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Re: Screen readers - usage stats?

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2004 12:44:26 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200404181144.i3IBiQb03866@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> In what sense is SVG not text? Conversely, in what sense is HTML/CSS 

SVG's origins are in graphics arts (actually, it's original promise
was for technical drawings, but it is being driven towards an aesthetic,
rather than a communication medium - one used by commercial artists).

HTML's origins are as a conventional (written or spoken) language based
medium.  It was designed for use by librarians, and for end users with
information to communicate.

The money associated with both of them is now more associated with branding
and advertising, which comes from the graphic (and to some extent, musical)
arts worlds, not from the literary, legal, or engineering worlds).  Whilst
people attracted to such areas generally have an "arts" personality, which
is an equally valid personality to say a science one, the money available
to fund people with that sort of personality comes from marketing and is
about subtle influence, rather than about communication.  (A lot of
technology also gets its funding that way, although often through the
indirect route of supporting the artists, in their job of supporting the

Whilst SVG does give special prominence to text, it doesn't allow for
structuring that text at any level beyond a consecutive run of text, 
whereas HTML is based on providing quite deep structuring to the text.
It is probable that most people designing web sites that might benefit
from SVG (in terms of the commissioners' goals, if not the readers')
would be quite happy using spline outlines of text, rather than any
recognizable text.

Jon had an unusual requirement in that he wanted an application platform
(not an unusual business requirement for "web" technology), that was
for communication, and self esteem generation, rather than influence.
Because the languages he wanted to use were very simple ones, based
on very pictorial ideographs, HTML assumed language structures much deeper
than his languages, and the fonts and input methods didn't exist for
his languages, he was, after quite a lot of pursuation, convinced that
SVG better fitted his needs than HTML.

The other big difference between HTML and SVG is that HTML was intended
as document language, whereas, SVG as it is going at the moment, is 
clearly an application platform product, aimed at competing with
other such platforms, like Flash, at least in my view.  (SVG started
as a document language, but never fulfilled that role - it is still
necessary to use GIFs to put line art in web pages for general 

> anymore to do with text than SVG?

At the moment, I think that tagged PDF represents a better compromise
between branding based money and the ability to actually communicate with
a broad audience.
Received on Sunday, 18 April 2004 07:45:08 UTC

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