W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-a11y@w3.org > August 2012

Re: why are we pursuing this idea? (was: Implementation Details request on Issue 204 Decision)

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 02:23:01 +0200
To: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Cc: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, public-html@w3.org, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20120822022301342526.0daef070@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis, Wed, 22 Aug 2012 00:46:18 +0100:
> On Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM, Leif Halvard Silli:
>> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis, Tue, 21 Aug 2012 17:11:33 +0100:
>>> On Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 4:59 PM, Leif Halvard Silli:

>>> Doubtless some will also be surprised if @hidden content _is not_
>>> presented. I have a suspicion this may be the smaller group. If we had
>>> stuck with the original name of @irrelevant, this would have less
>>> surprising.
>> Well, here I strongly disagree:
> You mean you disagree with my suspicion?

Yes. Your above claim was that only few - the smaller group - would be 
surprised if @hidden causes e.g. an aria-describedby to not have effect 
when its points to hidden content.

>>   a) ARIA allows to point to hidden content and this - give and
>>      take - works well.

I should have said that I, by 'hidden content', did not refer to 
specifically to @hidden.

> I've only seen one attempt at doing this in the wild, and the author's
> expectation was that hidden content would be excluded when referenced.

If he referenced it with e.g. aria-labelledby, then may he needs to 
sharpen his reasoning.

> The examples provided in the Change Proposals are a mixture of the
> broken (e.g. an ASCII art image is left without a defined accessible
> name) and the nonsensical - and that's _after_ various other mistakes
> I pointed out were corrected. So … what makes you think it "works
> well", assuming that you're factoring authors getting the markup right
> into the equation?

Sorry, I did not mean @hidden. I mean the *concept* of referring to 
variously hidden content. For instance, as I said @alt is hidden, and 
@aria-label is hidden, and @aria-labelledby may point to something 
hidden etc. Thus, there is a pattern there. 

However, of course, ARIA can be difficult to get into. It took a while 
before I started to get it.

>>   b) A11Y annotations very often are hidden from most users (e.g.
>>      think of the content of the alt attribute). Or such things
>>      as placing content off screen etc.
> @alt and off-screen content are displayed to users in the
> comparatively familiar cases where you have images or stylesheets off
> or they don't load.
> That's very different from @irrelevant.

I agree. However, the concept that something that is - for the time 
being - hidden/invisible, can still be available to A11Y users, is well 

And also, as you know, aria-label/labbelledby/describedby are not - 
unlike @alt -  affected by whether images load or whether CSS is 
enabled or disabled. So already when using the 
aria-label/describedby/labelledby attributes, one is in danger with 
regard to risk for creating content that has an imperfect fallback in 
e.g. text browsers. So, if referring to content that is @hidden in and 
by itself is such a big problem, then we should perhaps go deeper and 
look at aria-label/describedby/labelledby as well.

In a summary, I think that, with aria-label/describedby/labelledby and 
@hidden, one is already in trouble. And I think that the purpose of 
ARIA very much is to make something that works when the Web site is 
consumed the way it is intended to be consumed - with scripting, CSS 
and everything. To make it *also* work in a text browser thus requires 
that one think of specifically that problem.

>> Thus, 1) It is hypothetical that it could be made not to work.
> What do you mean? I didn't say anything about making things work, I'm
> just talking about author expectations.

OK. Sorry if that was a bad point ...

>>       2) It does not really contradict what authors are used to.
> Authors aren't used to a11y markup at all. (In my day job I interview
> plenty of people employed as frontend developers who don't know the
> <legend> element, who don't understand how <label> is associated with
> form fields, and to whom ARIA is barely more than a rumour.)

Weird interviews you make. :-D Yes. I can imagine.Myself, I think that 
I would recommend using display:none rather than @hidden, as 
display:none does not have the additional aria-hidden=true meaning and 
is thus more flexible when creating JavaScript-free interactivity via 
CSS and hyper links.

But my point was very small: Like I said above, authors often know 
about @alt. And they know that @alt does not render - unless unless ... 
And thus they are used to the concept that invisible content can be 
useful to e.g. unsighted users.
leif halvard silli
Received on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 00:23:34 UTC

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