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RE: Are Small Text buttons level 2 compliant

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 10:08:48 -0700
Message-Id: <a05001908b5f6860b24d2@[]>
To: Dave J Woolley <david.woolley@bts.co.uk>, "'WAI'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 5:36 PM +0100 9/26/00, Dave  J Woolley wrote:
>	Modern HTML plus style sheets allows a lot of input
>	to the visual styling without having to use GIFs of
>	the text (although there are problems, like intellectual
>	property restrictions on scaleable fonts, and the lack
>	of a clean fallback mechanism for BUTTON elements, and
>	broken implementation of, at least, the latter).

There are huge problems with using HTML + CSS as a substitute for
graphical buttons; namely, they don't work.  CSS has yet to be
well-supported enough to be a legitimate substitute for textual
buttons out in the "real world", apart from the ivory towers of
research and scholarship.

CSS is unreliable, and the needs of web designers (and site
operators) to maintain a specific visual appearance cannot simply
be written off as unimportant.  If we tell them that _their_
concerns are worthless (and they must use an inferior solution
to get limited results) then they will tell us that _our_
concerns are worthless and will not design with accessibility
in mind.

The more we say "don't do what you want to do, try this instead,
even though it doesn't work" the less credibility we have.  If
we make unreasonable demands we will _not_ be listened to, and
I feel that the idea that _all_ textual images are "evil" is a
very unreasonable standpoint since there are no valid alternatives
which meet the needs of the visual designers.

>	Actually, even from the point of view of someone with
>	adequate vision and 128K+ access to the net, text as
>	graphics is almost always a barrier to access to the site
>	because of the time it takes to load on the first access
>	to the page.

That's not a barrier, that's simply poor use of your user
agent software.  If you want a faster loading page, then don't
load images -- there's a switch on _your_ software to do this.

Most users do not consider download time as a "barrier" to
access; it is expected that web pages will take a while to
load, especially on relatively slow connections.  Your suggestion
would seem to indicate that any graphics are a "barrier" because
they may add a few seconds to download time.  That's unreasonable.

That's not a barrier; it's barely even a speedbump.

>  > I think that scrolling to the bottom of the page is not a 'significant
>  > barrier.'
>	[DJW:]  It's definitely a barrier, and I would say
>	it was even a significant one - in any case, HTML
>	requires that the image have alternate text, which
>	should avoid that scrolling in text only mode.

It's not a "barrier."

>	I think you are taking a line that is halfway between
>	that which was intended by the guidelines, and that taken
>	by a couple of my colleagues when told about the Olympics
>	and AOL cases, namely that forcing commercial organisations
>	to support the last 20% of the market was an unwarranted
>	intrusion on their ability to operate their businesses.

Your colleagues may be thinking realistically; such concerns
cannot simply be written off, they must be addressed.

They are not addressed by viewpoints such as "all graphical text
is inaccessible" which require the use of defective technology
to achieve poor results.

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Received on Tuesday, 26 September 2000 13:12:49 UTC

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