Text-Only: Just Say "No"
It's fairly common practice for complex or media-rich sites to offer text-only versions, and after reading about the problems we've encountered at various sites on the Web, you may be thinking that text-only might be a good way to meet the challenge of making your site accessible. We want to persuade you that text-only isn't the way to go most of the time. In this chapter, we'll visit several sites whose text-only versions offer a substantially different and substantially less satisfying user experience than their media-rich originals.
HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter
<a>, <img>, <area>, <table>
Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Checkpoints
3.5. Use header elements to convey document structure and use them according to specification. [Priority 2]
3.6. Mark up lists and list items properly. [Priority 2]
6.2. Ensure that equivalents for dynamic content are updated when the dynamic content changes. [Priority 1]
11.4. If, after best efforts, you cannot create an accessible page, provide a link to an alternative page that uses W3C technologies, is accessible, has equivalent information (or functionality), and is updated as often as the inaccessible (original) page. [Priority 1]
13.8. Place distinguishing information at the beginning of headings, paragraphs, lists, etc. [Priority 3]
Section 508 Standards, §1194.22
(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a Web site comply with the provisions of this part [of Section 508, §1194.22], when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.