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Re: fear of "invisible metadata"

From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 10:20:33 +0100
Message-ID: <467A42E1.4050502@cfit.ie>
To: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Cc: Ben Boyle <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>, "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, public-html@w3.org

Robert Burns wrote:

> In general, its good to provide semantic elements that are universally
> consumable. However, that is not always the case. For visual media
> (including tables), there are certain semantics that a visual user agent
> makes immediately available to a sighted user that it can't make
> available to visually impaired users. image@alt, image@longdesc,
> table@summary and table > summary are all ways of adding information
> that a sighted user already has access to. For example a picture of "a
> snowcapped mountain with a forest in the foreground and a brilliant
> orange sun setting to the right of the mountain peak." is not the type
> of description one would put in the caption/legend of the photo. It is
> already apparent to the sighted user.
> 
> So these inherently visual elements have associated elements for
> universal descriptions (caption, legend). However, when (one needs or
> wants to provide additional semantics to the non-sighted user, these
> other mechanisms exist. Used properly, the sighted user will not be
> interested in reading the long description (except to make changes or
> otherwise review it). 

Thats all good Rob.

>We should try to provide mechanisms for universal
> access where possible. 

I agree, but and here is the rub, the devil is in the details. While
Universal Access sounds great - and I am an advocate for it - I am aware
that for it to work. and not be anything more than an empty slogan,
there are very specific use-cases, edge cases and exceptions to every
rule that have to be considered in a a concrete way or the whole thing
is an illusion.

>However, we should also continue the practice of
> providing other alternate mechanisms for improving accessibility.

Absolutely, but not at the expense of what has been proven to work and
what is already widely supported (not that you are suggesting this but
that point has to be reiterated again and again).

Cheers

Josh
Received on Thursday, 21 June 2007 09:20:50 GMT

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