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Re: Frames and Accessibility

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 10:34:52 +0200 (EET)
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.50.0301201009420.11105-100000@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Mon, 20 Jan 2003, Julian Voelcker wrote:

> OK, I can understand that people might have problems with frames, however
> surely if they can't read a simple text web page they will be struggling to
> see anything on the web?

Indeed, or they might not even try to struggle - what would be the point
if you are completely blind? If you cannot read, or can read only very
simple text and very slowly, there might be good reasons to struggle to
improve your capabilities

The correct conclusion is that a text-only version as <noframes> content
is a completely wrong approach.

It is a common fallacy - despite all the efforts by the WAI people and
others to explain things - to think that a plain text version is the
panacea to accessibility. It's roughly the opposite: a site that offers
a plain text version is generally not accessible, in either version.

There are situations where versioning means real improvements to
accessibility. Actually, it's just the huge costs of versioning that
prevent us from recommending it as something that should be done
generally. But it's not about a plain text version vs. normal version
then. Rather, it would be about essentially different presentations of the
content, with variation in the content detailedness and depth too, ranging
from strongly simplified language and heavily illustrated presentation to
very compact stuff and including things like iconic writing, sign language
videos, and recorded speech presentations. This effectively means
multiplying the costs of content production, so we can't ask people to do
that, except for very important content that should be made accessible to
literally anyone who can use a computer.

The simple rule for <noframes> content is: design first the site as if
frames were not available at all, as a technology; then, after designing
the frames version, using the initial design as the basis, put the result
of the initial design (or at least a link to it) into <noframes>.
Of course it gets more difficult if you already have the frames version
and you have to re-think the design. (And people who understand the simple
idea of designing first the no-frames version will often realize that
there is no point in designing the frames alternative, saving even more

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Monday, 20 January 2003 03:34:55 UTC

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