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Comments on HTML author guidelines

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 14:40:59 +1100 (AEDT)
To: HTML Guidelines Working Group <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.980124141421.15899A-100000@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
1. I agree with the name change: these guidelines are for the most part
specific to HTML. At a later stage, we shall need to consider whether
separate guidelines need to be written in relation to XML resources.

2. The guidelines provide an example of an image map in which the
coordinates of the active regions are given in anchor elements, as
permitted by HTML 4.0. This version of HTML also allows block-level
content to be included in MAP. The example could be enriched by providing
a more detailed description of the library within the MAP element, such as
would appear from the image map (for example, a brief synopsis of the
layout of certain facilities).

3. The guidelines suggest taking advantage of the media attribute of the
LINK element to facilitate automatic retrieval of "text only" alternative
documents, where these are deemed necessary. While I would not disapprove
of this approach, I would emphasise that alternative pages should be
avoided wherever possible. As Daniel has correctly stated on more than one
occasion, the goal of the WAI is for there to be a single document which
can be rendered in different media with equal success. In relation to the
technical side of this proposal, the HTML 4.0 specification (at 6.13)
defines a media type of "aural" for speech synthesizers, rather than
"speech" as is incorrectly claimed in the guidelines. Also, to encompass
all types of non-graphical devices, the MEDIA value should read:
media="aural, braille, tty".

4. A "tips and tricks" note could be added to the discussion of ALT text
to assist authors in deciding what to write as a label or description of
the image. Perhaps a good test would be as follows: if you were reading
the document aloud over the telephone, what would you say upon
encountering this image to make the page comprehensible to the listener?
Aim for a functional and contextualized label or description rather than a
visual description. This suggestion is based on a comment made by Al
Gilman a number of months ago.
Received on Friday, 23 January 1998 22:41:24 UTC

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