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RE: feedback on the techniques for authoring tools Accessibility April 21st, 2000 working draft

From: Heather Swayne <hswayne@microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 4 May 2000 12:12:53 -0700
Message-ID: <3C3175FCC945D211B65100805F1580890D3D2208@RED-MSG-07>
To: Authoring Tools Guidelines List <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
Not surprisingly my main concerns are with prompting and alerting the
author, but I would like to start off with some generall comments before
discussing this topic further.
 
Word choice:
             In general I prefer statements like "allow authors to", "at a
minimum", "can be", "provide" and "provide a mechanism for authors".  These
types of comments are used throughout the techniques documents, which makes
the goals of the authoring tools guidelines very clear.
             Within the appendix on prompting, section 3.4 Alerts, the first
sentence on intrusive alerts -- intrusive alerts can be messages or dialogs
that interrupt the editing process for the author.
 
Guideline 4:
             The general descriptive text at the beginning of this guideline
does a nice job of describing configurability, but the following 2
techniques feel like you're forcing very specific actions:
*	Highlight problems detected when documents are opened, when an
editing or insertion action is completed, or while an author is editing.
Using CSS classes to indicate accessibility problems will enable the author
to easily configure the presentation of errors.  
*	Alert authors to accessibility problems when saving.
 
Guideline 5:
             In the general descriptive text at the beginning of this
guideline, I would suggest pointing out that software applications that
integrate new features into the current usage patterns of their users (as
opposed to creating entirely new methods for their users to accomplish a
task) are more successful at getting users to discover and use these new
features.  New features that require training, additional divergent steps,
or changes to the users current patterns are generally unsuccessful.
 
Guideline 7:
             Does not include a reference to the MSAA implementation
guidelines, although they are listed in the reference section of the
techniques guideline.  I'm not sure if this is an oversight, or was
deliberately left out.
 
Prompting:
             Based on the current discussion in the working group about
default settings and configurability, I would like to point out the
following two quotes within, the techniques documents:
Guideline 5: "The default installation of the authoring tool should include
all accessibility features enabled. The author may have the option to
disable these features later on."
Guideline 3: "Note: The term "default" implies that the alternative
information is offered for the author's approval. The term does not imply
that the default alternative information is automatically placed without the
author's approval."
 
             To further help this discussion I thought it would be helpful
to list all the times the techniques documents requires the user to be
prompted.  This list was compiled by searching for all uses of "prompt",
"ask the author", "ask authors", and "ask for".
 
Accessibility problems should be detected automatically where possible.
Where this is not possible, the tool may need to
<http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-AUTOOLS-TECHS/#def-prompt> prompt the author to
make decisions or to manually check for certain types of problems.
 
IMAGES:
*	When a multimedia object is inserted, prompt the author for relevant
alternatives: functional replacement and long description for images, text
captions (as text or as a URI), video of signed translations for audio, and
audio descriptions for video (as well as alternatives for its audio
components). 
*	When video is inserted, prompt the author for a still image as part
of the alternative information. 
*	For example,  <http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-AUTOOLS-TECHS/#def-prompt>
prompt the author for a
<http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-AUTOOLS-TECHS/#def-alt-eq> text equivalent of an
image. If the author has already provided a text equivalent for the same
image used in another document, offer to reuse that text and prompt the
author for confirmation. If the tool automatically generates a "Search"
icon, it would be appropriate to automatically reuse the previously authored
text equivalent for that icon.
*	Items used throughout a Website, such as graphical navigation bars,
should have standard alternative information. However the author should be
prompted to edit or approve this the first time it is used in a site, and
when the destination of the links is changed by the author. 
*	Maintain a database registry that associates object identity
information with alternative information. Whenever an object is used and an
equivalent alternative is provided, ask the author whether they want to add
the object (or identifying information) and the alternative information to
the database. In the case of a
<http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-AUTOOLS-TECHS/#def-alt-eq> text equivalent, the
alternate information may be stored in the document source. For more
substantial information (such as video captions or audio descriptions), the
information may be stored externally and linked from the document source.
Allow different alternative information to be associated with a single
object. 
*	The AIMM  <http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-AUTOOLS-TECHS/#ref-APROMPT>
[APROMPT] should maintain a list of associations between object file names
and authored responses to prompts for alternative information (per
<http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-AUTOOLS-TECHS/#check-provide-missing-alt>
checkpoint 3.1). The alternative information may take the form of short
strings (i.e., "alt"-text) or pointers to descriptive files (i.e.,
"longdesc", transcripts, etc.). Multiple associations for the same object
for different languages or contexts should also be handled.
*	Where scripts change the src attribute of images, prompt the author
to include changes in the alt attribute or element content. 
 
IMAGE MAP:
*	Use the same User interface for server and client side image map
creations, including prompting for alternatives for each region. Use
alternatives provided to generate redundant text-based links for server-side
maps. 
*	Prompt for text which describes the range and the effect of possible
coordinate entries, and generate an alternative, form-based entry system.
*	Ask the author to identify regions in an image map, or to describe
how the coordinates will be used so that a form-based input method can be
generated.
 
