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Re: Dealing with Artistes

From: Lloyd G. Rasmussen <lras@loc.gov>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 98 15:42:01 EST
Message-Id: <68120.lras@loc.gov>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
On Fri, 20 Nov 1998 12:10:28 -0800, 
Kynn Bartlett   <kynn@idyllmtn.com> wrote:

>Sometimes when trying to explain the importance of accessibility
>to web authors, and they run out of reasonable arguments against
>it :), they produce something akin to the following:
>   But I'm an artiste'!  My work is purely graphical and
>   means nothing to someone is blind; they are not the
>   target audience for my gallery of visual artwork, and
>   so I don't need to be concerned with them.
>What do you feel is the best response to this -- or are they

It depends.  If I am searching for information, I won't be 
interested.  But if this is a photo of a house I might want to buy, 
and no one sighted is around, I might want to save the image to disk 
for someone to examine later, or I might want to run it through an 
image processing routine and make a simplified braille printout of 
it.  (Such tools exist, although they have a long way to go.)  If I'm 
teaching a class, it would be useful if I could independently find the 
picture and display it for the class.  If this is a clip-art gallery 
and I am free to use a clip in a newsletter or greeting card, it helps 
to be able to find the image I want.  

None of these need a really long Longdesc, although many of them will 
need more than can be contained in a typical filename that I might get 
from Lynx with verbose images turned on.

Technically inclined artists might want to look at the work of the 
MPEG-7 standards process, the multimedia content description format.  
It is their intent to establish standards by which people can locate 
sounds and images by a query-by-example method, in addition to the 
keyword searching that is currently the only practical method for 
locating non-textual material.  Until MPEG-7 is deployed (and I think 
a descriptive language underlies much of it), search engines are blind 
to art, no matter how wonderful it is.

Hope this helps.

-- Lloyd Rasmussen
Senior Staff Engineer, Engineering Section
National Library Service for the  Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress          202-707-0535
(work)       lras@loc.gov    http://www.loc.gov/nls/
(home) lras@sprynet.com http://home.sprynet.com/sprynet/lras/      
Received on Friday, 20 November 1998 15:43:12 UTC

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