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PRI-9 LANG Attribute

From: eric hansen <ehansen@ets.org>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 15:30:40 -0400 (EDT)
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-id: <"vines.Bh0E+U,V7rA"@cips06.ets.org>
PRI-9 LANG Attribute

A previous memo from G. Vanderheiden says:

"An AC Member felt that checkpoint 4.1 should have the same priority as
checkpoint 4.3 which has a priority of 3.     They were aware of no browser
or assistive technologies that supported the LANG attribute today.  They
felt that marking a phrase with the LANG attribute will not  "make a
difference" until user agents support it - and should not therefore be
required above a priority 3 level."

Checkpoint 4.1 reads:

4.1 Clearly identify changes in the natural language of a document's text 
and any text equivalents (e.g., captions). [Priority 1] 
For example, in HTML use the "lang" attribute. In XML, use "xml:lang". 
Server operators should configure their server to take advantage of the 
content negotiation mechanisms of the HTTP protocol so that clients can 
automatically retrieve documents of the preferred language.
Techniques for checkpoint 4.1

My comment:

I favor a priority 3 rating, if the checkpoint is retained. The fact that 
violation of the checkpoint does not prevent access signals that it should 
not have a Priority 1. From the evidence cited on the list, it appears that 
adhering to the checkpoint will not remove "significant barriers" (Priority 
2). So I think that Priority 3 is the best. 

While I really like the idea behind checkpoints 4.1 and 4.3, I am concerned 
that they may lower the credibility of the document because they don't 
strike one as disability access issues. Generally, a disability access 
issue is one that affects individuals with disabilities much more than 
people without disabilities. That this is a disability issue is not as 
obvious as it is for most almost all other checkpoints. 

One technical issue that must be resolved for this checkpoint is how to 
note language changes within alt-text. 

If it were important to lighten the load upon Web content developers, I 
would tend to look at checkpoints 4.1 and 4.3 as possible candidates for 
deletion. I am not extremely confident that the accessibility gain is worth 
the work imposed upon Web content developers. If the gains are small, then 
checkpoints like these will discourage Web content developers from striving 
for triple-A conformance. 

Checkpoint 4.3 reads:

4.3 Identify the primary natural language of a document. [Priority 3] 
For example, in HTML, set the "lang" attribute on the HTML element. In XML, 
use "xml:lang". 
Techniques for checkpoint 4.3

Eric G. Hansen, Ph.D.
Development Scientist
Educational Testing Service
ETS 12-R
Rosedale Road
Princeton, NJ 08541
(W) 609-734-5615
(Fax) 609-734-1090
E-mail: ehansen@ets.org 
Received on Tuesday, 27 April 1999 16:08:09 UTC

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