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RE: Text-only

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 14:41:13 -0500 (EST)
To: Jamie Fox <jfox@fenix2.dol-esa.gov>
cc: "'Rhonda Vandine (CSPACE)'" <rvandine@unb.ca>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.04.9901111427210.8663-100000@tux.w3.org>
This is how I see it:

A text-only site is generally widely accessible (but not universally so -
there are people who rely on well designed visual cues for important
information they cannot satisfactorily extract from slabs of text) if:

- It is well organised, and easily navigable

- It does not use Frames inaccesibly (for simple 2 or three Frame
  framesets this is easy to do, it is just very rarely done.)

- Where it is an alternative to a multimedia site, there is equivalent
  information to that contained in the multimedia elements. (ie a fancy
  divider graphic can be ignored, or replaced with an HR, but an important
  graph of something needs a description.)

- It does not use tables in a manner which is inaccessible. Since the
  implementation of tables in many text-based browsers or combinations is
  pretty poor, this is a fairly restrictive requirement. The short answer
  is 'don't use them for layout, and if you have a complex table of data
  you need to think pretty hard about how to present it'.

- Any 'ASCII art' is clearly marked as such, and a description is

- It does not have links into inaccessible documents or objects.

A site which does not meet these requirements MAY still be accessible, and
a site which does meet them MAY NOT be accessible. They are a rough guide
to the principles I use when looking at a text-only website. (Since my
standard browser is Lynx, I do a lot of looking at text-only versions,
whether they are seperate copies or just the rendering of a graphically
designed site.)

Is that the sort of thing you wanted to know?


On Mon, 11 Jan 1999, Jamie Fox wrote:

  To disagree slightly with other responses to this, I think that a truly
  text-only site would also not include multimedia elements.  Just saying that
  no use of graphics defines a text only site is too limited.  Also, even a
  text only site can be inaccessible.  ASCII art and improper use of frames
  can trash even a text only site.  (Of course, I think any use of frames
  trashes any site.)
  -Jamie Fox
  -----Original Message-----
  From:	w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
  Of Rhonda Vandine (CSPACE)
  Sent:	Monday, January 11, 1999 12:40 PM
  To:	'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'
  Subject:	Text-only
  Could someone give me the requirements of a text-only site?  I need to
  impress upon a client that text-only does not just mean no graphics.
  Rhonda Vandine (CSpace)			Community Access Canada
  E-mail:  rvandine@unb.ca		Marshall d'Avray Hall, UNB
  Phone:  506 447-3452			Fredericton, NB
  Fax:  506 447-3151			E3B 6E3

--Charles McCathieNevile -  mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: * +1 (617) 258 0992 *  http://purl.oclc.org/net/charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative -  http://www.w3.org/WAI
545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, USA
Received on Monday, 11 January 1999 14:41:18 UTC

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