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RE: General Response to the Accessibility Task force on Issues 90, 91, 93, 96, 97

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2010 10:07:39 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Denis Boudreau'" <dboudreau@webconforme.com>, "'Laura Carlson'" <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Cc: "'Janina Sajka'" <janina@rednote.net>, "'Michael\(tm\) Smith'" <mike@w3.org>, "'HTML Accessibility Task Force'" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "'Shelley Powers'" <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Message-ID: <059e01cae23e$4e9d6cb0$ebd84610$@edu>
Denis Boudreau wrote:
> 
> It was agreed during the teleconference this morning that the TF would
> come back to Shelley to explain to her these issues WERE discussed in
> the F2F meeting that took place a few days/weeks ago.

I might also add that there has already been a fair bit of related
discussion on the general topic of new semantic elements on the
public-html mailing list in the past - I know, because I was actively
engaged in those threads. (Happy to dig out URLs if required, but I am
dashing off to the office right this moment)

At the risk of generalization, it appears that the Task Force blanket
resolution is simply stating that given the choice between richer semantic
elements over <divs> (that may or may not get semantic enhancement via
ARIA constructs), the general consensus (with noted exceptions) is that
overall we prefer to see specific semantic elements. This is a general
position of the Web Accessibility Initiative (in all of its guises) for
quite some time now, as documented in the No-Change Counter Proposal
(http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/KeepNewElements).
(Suggesting that it is Dogma is hardly constructive)

If these proposed new elements (etc.) can be improved upon, then that is a
good thing (a point that the Task Force specifically underscored when it
stated "We maintain the work item to check these elements and make them
better."). To suggest however they be dumped in favor of the status quo is
something that apparently many have a hard time with - specifically *I*
have a hard time with it, which is why I contributed to the joint
No-Change Counter Proposal - not as a spokesperson for the Task Force, but
as an individual member of the HTML Working Group.

Laura Carlson wrote:
> 
> > The resolution said that the TF would maintain a work item
> > to check these elements and make them better. Who will be working on
> > this? 

I believe anyone who feels that these elements (etc.) can be improved upon
is welcome to take on the work. Constructive enhancements are more than
welcome; suggesting that we simply walk away from the elements as Shelley
proposes is likely to not find a receptive audience on this list in light
of the current TF Resolution. As well, given the other crucial items still
being worked on by the Task Force, it is unrealistic to think that we
should simply drop everything to take up these items at this time. It is
logged - if any individual wishes to start now, please do so. However
(IMHO) this is not justification to hold a gun to the head of the Task
Force: we are dealing with @alt, table summaries, and accessibility of
both Canvas and the new Media elements at this time; resources are already
stretched. 

Perhaps you Laura would be interested in taking on this additional work?

JF
Received on Thursday, 22 April 2010 17:08:16 GMT

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