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RE: Not described in words

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 10:01:23 -0500
Message-ID: <CCDBDCBFA650F74AA88830D4BACDBAB5130FA843@wdcrobe2m02.ed.gov>
To: "WCAG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

> 1) I haven't been able to find any gap between the two 
> definitions.  [snip] The two descriptions cover the same 
> ground as far as I could determine.  They were both 
> designed to describe the same set - "those things you 
> can't do from a keyboard".  But to do it in a more
> descriptive way.  Both should cover the same ground.  The 
> difference was in the ability to understand them or to 
> describe what causes something to not be 'do-able from a
> keyboard".

Does SC 2.1.1 cover *simple* drawing and paint operation within content or not?

I gave red-eye as one example before, but there are lots of other rather fundamental graphical operations (e.g. defining a mask) that require freehand input.  Those operations are reasonably useable with mouse emulators (including those driven by switch or voice) but *not* by keyboard (except mouse keys, which of course also emulates the mouse).  These same operations are also *not* particularly "time dependant" so they do not fall into the exception specified by 2.1.1.

The Preamble to 508 [1] makes it explicit that drawing and painting are not intended to be covered by 1194.21(a).

Also, on its face, SC 2.1.1 seems to exclude *all* keyboard accessible games that have timing as play element -- including those that are readily adapted for switch access or have auditory equivalent for someone who is blind -- even when that timing is quite flexible (and within the acceptable parameters needed to satisfy SC 2.2.1).

I respectfully suggest that the timing references be removed from SC 2.1.1.  This would leave it as:

All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface, except where the underlying task requires analog input.

> 4) As per the last phone call, "Discern" is the wrong word
> in any case.

As per the last phone call, I respectfully disagree.
dis·cern : to separate, distinguish between; 2: to recognize or identify as separate and distinct : discriminate <discern right from wrong>; 3: to come to know or recognize mentally <unable to discern his motives>; intransitive verb: to understand the difference

[1] http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/preamble.htm -- Somebody should really add intra-document anchors to this document...


Paragraph (a) requires that when software is designed to run on a system that has a keyboard, the software shall provide a way to control features which are identifiable by text, from the keyboard.  For example, if a computer program included a "print" command or a "save" command (both can be readily discerned textually), the program must provide a means of invoking these commands from the keyboard.  For people who cannot accurately control a mouse, having access to the software's controls through keyboard alternatives is essential.  For example, rather than pointing to a particular selection on the screen, a user may move through the choices in a dialogue box by pressing the tab key.  (See §1194.23(a)(4) and §1194.23(b)(1) in the NPRM.)

Comment.  The NPRM required that products must provide logical navigation among interface elements through the use of keystrokes.  Commenters questioned the meaning of "logical" and whether the provisions, as proposed, were requiring that each system have a keyboard.  Commenters were concerned that requiring that all features of every software program be accessible from a keyboard was not feasible because some programs that allow an individual to draw lines and create designs using a mouse could not be replicated with keystrokes.

Response.  This provision applies to products which are intended to be run on a system with a keyboard.  It does not require that a keyboard be added.  The term "logical navigation" has been deleted. Only those actions which can be discerned textually are required to be executable from a keyboard.  For example, most of the menu functions in common drawing programs that allow a user to open, save, size, rotate, and perform other actions on a graphic image can all be performed from the keyboard.  However, providing keyboard alternatives for creating an image by selecting a paintbrush, picking a color, and actually drawing a design would be extremely difficult.  Such detailed procedures require the fine level of control afforded by a pointing device (e.g., a mouse) and thus cannot be discerned textually without a lengthy description.  Accordingly, in the final rule, keyboard alternatives are required when the function (e.g., rotate figure) or the result of performing a function (e.g., save file confirmation) can be represented with words.

Received on Thursday, 8 March 2007 15:02:41 UTC

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