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Re: SPAM(6.1) Dynamic Websites

From: Joachim Andersson <joachim.andersson@etu.se>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2008 19:50:25 +0100
Message-ID: <a92e08980812091050w3fce6ecdo1b7be078044be80b@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Ryan Jean" <ryanj@disnetwork.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi Ryan!
It's funny you mention the websites you do. It's my experience that many
people (with and without disabilities) find websites such as Facebook very
confusing. Lots of content, in a complete mess, without structure, with tons
of images that don't have alternative texts and so on. In YouTube's case,
even video material that lacks any type of text equivalents. So, the quick
and dirty answer would be (pardon my language) - they suck at it.

Now to a more professional point of view. It would of course be almost
impossible for a network such as YouTube to provide text equivalents for
video content, as users publish thousands of video files every day. There
are no automatic ways of doing this, so getting correct text equivalents for
video content would have to be done by the users publishing the material. As
we all know, leaving this task to the ordinary user does not always give us
the result we wished for. So, generally we have a huge problem in the web
2.0 area. The more people editing information, the bigger the problem it

As for blogs and such, one of the primary issues are bad links, often
containing one word (defined by a wiki function, linking to the definition
of the word). Tag clouds and many other functions are directly inaccessible
in their nature, but very nice functions for lots of people. Calendar
functions, rendering links for dates where there are blog posts posted are
good from a visual point of view, but confusing to many.

I would say that it would take some kind of a miracle to make websites like
YouTube and Facebook accessible to all. Only looking at the technical side
of them reveals that the websites have a long way to go, in order to make
their basic structure accessible. And then there is the content. I think you
see where I'm going with this.

If the question you're asking is "Is it possible to build a
community/blog/instant messaging service accessible to all?" then the answer
is yes, it is partly possible. What we cannot control is the material
published by our users. In some small ways we can, but in most cases we
depend on them using good accessibility features, such as a function telling
them how to handle alternative texts for images they publish (without
getting into technical details). For example, when a user uploads an image,
the tool should ask: Does this image contain text? If so, please type the
same text in this text field. If not, leave the field blank. That is a
simple way of taking the image upload to another level, that is more
accessible. It's not perfect in any way, but better. The down side to this
is that users may get annoyed by having to answer such questions, and choose
another community instead. The thing is that community solutions need to
comform to ATAG (Authoring Tool Accessiblity Guidelines) in order for the
output to comform to WCAG.

If you find a community of any kind that is accessible, please let us know!
It would be really nice to read about!

Joachim Andersson
2008/12/9 Ryan Jean <ryanj@disnetwork.org>

>  I wanted to get your web accessibility opinions on sites with blogs,
> videos, and chats. Please review sites for Typepad, YouTube, and Facebook.
> Sincerely,
> Ryan Jean
> Assistant IT Specialist
> The Disability Network
> Flint, MI
Received on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 18:51:01 UTC

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