LANG:
*          In Japanese, Chinese, and other appropriate languages, prompt the
author for text that can be used as a ruby for unusual ideographs or
ideographic groups. Refer to
<http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-AUTOOLS-TECHS/#ref-RUBY> [RUBY]. 
*          Prompt the author (and allow them to specify a default
suggestion) for the language of a document. 
*	Ask the author to identify the language of any document. Provide a
mechanism for setting a default.
*          Where there is a change in the writing script used, prompt the
author to identify whether there has been a change in language
 
ABBREVIATIONS:
*	Recognize collections of uppercase letters as likely abbreviations
(in languages that have case) and prompt the author for an expansion, to be
provided in markup (e.g., in HTML, with abbr or acronym). 
*	Provide a dictionary mechanism that recognizes abbreviations and
prompts the author to include appropriate markup.
*	Ask the author to provide an expansion for abbr and acronym elements
or confirm that a previously supplied one should be used again.
*	Prompt for an abbreviated form of each table header (th)
 
GENERAL:
*          Prompt the author to identify the structural role of content that
has been emphasized through styling. 
*          Prompt the author for header information for tabular data. 
*          Prompt the author to identify a class, or markup element for uses
of color.
*          Prompt the author to provide text which can be used as a title
for a link. 
*          Ask authors for information about a page or site. If its function
is known (see also WCAG checkpoint 13.9) add this information as metadata. 
*          Prompt the author to provide a link or content describing the
structure of the site, and its accessibility features.
*          Pattern-matching - ask authors to specify the role of pages
linked from a navigation bar. 
*          Where common names are used (search, home, map) as links, ask the
author to confirm these functions for use in linking. 
*          Where material appears within quote marks ask the author if this
is a quotation. 
 

HTML 

TAGS:
*	prompt for longdesc and alt for img elements 
*	prompt for alt for area elements 
*	prompt for text transcript for audio objects. 
*	prompt for collated text transcript for movies. 
*	Where there are more than 10 choices in a list (select, checkbox or
radio boxes) ask the author to identify subgroups 
*	Ask authors to specify an accesskey for links that appear common to
a number of pages 
*	Where a link or active element will spawn a new window, prompt the
author for title text to make this clear. 
*	Ask authors if lists of links are a group and should be a map. 
*	Where a PRE element is used with substantial punctuation and
non-words, ask for text alternative.
*	Ask authors to mark explicitly the labels for form inputs (input and
textarea elements) 
*	Prompt the author for default place-holder text. Offer the value of
the name attribute as a default. 
*	where regions are not easily defined, ask the author to provide
information that can be used to generate a form-based input method and
explains how the coordinates input will be used. For example, on a map the
input might be used to lookup latitude and longitude of a point and then
give information about that point.
TABLES:
*	Ask the author to group columns, rows, or blocks of cells that are
related.
*	Prompt the author to identify tables which are used as layout
devices. 
FRAMES:
*	Prompt the author for a short, human-readable title for each frame.
Default text presented in the prompt could use the title defined for the
document referenced in the src 
*	Prompt the author for a longdesc for each frame in a frameset. 
*	Prompt the author to add a noframes section to the frameset.
Encourage the author to include sufficient links to navigate the site, and
relevant information. For example, where a frameset defines a navigation
frame and a welcome page, include the content of each of these frames in the
noframes. 
*	Ask the author for: 
*	appropriate links and content to include in a noframes element 
*	a server-side alternative to applets and script functions 
SCRIPT:
*	Ask for equivalents for scripts, and applets, for example a movie
(and collated text transcripts, audio, etc) 
*	Prompt for server-side alternatives for scripts and applets
*	Prompt for noscript content for each script. 
*	Prompt for alternative content for applets and programmatic objects
(for example object elements which have a code attribute). 
 
HTML (relying on lowsrc attribute - not in W3C recommendation) 
*          Prompt for a non-animated "lowsrc" version of animated images. 
SMIL 
*	Prompt for alt, longdesc, a text or textstream object for audio,
image and video objects 
*	Prompt the author to provide an audio track that includes
description, if necessary with an alternative version of the video. 
Vector images 
*	Use SVG, and prompt the author to provide appropriate title and desc
elements for each g element. 
SVG 
*          Prompt for a title and desc for each g group 
*          Prompt for appropriate changes to title and desc elements which
are children of the target of an animate.
SVG, XHTML 
*	Where SMIL animation is used, prompt the author to ensure that desc
and title elements are appropriately updated by the animation 
Text / hypertext 
*	Prompt the author to identify headings and subheadings 
Applet development 
*          Prompt the author to include device-independent means of
activation
 
 
Heather Swayne
Program Manager
Microsoft Accessibility and Disabilities Group
Microsoft Office Liaison
 
Received on Thursday, 4 May 2000 18:08:55 UTC

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