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Re: ASCII Ribbon Campaign

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 07:13:34 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200110310713.f9V7DYu04057@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> 
> Please excuse my ignorance, I lack a programing background and thought 
> someone on this list might have an answer.
> 
> The first word processor I used required the insertion of codes to 
> produce various effects - bold, italic words, etc.

This is one of the great problems for HTML, users try to use it that
way rather than introducing codes to indicate structural elements.

> This concept, if technically feasible, would allow the person creating 
> the content to control what text/graphics would be read by the screen 
> reader.

This can be done (the standard is almost 4 years old) using CSS2:

@media tactile, audio, tty {  /* braille, direct speech and indirect speech
                                 using text only and simple screen reader */
.eyecandy { display: none }   /* Do not render any content of the eyecandy class */
}

then putting class="eyecandy" in the start tags of elements containing
such noise components (possibly adding DIV or SPAN elements for this 
purpose).  Note that display: none supresses everything subordinate to
the element to which it is applied.

However it requires the use of the latest browsers with tools that are
not simple screen readers, but rather expensive accessibility aids that
interface with the browser to obtain information about the structure of
the document.  Many blind users would claim not to be able to afford 
such tools, certainly those in Access Technology's client groups wouldn't
be able to afford them.  General purpose screen readers will see the results
of interpreting the document with a media type of visual, and many who
use them with text only browsers will find that they don't implement 
style sheets (support for style sheets needs large internal changes on
projects maintained by a handful of people in spare time, and most styling
cannot be represented in text only, anyway).

Moreover, the singular failure of authors to use alt attributes, which
can go a long way towards de-cluttering the text, or to linearise their
text into proper reading order (which will still be necessary) does not
bode well for them marking up HTML in such a way.
 
> All a person would have to do would be to insert a specific start and 
> stop command to instruct screen reading software to skip the content 
> between these commands.

Note that HTML requires that structures nest, even if early commercial
browsers encouraged "tag soup" coding in which they didn't nest.
Received on Wednesday, 31 October 2001 02:13:40 GMT

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