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Jack Masters
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2001 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found an interesting page-viewing engine at http://vischeck.com/vischeckURL.php3 that lets you see your website as someone who is colorblind would. It does not seem to work too well, especially with image intensive sites such as ours, but it's an interesting idea nonetheless. Can anyone think of other visual impairments that might be simulated to let people look at their online work from a different point of view?

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cdoc
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2001 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about blind people? I have a few clients who are either totally or partially blind and use there computers with a program called jaws that reads the screen to them - even a windows 95/98 icon based screen. The software is expensive but works kind of neatly.
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Jack Masters
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good suggestion. I've made an engine that converts your webpage to how a blind person might see it, at http://castlezzt.net/blind.cfm for anyone who wants to take a look.
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caseycamp8
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hahahahahaha
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cdoc
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2001 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guess you don't get it, Mr. Masters. Highly visually impaired and totally blind individuals are using computers, surf the web and even enjoy good comics. Think about it.
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Jack Masters
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2001 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I certantly mean no disrespect to the blind people, and I in no way deny their abily to enjoy webcomics. They can't physically see webpages, and this is what I was attempting to simulate.

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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2001 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it hard to believe that someone who can't see can enjoy a comic as a comic. Certainly they could enjoy the story that a comic tells, but hearing the story just isn't reading a comic. You need to see in order to read a comic. Otherwise, it's much the same experience as having a prose story read aloud to you.

With this in mind, check out Flail, a comic which offers a text-only version.

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John2two
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2001 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... yes, it was a very different experience to read the text-only version of the strip.

I think we need the opinion of a visually impaired person in this discussion. Hey, Doc MacDougal! Now that it's summer, do you still have access to that person(s) from your dorm? Can you patch him/her in?

John
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Tim Mallos
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2001 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been playing with a program called "A-Prompt" ('A' for accessibility) available at the link below.

The app lets you select files on your local machine / network to evaluate. The app returns a list of concerns and prompts you through correcting the problems one at a time.

It's a bit involved, but might be really helpful when designing a new site and page templates.

A-Prompt
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Doc MacDougal
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2001 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose I could get her input. Though, she doesn't really read comics because no comics are really able to be read right now.

I understand what has been said about comics being an inherently visual medium and, of course, it will lose something. But just because it'll be different for someone who's visually impaired doesn't mean it would be without merit. Blind people still watch movies, after all. It's just that sometimes a description is needed. I think it can be the same for comics. The audience for comics, though, is much smaller than that for movies, so you obviously would expect an at least proportionally smaller group of visually impaired folks who are interested in comics, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to make them accessible.

Doc.
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2001 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be very surprised if a blind person were to "watch" a movie. Now, attending the cinema, that's a different thing...

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M
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2001 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know... Do comics have to be inherently visual? That is the current standard, and probably the easiest. (Where easiest=fastest.) But does a comic have to be seen to make it a comic?

I think I could sculpt a comic.

Arrange a series of three-dimensional pieces (maybe even with 3D trails to connect the "panels"), and it would still be "sequential art."

I volunteered to be blindfolded for about 24 hours once-- I know you experience the passage of time even when you can't see. There must be a way to translate that non-visually into "a map of time."

Granted, this doesn't have a lot to do with the current state of comics on the web. My browser just works with graphics and text, and my screen feels the same no matter what's on it. I have read things about the far-flung future when a person could wear, say, gloves that would translate computer data into physical sensations. Or there was that mouse I read about that was supposed to simulate some textures, but I don't believe it ever caught on. So maybe this is just a real-world idea for the moment.

But if I sculpted a comic, and never intended you to see it whether you are physically able to or not, wouldn't it still be comics?

I think it probably would. A type of comics quite different from what exists now, but that's what reinventing's for, right?

--M
(long time listener, first time caller)
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Doc MacDougal
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2001 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got me there, Greg.

M: You're right; I can't see why a sculpted work like you describe wouldn't be comics. But you're also right that it would be very different from anything, as far as I know, that's being done currently. I suppose, though, that mass producing and distributing it would be a little more tricky than with either print or webcomics.

Doc.
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Jack Masters
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2001 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sculpture idea is interesting. One of the staples of comics is the ability to see the entire comic at the same time, layed out in front of you. A sculptured or "textural" comic would need to exhibit the same propertys. I suppose if you used both hands to "read" it a different points...hmm...I just don't think it would really work. The advantage of a visual medium is the ability of the reader or viewer to see and recognise a wide array of complex visual images and the dynamics between them at the same time. None of the other senses really work that way.

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John2two
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2001 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

M, I like your thinking!

I agree that it would be quite possible to create a sculptural comic. I think the concept of sequential art is big enough to include that kind of work. I'd encourage you to do one as a demonstration of concept. (In fact, I'd even be willing to discuss buying it from you.)

Trajan's column is at least 3/4 of the way there, and McCloud cites it as one of our honored foreparents. I'd count it a very small increment from bas-relief to free-standing sculpture.

Jack, I disagree that being able to perceive the entire work is that high on the essential features list. Can you do that with a comic book or graphic novel printed on dead trees? There was a lengthy discussion (in the "Is This a Comic?" thread) back when the forum was at ezBoards of whether comics presented one panel at a time (like some conceivable print publications and many hyperlinked and Flash webcomics) were comics. I got tired of it. I'm more concerned with enjoying the works than being certain what genera label to stick on them.

Some variant of your point is valid, though. Sight does have different characteristics than the other senses. Most comics exploit those characteristics by juxtaposing separate images and disparate components of a single image so that they are perceived simultaneously. But I'm not so sure that's a sine qua non for comicness. (See above about bias against lengthy discussions about precise definitions of labels.)

