HTML and XHTML
This technique relates to Success Criterion 1.1.1: Non-text Content (Sufficient).
Before graphics became widely used on the internet, ASCII characters were often arranged to form pictures or graphs. Although ASCII art is not used frequently on the Web anymore, it must be remembered that, when it is used, it is very confusing to people who are blind and accessing the internet using screen readers. If it is used it should also have a text explanation of what the picture is. It is also suggested that there be a link to skip over the ASCII art (although this is not required).
Emoticons are very popular. They include ASCII characters that form facial expressions and other ways to communicate an emotion. They can be confusing for screen reader users. When possible it is better simply to use a word like "smile" instead of an emoticon. But if emoticons are used they should have a text alternative. In some contexts, blog and forum software for example, plug-ins are available that automatically convert ASCII characters used as emoticons into HTML images with text alternatives.
Leetspeak uses various combinations of characters, including numerals and special characters, to replace standard characters. Leet has become a part of Internet culture and slang. Leet is frequently used to beat text and spam filters. It is often incomprehensible to blind people using screen readers, and therefore requires a text alternative in order to conform to Success Criteria 1.1.1.
Because support for this technique is limited, it is recommended that authors provide the text alternative in text.
The following shows three options for providing alternatives for an emoticon representing "fright," which is made out of an equal sign followed by the number eight, a hyphen and the number zero.
=8-0 (fright) <abbr title="fright">=8-0</abbr> <img src="fright.gif" alt="fright"/>
Here is ASCII art with an explanation of the picture preceding it. It includes a link to skip over the ASCII art. Skip ASCII example.
Figure 1: ASCII art picture of a butterfly. <a href="#skipbutterfly">Skip ASCII image</a> LLLLLLLLLLL __LLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL _LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL _LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL L _LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LL LLLLLL~~~LLLLLLLLLLLLLL _L _LLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLL L~ LLL~ LLLLLLLLLLLLL LL _LLL _LL LLLLLLLL LL LL~ ~~ ~LLLLLL L _LLL_LLLL___ _LLLLLL LL LLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLL L LLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLL LL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLL~ LLLLLLLL_______ L _LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLL ~~~~~~~LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL~ LLLLLL ______________LLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLL ______LLLLLLLLL_ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLL~~LLLLLLL~~~~~~ ~LLLLLL ___LLLLLLLLLL __LLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLL____ _LLLLLL_ LLLLLLLLLLL~~ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL ~~~LLLLL __LLLLLLLLLLL _LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL_ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL_ LLLLL LLLLLLLLLLL~ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL ~L ~~LLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLL _LLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL_ LL LLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLL~LLLLLL~L LL ~~~~~ ~LLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLL__L LLLLLLLLLLLL_LLLLLLL LL_ LL_ _ LLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL~ ~LLLLLLLL~~LLLLLLLL ~L ~LLLL ~L LLLLLL~ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL _LLLLLLLLLL LL LLLLLLL___ LLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LL~LLLLLLLL~ LL LLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLL~ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL_ __L _L LLLLLLLL LLL_ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL L~ LLLLLLLL LLLLLLL~LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL~ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL___L_ LL LLLLLLL LLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLL ~~LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLL~ LLLLL ~~~~~~~~~ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL_ _ LLL _LLLLL ~~~~~~LLLLLLLLLL~ LLLLLL LLLLL _LLLLLL LLLLL L L LLLLLLL LLLLL__LL _L__LLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL ~LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL~~ LLLLLLLLLLLLL ~~~~~~~~~ <a name="skipbutterfly"></a>
The following is Leetspeak for "Austin Rocks".
<abbr title="Austin Rocks">Au5t1N r0xx0rz</abbr>
- Open the page in a common browser.
- Check to see that the content contains ASCII art, emoticons and/or leetspeak.
- Check that there is a text alternative immediately before or after all ASCII art, emoticons and/or Leetspeak.
- Test procedure #3 is true.