WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Regarding a slideshow plugin for jQuery


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Nov 13, 2011 6:27AM

2011-11-13 14:29, Ryan Hemphill wrote:

> The lorem ipsum is typical for designers - they use it as content when they
> want to demo a design but want to make sure the people being presented to
> don't focus on the content itself..

Lorem ipsum texts are used by force of habit, but if you ask for a
reason, then you might get an explanation like the above - if the
designer has an idea of the reason and he can articulate it. And there
is some sense in the idea, because people tend to consider things like
content of text when they should focus on visual design. But Lorem ipsum
is still bad for several reasons.

It postulates familiarity with the idea, quite unnecessarily - we should
not require any such special knowledge from testers and reviewers. It
also has a slightly elitistic tone, using pig Latin instead of English
text like "This is an example." In our days, Latin is mostly used as a
write-only language, expected to look impressive.

But more seriously, it prevents people from considering text legibility.
If you don't actually read the text, you don't care much about ease of
reading in the technical sense, like size of letters, contrast between
text and background, and distinguishability of characters. This also
implies that if anyone tries to test the page using non-visual
rendering, the content will appear as mumbo-jumbo.

The character repertoire in Lorem ipsum texts is very limited, only
basic Latin letters and a few punctuation characters. This means that
considerations of legibility, typographic style, and proper rendering of
characters is tested insufficiently. Very few languages have such a
limited character repertoire - and English is not one of them.

The conclusion is that Lorem ipsum texts are a wrong paradigm. Whatever
dummy texts are used for illustration, design, testing, or evaluation of
pages where the actual text content is immaterial, the texts should be
typical of the intended use. This means using a real language, and
naturally the intended language(s) of the content.