W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 2001

Re: Navigation to Alternate HTML for Screen Readers

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2001 11:55:37 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Joe Clark <joeclark@contenu.nu>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, roerden@bedrockbarn.com, poehlman1@home.com
At 06:42 AM 10/6/2001 , Joe Clark wrote:
> From the CHI-Web mailing list:
>>Date:    Wed, 3 Oct 2001 06:38:42 -0400
>>From:    Doug Roerden <roerden@BEDROCKBARN.COM>
>>Does anyone know of any emerging standards (explicit or implicit) for how to quickly and easily direct screen-reader users to an alternate set of HTML?
>>Please send replies directly to me and I'll post a summary to the list.
>>Doug Roerden

Good question.  There's not any existing standards which I know of
which exactly address that.  With development of Composite Capabilities/
Preferences Profiles (CC/PP) there is some hope that user agents
(browsers, screenreaders in combination) will be able to self-identify
to the server.  If a server received a CC/PP profile that was
appropriate for a screenreader version of the site, it could deliver
that instead, automatically.

According to the HTML 4.01 spec (and thus the XHTML 1.0 as well),
alternate pages should be marked up with the <link> attribute, like

<link href="index.scr.html" rel="alternate" media="aural, braille">

The above says "there is an alternate version of the page intended
for speech synthesizers or Braille termials at index.scr.html."

To the best of my knowledge there aren't any screenreaders which
do anything with this information, but I would love to be pleasantly

Intelligent ways to switch between alternate user interfaces are
a main topic of development at Reef, my employer, so if you want to
talk off-list about what we're working on, you can email me at 

David Poehlman wrote:
>our standards are written to discourage their use.  AS for how to direct
>someone there you do it the same way you direct anyone else to anything
>else except that you make sure it is in text which you should at least
>add for everyone else anyway.

The standards do _not_ discourage their use.  The standards discourage
misuse of alternate HTML pages, and misuse is defined as "alternate
pages which get out of date, are not maintained, do not contain the
full information of the 'real pages' or are not accessible."

There is absolutely nothing in W3C WAI specifications which discourages
the use of alternate interfaces for specific uses, as long as content
is accessible.

Mechanisms for shifting views should be accessible as well; this goes
without saying I hope.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Received on Saturday, 6 October 2001 14:58:37 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:14 UTC