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Re: Thorny one - representing greek letters and formulae in an english page

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2002 11:11:22 -0500 (EST)
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0202091109480.13175-100000@tux.w3.org>
Actually if you are looking for MathML support it is there for using with
assistive technologies now. (At the moment via plugins ather than standard in
IE, but there are a lot of things IE isn't, and only a few things it is -
just as you don't use Word for reading the Web, it doesn't mean much that IE
only reads HTML.

Have a look at the MathML pages, they have a fairly comprehensive
implementation report for MathML 2.0.

Charles McCN

On Sat, 9 Feb 2002, David Woolley wrote:

  > One of our accessibility-course delegates has come up with something =
  > that has me stumped at this stage:  they want to represent greek letters =

  For heavy maths, I think I would suggest the current best approach
  would be to author in TeX  or eqn/troff formats and provide both
  source and PDF versions.  These are mark up languages that are designed
  for maths, if reasonably laid out, will degrade to plain text in the
  same way that HTML does (HTML seems to have been influenced by them
  in some ways).

  (I suspect that they are actually less noisy than Math-ML when treated
  as plain text.)

  If HTML is mandated, for heavy maths, I would suggest capturing an
  image of the relevant part of the PDF page and including the TeX or
  eqn source as alt text, although one might consider using the Greek
  entities, rather than the original names for those characters.

  I suspect that, even if Math-ML gets widespread support in visual
  browsers, it will not be supported in assistive technology except as
  raw XML.  While it may make machine processing and scaleable visual
  presentation easier, it may not have much impact on accessiblity.

  Of course, if browsers implemented HTML 4, you could start with
  a MATH-ML <object>, fallback to a TeX <object>, fallback to a GIF <object>,
  and finally fall back to "plain" text.


-- 
Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
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Received on Saturday, 9 February 2002 11:11:24 GMT

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