[rfc-i] normative illustrations vs text

Larry Masinter masinter at adobe.com
Fri Apr 27 07:08:40 PDT 2012

> In the network protocol space the only one that immediately springs to 
> mind is G.800 language, but in the wider world, circuit diagrams, maps 
> and plans of buildings are examples that spring to mind.

Good examples. I suppose a reason for making requirements a "should". Perhaps it's a way of limiting the topics the IETF is willing to take on ("anything that can't be described in text is out of scope" ??).

But  I'm just reading out WCAG requirements that would apply to RFCs (not all do). From http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/, for example:

Guideline 1.1 Text Alternatives: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.

Note definition of  non-text content: 
any content that is not a sequence of characters that can be programmatically determined or where the sequence is not expressing something in human language
Note: This includes ASCII Art (which is a pattern of characters), emoticons, leetspeak (which uses character substitution), and images representing text

Guideline 1.3 Adaptable: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
1.3.1 Info and Relationships: Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text. 
1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics: Instructions provided for understanding and operating content do not rely solely on sensory characteristics of components such as shape, size, visual location, orientation, or sound. 

We would have to think about:

3.1.3 Unusual Words: A mechanism is available for identifying specific definitions of words or phrases used in an unusual or restricted way, including idioms and jargon. 
3.1.4 Abbreviations: A mechanism for identifying the expanded form or meaning of abbreviations is available.

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