John

[ This Message was edited by: John2two on 2001-06-16 14:02 ]
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2001 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A sculpted comic! Sure- that works. What about a scratch-&-sniff comic?

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jturner
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2001 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my last year of university (this would have been... '92 or something) I tried to wrap my head around ways to combine sculpture and comics, with very little success.

Perhaps the closest I got was a piece involving four panels hanging behind some other hanging objects. There was wax obscuring some of the panels and some of the objects were made of wax. It was still a visual reading though, not a tactile one.

Would a series of sculptures that tell a story be a comic? The Stations of the Cross or something like that?

I would be very interested to see how you would approach a sculptural comic, M!

Jason Turner
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M
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2001 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
One of the staples of comics is the ability to see the entire comic at the same time, layed out in front of you.


I don't think that's true-- how could you have an infinite canvas if it is? If a canvas is truly infinite, a person could never see the whole thing at the same time.

Or what if I made a comic that wraps around all four walls of a room? Strictly visual, plain old flat panels. You'd probably consider that a comic based on current definitions, right? But you wouldn't be able to see all of it at once. You'd have to move (or move the comic around you!) to take in the whole thing. That's just like how a visually impaired person may have to move from sculpture to sculpture in a non-visual comic.

Maybe instead of saying it's important to see (or touch) all of a comic at once, we could say it's important for the audience to be able to access any part of the comic at any point they choose to. They can do that with a textural comic. (And yes, walking from sculpture to sculpture would be less instant than flipping from page to page. But flipping from page to page is less instant than clicking on a hyperlink, so I think it's more about the choice to move to a different part of the comic than how long it actually takes to get there.)


Quote:
The advantage of a visual medium is the ability of the reader or viewer to see and recognise a wide array of complex visual images and the dynamics between them at the same time. None of the other senses really work that way.


No sense but sight allows a person to analyze visual images? I'd have to agree with you on that one.

Seriously, though, I think I understand what you're saying. Visual art is nice. It's easy. It's pretty. I already know how to work with and interpret it. It's got properties that I can't duplicate with any other type of art. It has all sorts of advantages.

BUT-- is a visual medium required for comics? The more I think about it, the more I think it probably isn't. And non-visual media have advantages all their own.

I kept considering the non-visual comics about it all Saturday, and I typed up some notes rather quickly then. Rather than posting them here and taking up space, I dropped them into a hastily assembled webpage. It's at http://www.wackyhijinks.com/comics/index.html for anyone who wants to take a look. (If you've been reading this thread, you can just skip past the "original post" bit.)

There are a couple descriptions of things that might be considered non-visual comics there. Simple ones, because I'm still wrapping my brain around the non-visual idea myself. I have a little page of scribbles sitting by me that has a few more ideas for non-visual comics on it. One is interesting, but the subject is a little more depressing than I feel like working with right now. Another has an interesting structure, but no story. The rest all involve string, because finding Red Thread Riddles (see http://www.wackyhijinks.com/comics/existing.html ) again this weekend has me a little obsessed with the potential uses of string in non-visual comics. I'll be sure to report back if anything non-visual comes from these doodles.

Thanks for all the responses so far-- I've been watching this board for a long time, and it's fun to finally say something! (So much fun that I'm scared to get started on the topic of micropayments, for fear I won't be able to shut up again.)

--M
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Jack Masters
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2001 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I worded that a bit loosely. I agree with you.
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NatGertler
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2001 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually have a Peanuts book that was done in Braille for the blind. It's not a strip collection, but one fo those "Happiness is a Warm Puppy"-type books, with aphorisms and accompanying cartoon drawings. The drawings have been sculpted out of the page, with some texture added (for example, when Sally is holding a teddy bear, the teddy bear is roughly textured, even though it was just open drawing space on the original drawing.)
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glych
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2001 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... To me it's like when a blind person reads a book and there's a long description of a character. I used to help out reading to the blind at a library near here and actually snuck in Watchman because of the long descriptions. I asked a guy named Dan what he thought about when I got to the visual descriptions. He was very open and honest, and this might help,
If the passage reads: "His blue trousers were worn down and rough to the touch"

Dan would eliminate the color "blue" because he says this has never been described well enough to him yet, (I mean, to describe that you can measure distance, emotion, expression, the placement of objects, and words without reaching out your hand and touching it to a blind person is hard enough, imagine trying to get the concept of color across without a hitch) but the other descriptions are thing you can feel...

I also described artisitic styles that, in Dan's mind were probably different than mine, but were close enough for me to mention them and he knew what i was talking about. I.e. I used the word "scratchy" to describe a sketch once, as in many lines going in many directions in different degrees of strength to give the illusion of a reconizable form. In his mind, he described it like a birds nest. there are many sticks that might seem like chaos at first touch ,but when you examine it, you reconize it as a birds home, with it's indent in the middle, and the directions of the twigs. To me it was many drawn lines and shading in the basic shape of drawing. Now, these are two completely different conceptions of the word "scratchy' but close enough to each other that if i said "the drawing is scratchy" he knew sorta' what i was talking about.
(wow, that was a long description)
if there were a written description of all the panels on th page by link with the comic, i think it would be helpful. Like television, which combines both hearing and seeing, there's closed captioning for the hearing impaired, and spoken direction for the visually impaired. They're still "watching" the movie, but it's like a narrated radio drama:

"That's it I'm leaving!"
Jody turns away from Kat and walks towards the door
"Wait!"
Jody stops, her hand on the doorknob.
etc...

-glych

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lylebclarke
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.seeingwithsound.com/voice.htm
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