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Re: Old technology, new techniques Re: 4.3

From: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 11:20:57 +0000
Cc: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>, WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1C490D8C-1DA7-11D8-AB58-0003939B5AD0@btinternet.com>

Chaals,

as usual on the button, but would add that it's not sufficient now to 
create accessible new technology and pages.
What is significant is the need for simple and good authoring tools.
Unfortunately there still isn't a great html authoring tool, smirk kind 
of looks promising. jsketch is great for SVG.

But, and many of you may not credit this, but publishing is still a 
very complex issue.

Teaching staff at our college after 2 years working on peepo, have not 
really come to terms with the reality of the separation of these two 
activities. Indeed that college doesn't have the skill set to manage 
there own site and farms this out.
creating a navigeable site is just not trivial. SVG does nothing to 
improve this issue, which is a fundamental barrier to public access.

Accessibility has to mean good tools for publishing complex sites, and 
it doesn't yet.
We haven't developed the lexicon that describes what a site is, and so 
it's still a dream.

thanks


On Saturday, November 22, 2003, at 03:01  am, Charles McCathieNevile 
wrote:

>
> There is a tension here that has resisted simple attempts to resolve 
> it. I
> will begin with an example of the problem, and follow with some 
> thoughts on
> what a solution might look like (since I don't have a clear and 
> polished
> answer).
>
> SVG, a moderately new technology (the first implementations are only 
> about 5
> years old, and the finished recommendation is only a couple of years 
> old),
> has been described by one accessibility expert as "vapourware" - i.e. 
> not
> suitable for making content available.
>
> On the other hand, it has the ability to encode beautiful graphics, 
> nice
> fonts with cool artistic effects, or what I would think of as hideously
> unclear pictures which obfuscate the idea they convey in a swirling 
> miasma of
> animation effects and groovy filters, in a way that allows for 
> conformant
> user agents to provide the clear accessible version of the information 
> that
> the author included. (The SVG specification has formal accessibility
> requirements in its conformance section, and there is information 
> around on
> ways to make it happen).
>
> Should authors avoid SVG? Should we "de-invent" it, and stick with the 
> old
> raster formats that don't provide these accessibility features?
>
> Should we require people to work with the real-world mess of broken 
> browsers?
> South America has a lot of people using email-based browsers, or 
> windows 95
> or 98 with a version of Internet Explorer 5, or Netscape 4?
>
> Or should we say "while there are only 7 people in the world with a 
> working
> implementation of the format exampleML, it is very much better for
> accessibility than what is commonly used, so feel free to use it and 
> claim
> your content is accessible"?
>
> It seems to me valuable to work with things that are available.
> People developing for a new technology may not be creating content 
> that is
> generally accessible, but content that will be more accesible in the 
> (near?)
> future. People who ignore new features that are developed, and which 
> don't
> have any ill effect when not supported, are in my opinion slowing the
> development of accessibility.
>
> The difficulty is finding a reasonable definition of when it is 
> reasonable to
> use a new technology that is not backwards compatible. Or saying it 
> another
> way, how much implementation in browsers, and how much do those 
> browsers need
> to be used in the real world, is required for something to be useful? 
> I don't
> think that "specified in a W3C recommendation" is sufficient to meet 
> the
> requirements. Nor does it make sense to me that "works in Netscape 3" 
> is a
> requirement.
>
> So I think a working approach would specify how to decide what level of
> implementation is necessary. Perhaps none - if the working group 
> decides it
> doesn't matter whether tools are available to actual humans. Examples 
> that
> have been proposed include whether something is available for two 
> languages,
> or two operating systems, or for free, etc. Similarly, it should 
> describe
> some way of determining what technology does not need to be supported
> (assuming the working group believes there is some technology in this
> category).
>
> So Joe is right that it is important to encourage development of newer 
> and
> better technology, but I think it is not necessarily a good idea to 
> assume
> that something is accessible just because it could be if people had 
> the right
> software. I suspect finding a reasonable balance is going to be 
> difficult -
> and "ask an expert" is probably not sufficiently specified to put in 
> the
> guidelines...
>
> cheers
>
> Chaals
>
> On Thu, 20 Nov 2003, Joe Clark wrote:
>
>>> Moving on to checkpoint 4.3 -
>>> Assure that technologies required to render the content are listed 
>>> and
>>> widely available -- OR -- Use widely available technologies to render
>>> content, and list the technologies that are required [level 2 
>>> guideline]
>>
>> A terrible idea. Some ancient HTML techniques, like <a rel> or <a 
>> type>,
>> are virtually unsupported. And now we're going to limit what future
>> technologies people can use?
>>
>> Why not just de-invent the Web?
> [etc]
>
>
Jonathan Chetwynd
http://www.peepo.co.uk
"A web by people with learning difficulties"
Received on Sunday, 23 November 2003 06:15:44 GMT

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