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RE: FORMAL OBJECTION (was RE: Working Group Decision on ISSUE-204 aria-hidden)

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 16:03:28 -0700
To: "'David Singer'" <singer@apple.com>
Cc: "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis'" <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>, "'Sam Ruby'" <rubys@intertwingly.net>, <public-html@w3.org>, "'HTML Accessibility Task Force'" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <037801cd7b3a$3107d950$93178bf0$@ca>
David Singer wrote:
> 
> No, that's not how I view it.  It's allowing content to be marked to
> say that this (hidden) object stands in this relationship to this
> (exposed) object.

Then is ARIA the right solution here? One of ARIA's primary goals is to also
communicate with the Accessibility APIs, which (to me) pre-supposes that the
relationship is actionable.  

	"Rationale: Web authors often wish to provide a description of a
complex element only to screen reader users, while hiding the description
from all other users." 
- un-proven assertion from
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/AllowAriaReferHidden 


If all you want to do is to create a relationship, there are surely other
tools available (@rel perhaps? -
http://microformats.org/wiki/existing-rel-values#HTML5_link_type_extensions)
I do not believe however that this is or was the goal of the Change
Proposal, which states:

	"Because authors sometimes need to provide a complex description of
a page element for users of Assistive Technology without any forced visual
encumbrance or default visual indicator, HTML should allow this to be done
in the most straightforward manner, by enabling aria-describedby="" to point
at elements hidden with the hidden="" attribute."



> Every UA needs to choose whether to either (a) not
> mention the relationship to the user, as the target object is hidden or
> (b) mention the relationship, and be prepared to expose the target.

Fair enough. 
Returning to what Maciej stated, and what Apple's web site states:

Maciej: "I don't think a mouth-stick user who is not visually impaired would
ever be exposed to the link"
Apple: "VoiceOver provides visual references to enable blind and sighted
users to work together on the same computer at the same time."

Which is it? Rather, which will it be?


> 
> That's it. (I may be, and often am, wrong). No talk of any specific
> access modes, needs, or anything. The design of *how* you expose the
> relationship and target is left to be a suitable affordance for the
> modality of the user-agent.

See above. 

I will posit that choosing to use ARIA, and specifically aria-describedby,
was done consciously to take advantage of the existing behaviors of screen
readers such as VoiceOver, as many appear to see this as a problem for
visually impaired users only (re-read the rationale). I can think of no
other justification but I too am quite happy to be proven wrong. 

(I'll also note in passing that we already have such a relationship
affordance in @longdesc: _this_ URL is related to this image, with the
additional semantic that the relationship is that it is a long
desc[ription]. The lack of a standardized exposure design is the real
problem with @longdesc today, and sadly is traced back to the browsers who
never - rather rarely, I should respect Opera and iCab here - provided that
mechanism. The current CP does nothing to correct this problem.)

JF
Received on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 23:04:11 GMT

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