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

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 10:42:10 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: Jeff Guillaume <JeffG@PMI1.COM>

	Like Jeff, this is my first post to the list. I've been reading it about a
week. I moved to this list to get a broader perspective on the
accessibility issues than I was able to get from a list that I thought was
discussing the full spectrum of accessibility, but turned out to be
dedicated only to the needs and wants of the blind. My interest in
accessibility is because I'm doing a web site for a group that is focused
on accessibility for the disabled. I am delighted to see that Jonathan
Chetwynd (sp) is a part of this discussion, as I think his efforts to bring
another group of disabled (one that is dear to my heart due to years of
teaching with the HS aged portion of this population). 

>On Fri, 21 May 1999, Jeff Guillaume wrote:
>  Question #2:  And now for something completely different.
>  I was going to separate this into an entirely different thread, but it
>  relates to what I just said.  I have seen on numerous pages the use of a
>  1-pixel by 1-pixel transparent GIF to use as a spacer (especially in
>  tables, but not exclusively).  I was just reading an article on c|net's
>  Builder.com about how the use of <TABLE> has taken on a whole new
>  purpose, one that it wasn't designed for.  Many people are using this
>  1-pixel transparent GIF to force a table to a certain width or height,
>  or even just for color or design sake.  Go to http://www.voyager.net
>  (search for pixel.gif in the source) for an example.

I have found this GIF appear in pages I've created using MS Publisher98.
With a little experimenting, I discovered they were used to create the
spacing that made a difference between the page appearing properly spaced
to the sighted user. Unable to tag this images in Publisher (or I haven't
found it yet!), I tagged them after the pages were created by Publisher
into HTML. I have tagged these images ALT="blank", but have noticed that a
better way would be ALT="" ... After viewing the pages both with and
without the blanks, I'd rather hassle with the HTML code than leave them
off because the provide important accessibility and understanding to the
sighted users of a page. 

>  This has been a perfect solution for designing a page to look the way
>  you want (I've even used this method).  However, this is very bad for
>  accessibility.  Yet another example of change that lots of Webmasters
>  won't appreciate.

In light of the above comments, I am confused that this would be considered
"very bad for accessibility". The blanks seem to me to be helpful for
"accessibility" to the disability community and wider community who are
sighted and need proper spacing in order to best comprehend the information

I am also concerned with providing pages that work as well when printed as
when viewed on a screen. As an educator, I use print outs from the web as a
learning resource. In the local schools, the Internet is available at a
limited number of computers in the high school, and has yet to become
available in the lower schools. Some sites that are in wonderful colors for
the screen provide a link to a printable version which I've found very useful.

In truth, I have found mimimal information available on the web that is
suitable for younger students. When I tried to use the web to supplement my
7-yr-old nephew's need to learn about "ancient egypt", we were very
disappointed. The graphics were too few, and the text, although abundent,
was all written above his head even when I read them to him. I'm not sure
if its an "accessibility" issue to address the needs of youthful students,
or just a matter of development of the web in the K-12 arena. I'd welcome
other thoughts on the issue.


Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Saturday, 22 May 1999 10:36:51 UTC

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