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Re: Textual Images vs. Styled Text, Round Two *ding*

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 16:30:11 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: love26@gorge.net (William Loughborough)
Cc: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
[Note:  I have restricted the distribution of this followup to
only the WAI IG mailing list, lest it continue to spill over into
the other mailing lists.]

At 03:43 PM 9/27/2000 , William Loughborough wrote:
>WL: The reason I'm sure that I do need to make the point "forcefully" is that somehow it has been allowed to slip by that images of text are a special case of images. They are not. 

Actually, I disagree, there _is_ a special case of textual images
(and it's what Len identified when he started this discussion).

When images are used to represent text, that text is no longer
affected by the user's controls over text size/font/color.  This
is also true when images are representing non-textual information
as well (such as a picture of my dog).  In the dog picture
scenario, the user has no expectation that her text settings will
apply to the size of the image of the dog.

However, in the textual image scenario, the user has every reason
to expect that her text settings _will_ apply to the buttons and
headings which were made as graphics.  Why?  Because the user is
not expected to have to differentiate between "text" and "images
as text" -- they appear the same to the end user, they're "words
on the screen."

Len is correct in identifying this as a special case that needs
to be dealt with, because it can introduce problems which are
unique to textual images -- most obviously, "how can you allow
the user to scale up images where the text is too small for her
to read?"

(There is a similar problem with images which are too small to
view -- you may not be able to discern my dog if the picture is
tiny -- but there is no user expectation that her "increase font
size" button will work.)

Textual images obviously do introduce an accessibility hurdle
because they break the "change font size" function in the browser,
which may be essential for many users with low vision.  The only
question now is "what should be done about that and who should
do something about it?"  Len proposes that WCAG 1.0 forbids the
use of textual images, because HTML+CSS can be used; I maintain
that it is not an acceptable solution and that we need to look
a little harder.

There is no obvious, easy solution and it's not simply a case of
declaring that "images are images".

Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                    http://kynn.com/
Director of Accessibility, Edapta               http://www.edapta.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet   http://www.idyllmtn.com/
AWARE Center Director                      http://www.awarecenter.org/
Accessibility Roundtable Web Broadcast           http://kynn.com/+on24
What's on my bookshelf?                         http://kynn.com/books/
Received on Wednesday, 27 September 2000 19:45:37 UTC

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