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Re: Can we improve the accessibility of SVG1.2?

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 08:30:30 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200403110830.i2B8UUA02995@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> http://www.peepo.co.uk/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SVG

> A rant at the 2nd London SVG user group Meeting last night

Given that that document is intended to be a rant, it's probably
best for me not to add my comments there.  The short version of them is,
whilst SVG *has* failed to meet accesibility needs:

- on the ability to copy graphics into Word documents, whilst many
  people may think they ought to be able to do that:

  * it is generally illegal under copyright law to do that[2];
  * it is currently a limitation of the user agent, not the standard,
    but if the standard were to intervene it would probably be in the
    form of an explicit waiver of copyright indication that authors
    could add if they didn't want typical commercial protection[1];
  * mapping from SVG to WMF is likely to result in a severe loss of
    information, especially as I'd expect an SVG renderer to resort
    to bit maps when rendering for the display, for anything not
    easy to do natively;

- on tooltips:

  * the current limitations are probably based on matching platform look
    and feel (good for usability) and taking advantage of platform tools;
  * complex popups conflict with other accessibility requirements not to
    confuse people with popups;
  * Jonathon teaches young adults with "severe learning difficulties", a 
    set of symbols for tooltips for them would probably consitute an 
    ideographic writing system for a new human language - assuming that
    language is linear, tooltips already handle the issue and what is needed
    is to get the Unicode Consortium to add those symbols to the extent that
    they don't already exist in Unicode, and IANA to add a new language code;
  * the use of such simplified languages raises the issue of client side
    negotiation of tooltip languages on a page that is otherwise primarily
    non-textual and static, so doesn't justify server side negotiation.

> or join us on IRC at freenode #accessibility

Note that W3C has an accessibility mailing list, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org,
but Jonathon appears to have unsubscribed from it a month or two
ago.

[1] one of the attractions of PDF to businesses is that one can add a
master "do not copy" flag to a document.  Historically this has caused
problems for assistive technology which relies on cut and paste to
get at the text.

[2] there are limited copyright dispensations for UK educational
institutions, but I believe Jonathon would like the law to permit a
lot more than those allow, including use for personal correspondence
that was not of a primarily educational nature.  On the other hand,
most copyright owners probably wouldn't like the bad publicity associated
with enforcing copyright in relation to "severely learning disabled"
people, even if many copyright owners make most of their revenue from
sale to general schools.
Received on Thursday, 11 March 2004 03:30:37 UTC

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