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Re: Navigation to Alternate HTML for Screen Readers

From: Jim Ley <jim@jibbering.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2001 22:07:51 +0100
Message-ID: <007e01c14eae$82e05320$4b3c70c2@7020CT>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> 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.
> >>
>
> 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.

There is no support for CC/PP available, without any there it cannot be
used or suggested as solution in the guidelines, pie in the sky
suggestions only mislead people, there IMO must be support before it finds
its way into the guidelines...  (in any case UA's can do almost everything
that CC/PP can provide without any of the CC/PP drawbacks.)

> 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
> this:
>
> <link href="index.scr.html" rel="alternate" media="aural, braille">
>
> To the best of my knowledge there aren't any screenreaders which
> do anything with this information, but I would love to be pleasantly
> surprised.

A trivial extension of IE could do this for all IE based screen readers,
and any screen readers using the other browsers with native support
(Latest Mozilla builds, lynx, erm...)  Or of course a simple proxy.

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

There are a number of areas that I see cover it.  If you use HTML4.01, and
follow the WAI guidelines, there aren't any situations that I can see
where an "aural, braille" alternative page can be warranted, HTML4.01 has
sufficient mechanisms in it to make the page accessible to that audience.
If that page is not accessible then you've failed to use the technology
properly.

Outside of HTML, alternate representations obviously have their uses, but
outside of HTML we don't have the LINK object to provide the alternate
representations, and if they were embedded in the page, we can use
standard HTML to present the alternate content.

I believe it should discouraged not only because of the maintenance issue,
but also simply because it's only used by authors who have categorised
accessibility, i.e. they've made the page content available to screen
readers, when it would've been better if they'd made the content
accessible.

Jim
Received on Saturday, 6 October 2001 17:32:32 GMT

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