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Re: December 2, 2004 - Agenda == Issue 317

From: <Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 15:01:25 -0500
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFBE51E64C.74AC175D-ON85256F5E.005AEE60-85256F5E.006E4CBF@notesdev.ibm.com>
Regarding Issue 317 in the December 2, 2004 agenda:

>Issue 317
><http://trace.wisc.edu/bugzilla_wcag/show_bug.cgi?id=317> 
>Need to clarify the group's position on color. What are the Groups 
thoughts?

I looked through the comments in this issue and if you read the Success 
criteria literally, it seems like we are discouraging color for visual 
only effects.  The success criteria says, "Any information presented in 
color."  I'm not sure if that is what we really mean. For example, if I 
want to make the starting word or letter of each paragraph a different 
color, is there any accessibility reason for identifying that?  But this 
is "information presented in color" so according to the guideline it 
should be marked in more than just color.  I can argue that since the 
color change is made in markup and a user can make a screen reader speak 
the attributes of the text it does meet the guideline. But, I could argue 
the same thing for a label for a required form entry that I present in 
red, a screen reader can be made to speak the red attribute for the label 
giving me the same information as a user visually interacting with the 
page.   Is this accessible - I don't think so.

Thus, I think we need to rewrite the success criteria to specify that 
interactive or functional information presented in color must also be 
presented in an additional manner.  In the spirit of not criticizing 
without suggesting an alternative, I took a start at a rewrite:

<current wording>
Level 1 Success Criteria for Guideline 1.3
#3.  Any information presented through color is also available without 
color (for example, through context or markup or coding that does not 
depend on color). [I] 
Level 2 Success Criterion for Guideline 1.3
#1. Information presented using color is also available without color and 
without having to interpret markup (for example through context or text 
coding). [V] 
</current wording>

<proposed wording>
Level 1 Success Criteria for Guideline 1.3
#3. Any functional information differentiated by color is presented in a 
manner that does not rely on color alone.  For example, the distinction 
can additionally be determined through markup, context, characters or 
symbols that accompany the color presentation.
Note:  If markup is used, markup must be interpretable by a user agent so 
that the user doesn't have to look at markup to determine meaning.

Level 2 Success Criteria For Guideline 1.3
#1. Any functional  information differentiated using color is presented in 
a manner that does not rely on color alone and does not rely on 
interpreting markup.  For example the distinction can additionally be 
determined through context, characters, or symbols that accompany the 
color presentation.
</proposed wording>

Although I still think the Note in the Level 1 criterion about a user 
agent interpreting markup can be used as a loop hole because screen 
readers can be made to speak attributes. 

food for thought,
-becky


Becky Gibson
Web Accessibility Architect
                                                       
IBM Emerging Internet Technologies
5 Technology Park Drive
Westford, MA 01886
Voice: 978 399-6101; t/l 333-6101
Email: gibsonb@us.ibm.com
Received on Thursday, 2 December 2004 20:36:02 GMT

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