William Raspberry writes, in the _Washington_Post_:
> > But someone already has come up with something that works quite
> > well for most of us: Web sites with lots of graphics, sound,
> > video clips and such that make it possible to provide useful
> > information in user-friendly ways (and also to facilitate the
> > advertising that makes many Web sites worth providing in the
> > first place). Apparently a return to a text-based system would
> > make it easier for the visually impaired, though arguably less
> > attractive for the rest of us. Is that a violation?
> This is one of the most annoying fallacies floating around the net.  I
> don't know the details of the SF case, which is why I'm posting here
> and not writing to the Post, but from my experience with the Utah
> Transit Authority web site, a similar complaint could be filed against
> them, and it's not because their site is useful or user-friendly.  To
> their credit, they have all of their bus schedules on the web.
> Unfortunately, they are all GIF images of scanned hardcopies, which
> are useless to blind users or those with only text connections to the
> net, not to mention annoying to the rest of us.  Of course, the
> logical way to format data like this would be with an HTML table.
> With the use of style sheets, this could be made as slick as they
> liked without destroying the essentially non-graphical data.  And with
> the use of the SCOPE and perhaps HEADERS tags, the structure of the
> table could be encoded in a way that could be interpreted by assistive
> devices for non-graphical media.
> So it's stupid to assume, at least when dealing with essentially
> non-graphical data like a bus schedule, that the only options are an
> inaccessible site or a vanilla text-based one.  (Of course, if the
> site includes maps, those are inherently graphical, and it makes sense
> to display those as images, and it would be silly to demand that the
> richness of information included there be converted to a textual
> form.)
> 					John T. Whelan
> 					whelan@iname.com
> 					http://www.slack.net/~whelan/
Received on Tuesday, 17 November 1998 13:00:35 UTC

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