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Re: Creating accessible tables for layout and data: alt attributes

From: <kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 07:59:50 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <200201311559.HAA15911@garth.idyllmtn.com>
To: ward_joel@bah.com (Joel Ward)
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org (WAI List)
Joel wrote:
> Of course, that example was about important information, not decorative
> information.  But the argument can be made that the user should be the one
> to filter what is important and what is not important.

No, the author is the one who can determine the purpose of the page. The
purpose of the page is not determined by the user. Therefore, authorial
intent needs to be the decision-making factor behind the decision as to
what is important and what is not.

In a way, this is simply practical common sense -- there's one author (or
one group of authors, functioning collectively) and millions of potential
users. As precognition and telepathy techniques have yet to be developed,
the author's viewpoint must prevail.

Also, reasonably speaking, there is no way to enforce an accessibility
principle that puts user desires over authorial intent, even if that were
in some way desirable. (It's not.)

A decision will always need to be made as to "what is important on this
page" and what is not -- and that will be the author's decision. What we
need to do is give the author sound advice on how to make this decision in
a way that does not exclude members of his audience. We -don't- need to
claim that the author has no right to make the decision which he clearly
does, and we don't need to place unfulfillable requirements (e.g. "give
ALL information to ALL users") which the author would not be able to

Received on Thursday, 31 January 2002 10:52:44 UTC

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