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RE: [techs] Acronyms and abbreviations

From: Ben Caldwell <caldwell@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 15:00:57 -0500
Message-Id: <200405182003.i4IK34ML028855@jalopy.cae.wisc.edu>
To: "'John M Slatin'" <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>


John wrote:

> Ben wrote:
> 
> <snip>
> At the same time, I think we need to be thinking about a solution that
> gives
> authors and users more options by working toward increasing
> responsibility for
> user agents to make the user aware that conditional content is present
> each time
> an element containing it is encountered. Not sure what to propose at the
> moment,
> </snip:
> 
> This is actually a very tricky proposition, too.  To take one example--
> that doesn't involve acronym or abbreviation--the current version of
> JAWS (5.0) announces mouseovers and clickable mouseovers by default.  It
> can be nice to know that there's something there, but it can also be
> crazy-making on pages where there are dozens of clickable mouseovers.  I
> have a very good verbal memory, but the constant refrain of "mouseover"
> and "clickable mouseover" drives everything else from my head.
> 

Agreed. The issue I was trying to get at was the case where conditional content
is rendered in place of the original. I believe that this approach presents a
significant barrier to the ability for an author to use conditional content at
all.

In the case of the title attribute, making it possible for a screenreader to
turn off or customize the way in which notifications about the existence of
conditional content are rendered isn't really any different than a sighted user
who chooses not to (or, for that matter, doesn't realize it is possible to)
hover their mouse pointer over the link, image, acronym, etc. elements. 

Perhaps it would have been better to say that we need to be thinking about a
solution where user agents provide an option to make the user aware that
conditional content is present. Does that help?

John also wrote:

> At any rate, the point is that there's a tradeoff between providing
> information about every element on the screen and generating Too Much
> Information, i.e., noise. This may be one of those things where we
> should actively encourage developers to conduct user testing, because
> the line between meaningful information and noise will move depending on
> the size and complexity of the page, the number of acronyms or other
> elements with additional information, etc.
> 

I totally agree that this kind of information overload can be problematic. I
know some audio browsers and screenreaders make these announcements less
obtrusive through the use of voice changes and or the insertion of customized
sounds. Perhaps another approach would be for the user agent to announce that
conditional content elements or attributes are used at the page level, letting
users know that they exist without repeating it over and over again.

-Ben
Received on Tuesday, 18 May 2004 16:04:45 GMT

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