W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webapps@w3.org > July to September 2008

RE: Accessibility requirement

From: Cynthia Shelly <cyns@exchange.microsoft.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 13:22:30 -0700
To: Marcos Caceres <marcosscaceres@gmail.com>
CC: "public-webapps@w3.org" <public-webapps@w3.org>
Message-ID: <EC00246575819245B066C20F77051F2967C8AB2960@df-whippet-msg.exchange.corp.microsoft.com>

There are some things that are difficult to make accessible using only HTML, however most web content can be made accessible, even without ARIA, by simply using the closest matching HTML Semantics and triggering scripts from the onclick events of links.  Those things which can't be made accessible this way, I would argue, should not get a pass on accessibility.  They should be implemented using ARIA or another technology that allows them to be made accessible.  So, to give some concrete examples

A flyout menu can be made accessible using HTML 4.01 and script by carefully coding it as nested lists of links, with onclick handlers on the links that open the sub-menus.  Doing it this way instead of using clickable or hoverable divs is a fairly easy change to make, and can be done in a performant and usable way.

A spreadsheet, on the other hand, can't be modeled in HTML in a way that will be either usable or performant.  It requires ARIA (an accessible different RIA technology other than HTML) in order to be accessible.  HTML 4.01 is not an appropriate technology choice for this application.

If widgets were required to be accessible (MUST on both the accessibility and screenreader requirements, rather than SHOULD and MAY), both of the above could be built, but only the first could be built in plain HTML 4.01.  The second should not get a pass because of a poor choice of technology for the application.

-----Original Message-----
From: Marcos Caceres [mailto:marcosscaceres@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 3:50 AM
To: Cynthia Shelly
Cc: public-webapps@w3.org
Subject: Re: Accessibility requirement

On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 12:10 AM, Cynthia Shelly
<cyns@exchange.microsoft.com> wrote:
> Interesting...
> My experience has been that HTML 4.01 can be made accessible if it is carefully coded. WCAG 2.0 has many >techniques for this, including for scripted and styled content.  While it is true than many (possibly most) DHTML >applications have accessibility issues, I do not believe that this is the fault of the standard so much as the >authors.  Do you have examples of things that cannot be made accessible in HTML 4.01?

I agree in principle (though not with WCAG 2.0, but I don't want to
start a thread about WCAG 2.0 and accessibility).

I guess rather than writing out a list, I can simply cite the ARIA
spec [1] as it basically lists some of things that are missing for
accessibility in HTML4.01. Fortunately, ARIA has found a home in HTML5
but, from a standardization perspective, that's years away from
completion. Widgets, we assume/hope, we package HTML5 applications in
the future but we are standardizing, for better or for worsts, on
HTML4.01.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/
--
Marcos Caceres
http://datadriven.com.au
Received on Monday, 21 July 2008 20:23:17 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 26 March 2013 18:49:27 GMT