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Re: Debunking the need for "text-only" parallel sites

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 01:31:40 -0400 (EDT)
To: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
cc: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>, WAI IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9905210125140.6865-100000@tux.w3.org>
Text-only sites assume that people can either make use of everything that a
webmaster can work out how to include, or that they can use nothing but text.

In fact this is a long way from the case. Many people who are deaf or have
cognitive impairments gain little and lose a lot from a text-only site, and
would be better served by a richer site which followed the guidelines,
especially in regards to structure and organisation of a site. Many blind
users can benefit from audio, which may be included in the multimedia version
and left out of the text-only version.  People who have difficulty with
colour seperation do not need to have everything reduced to text, they just
need high contrast.

These are examples of why the guidelines do not promote the use of a
text-only site. The web allows the creation of rich, creatively designed
websites which are accessible to people with a wide variety of disabilities
(as well as others who are using a wide variety of devices - small mobile
devices can often deal with simple graphics, but cannot render large complex
ones, etc)

Charles McCathieNevile

  At 05:21 PM 5/20/99 -0400, Bruce Bailey wrote:
  >I very much appreciate that the "WCAG 1.0" Fact Sheet
  >(http://www.w3.org/1999/05/WCAG-REC-fact#text) goes so far at to say:
  >> Text-only pages should not be necessary to ensure accessibility of Web
  >pages that follow the "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines," except in
  >very rare cases. In fact, text-only pages are frequently counterproductive
  >to accessibility since they tend to be kept less up-to-date than "primary
  >pages," or in some cases leave out information that is on primary pages. 
  >> Many sites that have made a commitment to accessibility in the past have
  >used text-only pages as a solution; however, by following these guidelines
  >it should be unnecessary in almost all cases, or even inadvisable, to set
  >up and maintain a separate set of text-only pages. 
  >I agree with all of the above.  I accept it as true.  Now, how do I prove
  >it to others who would advocate for text-only pages?  Can anyone point to
  >me to URLs that present evidence that "text-only" pages are usually NOT in
  >parallel with the default version?  Is there any published research that
  >the "text-only" approach, while perhaps having noble intent, is
Received on Friday, 21 May 1999 01:31:43 UTC

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