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thinking about HTML5 figure and figcaption elements

From: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 10:32:48 +0100
Message-ID: <AANLkTikvuWTV9iVtyoABOxqr=9PZ-RzwK=Gns30zVfOT@mail.gmail.com>
To: W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Hi all,

I have been wondering about how the HTML5 figure [1] and figcaption elements
should be mapped to accessibility APIs and aslo what advice should be
provided to AT about conveying its semantics to users.

The figure element:
"The element can thus be used to annotate illustrations, diagrams, photos,
code listings, etc,"

The figcaption element:
"The figcaption element represents a caption or legend for the rest of the
contents of the figcaption element's parent figure element, if any."

Code examples from the spec:

Example 1


<figure id="l4">
<figcaption>Listing 4. The primary core interface API
declaration.</figcaption>
<pre><code>interface PrimaryCore {
boolean verifyDataLine();
void sendData(in sequence&lt;byte> data);
void initSelfDestruct();
}</code></pre>
</figure>


Example 2

<figure>
<img src="bubbles-work.jpeg"alt="Bubbles, sitting in his office chair, works
on his latest project intently.">
<figcaption>Bubbles at work</figcaption>
</figure>


Example 3

<figure>
 <p>'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves<br>
 Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;<br>
 All mimsy were the borogoves,<br>
 And the mome raths outgrabe.</p>
 <figcaption><cite>Jabberwocky</cite> (first verse). Lewis Carroll,
1832-98</figcaption>
</figure>

Example 4


<figure>
 <img src="castle1423.jpeg" title="Etching. Anonymous, ca. 1423."
      alt="The castle has one tower, and a tall wall around it.">
 <img src="castle1858.jpeg" title="Oil-based paint on canvas. Maria Towle,
1858."
      alt="The castle now has two towers and two walls.">
 <img src="castle1999.jpeg" title="Film photograph. Peter Jankle, 1999."
      alt="The castle lies in ruins, the original tower all that remains in
one piece.">
 <figcaption>The castle through the ages: 1423, 1858, and 1999
respectively.</figcaption>
</figure>


In order to make the figure/figcaption a useful semantic container a
standard set of rules
needs to be worked out on how the figcaption/figure element.s will work.

For example:

   - should the figcaption be the accessible name for the figure element?
   - What are the default roles of the figure and figcaption elements?
   - Should the role of the figure element change depending on the content
   of figure?
   - Should the name of the elements be presented to users?
   - What is the relationship between alt and title on images within the
   figure and the figcaption content?
   - Should accessible relationships be hardwired into the browser
   accessibility API mappings or left up to the AT?

[1] http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/grouping-content.html#the-figure-element

[2] http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/grouping-content.html#the-figcaption-element

 --

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG Europe
Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium

www.paciellogroup.com | www.wat-c.org
Web Accessibility Toolbar -
http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/wat-ie-about.html
Received on Monday, 25 October 2010 09:33:43 GMT

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