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Re: [#832] Clear link text - priority and acceptability of supplemental text

From: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 18:01:26 -0400
Message-Id: <p0611040bbcfcfd652fc2@[10.0.1.2]>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

This is a good discussion to be having.

At 4:35 PM -0400 6/21/04, Michael Cooper wrote:
>The requirement to make clear link text is currently a Level 3 success
>criterion
>[1]. In my opinion this should be a level 1. In discussion with the
>techniques
>task force, we thought it might be a level 3 because of the possibility to
>use
>supplemental text to clarify the link (e.g., the "title" attribute in HTML).
>But
>for that to work, we need to know that the supplemental text will be
>presented
>to the user when needed. But the UAAG [2] does not provide a single mandate
>for
>how this is to be accomplished, and further permits supplemental text to be
>presented instead of the orginal text, not just alongside.

Please cite more specific language -- OK, I found it.

<quote cite=
"http://www.w3.org/TR/UAAG10/guidelines.html#tech-conditional-content">

If C is a summary, title, alternative, description, or expansion of
another piece of content D, provide access through at least one of
the following mechanisms:
(1a) render C in place of D;

</quote>

Here you are stuck between natural and format-syntax uses of the term 'title.'

In this context in the UAAG I would want to say that unless the html:a.title
attribute contains a sufficient link text in and of itself, it is not 
a 'title' in the
sense of the 'if' clause in Checkpoint 2.3.

The UAAG did not mean to authorize D to be replaced by C unless the value
of C is a fit replacement for D.  But the format specifications do 
not always give us
clear and enforced definitions of when this true.

The title attribute in HTML is a case in point.

Most web-authoring practice at the present time places supplemental
information, not a fit substitiute, in the 'title' attribute of HTML
elements because of the widespread browser practice of displaying the
value of the 'title' attribute as a transient annotation when the
pointer hovers over the display region of an element with a 'title'
attribute set.

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ua/2003JanMar/0054.html

I don't know if we should seek a formal clarification from HTML WG or 
not on this.

However I would recommend that we in WAI adopt the position that 'advisory'
as stated in the HTML 4.01 specification means 'supplemental' and fails the
'if' clause in the above UAAG section.  That is to say this 'title' 
is not a 'title'
in the sense of the 'if' clause guarding method (1a).

The language in the HTML 4.01 specification, while vague, suggests that they
anticipated speaking the a.title value in addition to the a.content 
value and not
in place of the latter.  The probem is that one can't author for both.

At the least we should edit the UAAG techniques accordingly and run this
by HTML WG for their comment.

Let me back off a bit.  I think that any resolution on this point that we want
to promulgate be run by the screen reader vendors and we actually get
them to think about it for reasonableness as they see their users and the
content they are stuck processing.

Al

>We are unsure of
>the
>implications of this for the clear link text requirement and the use of the
>"title" attribute to fulfill that requirement in HTML.
>
>I propose that the requirement for clear link text be moved to level 1.
>Specific
>mechanisms for achieving that should be left to technology-specific
>techniques,
>though it would be useful if the guidelines would comment on the role of
>features like the "title" attribute in HTML for meeting this requirement.
>This
>may require coordination with the User Agent group.
>
>[1]
>http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/WD-WCAG20-20040602.html#consistent-behavior-
>target-identified
>[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/UAAG10/guidelines.html#tech-conditional-content
>
>--- Signature ---
>
>Michael Cooper
>Accessibility Product Manager, Watchfire
>1 Hines Rd Suite 200, Kanata, ON  K2K 3C7  Canada
>Tel: +1 (613) 599-3888 x4019
>Fax: +1 (613) 599-4661
>Email: michaelc@watchfire.com
>Web: http://www.watchfire.com/
Received on Monday, 21 June 2004 18:01:59 GMT

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