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title attribute, accessibility support and sufficient techniques

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 18:39:23 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org


In July, we discussed the new technique H89 (Using the title 
attribute to provide context-sensitive help, for SC 3.3.5) [1]. 
Because of problems with user agent support, we published it as an 
additional technique instead of a sufficient technique.
However, access to the title attribute is a problem for keyboard 
users without AT, so accessibility support is problematic for some 
techniques that rely on title attributes.
Some techniques have detailed "User Agent and Assistive Technology 
Support Notes". However, during a recent discussion on a mailing list 
I noticed that people don't always give these notes sufficient 
attention to see whether a technique is safe to use.
I would propose that any technique with problematic AT and UA support 
gets a more prominent note saying that it relies on 
accessibility-support for the features it relies upon (in this case 
the title attribute).
For example, for techniques that rely on the title attribute, this 
note would say: "This technique is only sufficient if the title 
attribute is accessibility supported. The content of the title 
attribute needs to be available to all keyboard users (not only those 
with text-to-speech software) for this attribute to be accessibility 

The following techniques rely on a title attribute that cannot be 
accessed by keyboard users without TTS:
* H33: Supplementing link text with the title attribute
* H89: Using the title attribute to provide context-sensitive help
* H28: Providing definitions for abbreviations by using the abbr and 
acronym elements (part of the technique)
(There may be more; these are just the most obvious ones.)

Best regards,


[1] <http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/35422/20080724misc/results#xtitle>

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
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Received on Friday, 14 November 2008 17:40:08 UTC

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