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Re: Why I don't attend the weekly teleconference (Was: Input on the agenda)

From: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 11:57:48 -0500
Message-Id: <5.1.1.6.2.20090630115502.0b7a3d88@mail.muzmo.com>
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Cc: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>,public-html@w3.org
David, I don't know why you failed to respond to this part of what I wrote. 
I think that you should read and respond to this part because you seem to 
be voicing a tension that appears to be a straw man.

At 02:53 PM 6/29/2009 +0100, David Singer wrote:

>I think part of the problem on the alternatives may be another unvoiced 
>tension, which is roughly as follows.
>
>Some people seem to feel that accessibility provisions should be 
>specifically and only targeted for accessibility -- e.g. an attribute that 
>no-one else ever sees or uses.  Others wonder, since most web authors 
>don't use accessibility provisions, whether accessibility provisions that 
>web authors don't see are unlikely to be supported by them very well, if 
>at all (and indeed, that they are highly unlikely to check how effective 
>or even correct they are).

Please allow me to try to correct your understanding on that...

What I have heard, repeatedly, from accessibility people is that they 
recognize that some of the special provisions that are provided for their 
benefit can be a burden to those who derive no benefit. Moreover, they have 
learned that it is important to find solutions to their problems that 
provide ancillary benefits to others, such as curb cuts. With respect to 
longdesc and summary, I will make the following observations.

Longdesc is intended to hold a long description of a graphic element which 
contains information sufficient to allow a non-sighted user to appreciate 
the intent or content of the graphic element. Ideally, there would be no 
more information in the long description than is discernible by a sighted 
user. Having some experience with publishing, they have acknowledged that 
placing such information in the main stream of content, or in a caption as 
has been suggested, would be more of a speed bump than a curb cut for 
sighted users. So, they have allowed as how the content of a longdesc need 
not be displayed to all users at all times, but I have never heard anybody 
suggest that a long description should not be made available to sighted users.

Summary is intended to a) a quick summary of a table, such as you or I 
might gain by simply glancing at it without examining the content closely, 
such as 'A price chart of teas and coffees' or b) a navigational aid to the 
table, such as 'This is a complex table with headers spanning several rows 
and columns. The prices of tea are presented in columns 3 and 4. The prices 
of coffee are presented in column 6, [and so on].' Again, one suspects that 
sighted users would not need or want such a summary, but I don't think that 
anybody has suggested that they should not or must not have it.
Received on Tuesday, 30 June 2009 16:23:24 UTC

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