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RE: Conformance Testing Proposal (and area+alt)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2004 00:29:57 -0400 (EDT)
To: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Cc: David Dorward <david@us-lot.org>, WAI WCAG List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.55.0404060023240.27749@homer.w3.org>

On Mon, 5 Apr 2004, John M Slatin wrote:
[snip]
>Chris' proposal that we require redundant text links for image
>maps (whether server- or client-side) *for now* seems like bringing the
>dread "until user agents" clauses back in through the back door even
>though we've tried hard to keep them out of the guidelines themselves.
>
>If Chris was proposing a candidate for a technology-specific checklist
>with a built-in mandate for change as user agents change, then the
>checklist shouldn't be normative (because adding new requirements would
>trigger the whole W3C process). But if the checklists aren't normative
>then they aren't reliable bases for conformance claims.

The W3C process is reasonably clear if you have carefully addressed the needs
of the community and have clear, testable implemented specifications that you
can agree on. It is even fairly rapid.

If Chris' proposal were adopted, we could produce a list of checkpoints,
which we modify from time to time, and then each couple of years we could go
through a process of adding or removing points from the guidelines
Recommendation, or shifting their priority level  (if we stick with some
basic formmulation of priority level).

I think that changing it too fast does a disservice to the community which
equals the problems we cause by not updating things like the "until user
agents" stuff fast enough.

><wringing of hands>
>
>Is there an argument to be  made that redundant text links for image map
>areas provide an accessibility benefit, e.g., for users with learning
>disabilities? If so, I would find that a more convincing rationale than
>the argument that user agents don't behave properly.

Yes, in teh sense that iconic representations are almost never very clear. In
particular examples like state maps of the USA show cases where it can be
difficult to select Delaware even if you know where it is.

>But I would be concerned about the impact of such a requirement where
>there are large image maps with a considerable number of selectable
>areas-- for example, a map of Europe or the United States.

Yes, it is a pain to select from such a list. But not impossible. And I have
used sites that think it makes sense to put all the US states, all the
Candaian provinces, and then all the countries of the world in a single list.
Although there are better ways, and this is a horrible thing to work through,
it isn't impossible...

cheers

Chaals
Received on Tuesday, 6 April 2004 00:29:58 GMT

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