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HTML Techniques: General comments on July draft

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 12:09:53 -0500
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A03B52138@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
General comments on HTML Techniques

Draft at


The following are some points that apply to the document as a whole;
I've made some notes on specific items as well and will send those along
when they're more intelligible.


The comments here refer to section headings and navigation through the
document, task definitions, and aligning terminology across the set of

Section headings and navigation

The section headings in the HTML Techniques document don't easily
support navigation by headings-a user technique that is explicitly
mentioned in the HEADINGS section as a reason to use <h1>-<h6>. 


For example, the term METADATA is a level 2 heading. The items under it
are identified first by number rather than by element or attribute name,
etc. Thus I can bring up JAWS' headings list (Ins+F6) and press
M+<enter> to jump straight to the METADATA section, but pressing T
doesn't take me to the sub-section about the TITLE element (which is a
level 3 heading that begins with the number 1.2, so I'd have to remember
to press "1" to get there the headings list). pressing "T" does take me
to the section called Task, and to the section headed "This technique
relates to...".  But the document contains a great many sections with
these headings-one of each for every technique in the document! 


Numbering also comes into this. For example, a section called
Navigational Supports follows the Metadata section; both are tagged as
<h2>.  The items listed under the Navigational Supports heading are
tagged as <h3> and numbered from 2.1 forward. But the Metadata and
Navigational Supports headings are not numbered, so it's a surprise to
hear those numbers beginning with 2.x...


Task definitions/descriptions

There are a number of "Tasks" that are defined in negative terms.  For
example, the Task for item 2.1 META redirect is defined as follows: 


Do not create a timed redirect.


Negative definitions like this (or like the one called "Use
non-deprecated presentational markup") are very confusing.  From the
developer's standpoint the task is actually to redirect the user/browser
to another location. If META redirect is not the appropriate way to do
it, it shouldn't be listed as if it were a valid technique like the
other techniques discussed in the document. 


If the task is defined at a slightly higher level of abstraction
(Redirect the user agent to another location), then the document can
define appropriate techniques or link to the appropriate techniques in
another document (for example, if there are no acceptable HTML
Techniques for redirection, the document should say so and redir-uh,
point the reader to the right document).


This brings me to a more general suggestion, consider providing a Tasks
View of the techniques documents, to aid developers in finding the
techniques most directly relevant to what they're trying to accomplish.
(This is comparable to the way the mail archives can be viewed by
author, subject, thread, etc., etc.) The current organization of the
document is convenient for people creating and maintaining the document,
but it isn't user-centered.

Align terminology to GL doc

As with the Gateway techniques document, we'll need to make sure the
terminology is consistent from document to document. Guideline 1.1 now
refers to "text alternatives" rather than "text equivalents," and we
should try to make the terminology match up. There may be other places
where this issue comes up-this is the main one I've noticed so far.


"Good design is accessible design."

Dr. John M. Slatin, Director 
Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin 
FAC 248C 
1 University Station G9600 
Austin, TX 78712 
ph 512-495-4288, fax 512-495-4524 
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu 
Web  <http://www.ital.utexas.edu/>

Received on Thursday, 29 July 2004 13:11:53 UTC

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