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An example of a letter identifying a problem in a site

From: Wayne Dick <wed@csulb.edu>
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2009 17:06:11 -0700
Message-ID: <4A5928F3.3050800@csulb.edu>
To: Shawn Henry <shawn@w3.org>
CC: "EOWG (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Hi everyone.  I will send this 
but I'd like your comments. 
I'm assuming I will be sending 
this to someone with technical 
knowledge, so I can be fairly 
precise. For another audience 
I would be less technical. 
Here it is.


Dear w3c,

I am writing to report a 
serious problem for me 
throughout your site.  You use 
the "pre" element to present 
data in a format where the 
structure and meaning of 
visual relationships cannot be 
determined programmatically 
(WCAG 2, 1.3.1).

Consider the example of an 
element definition, 
With a default font size of 26 
pixels horizontal scrolling is 
a necessity.  26 pixels is a 
minimal enlargement necessity 
for individuals with low 
vision due to impaired visual 
acuity-- like me.  With a 
document of this exactness the 
distraction caused by 
horizontal scrolling may 
interfere substantially with 

Scrolling is the least of the 
problems.  The issue is that, 
meaning in this DTD is depends 
on position and font style. 
It could be interpreted well 
if the grammar and Syntax 
Directed Translation the 
authors assumptions were give 
as part of the html language. 
   It is not. Due to the 
status of the "pre" element 
the browser has no facility to 
interpret this.  Assistive 
technology would have the same 

I interpret the "pre" code for 
the DTD fragment to be an 
unordered list of lists, a 
definition list, or a data 
table with missing headings. 
For me any of the list 
interpretations would suffice 
to read in large print.  It 
would also work for listening. 
  To use tables you would need 
column headings, a piece of 
content that might add bulk 
without meaning.

In conclusion, I do not think 
you should rewrite the W3C 
site to comply with WCAG 2.0 
level A.  Maybe you could work 
an accessible format for code 
and use it in the future. 
This code would use html 
grammatical structure to 
clarify the meaning of 
position and style.

Wayne Dick, Professor
Department of Computer 
Engineering and Computer Science,
California State University, 
Long Beach
Invited Expert, EOWG-WAI
Received on Sunday, 12 July 2009 00:06:48 UTC

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