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RE: links to mp3 files

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 08:50:08 -0400
To: "'Patrick H. Lauke'" <redux@splintered.co.uk>, 'tanguy lohéac' <tanguy.loheac@snv.jussieu.fr>
Cc: "'general WAI-TIES MAILING LIST'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00a901c5d0bd$d000b1f0$6401a8c0@bosshog>

Patrick H. Lauke wrote:
> Unless I'm misunderstanding the question, I'd hazard a guess that the
> answers would be: MP3 is not a W3C technology; however, there is no
> equivalent format from the W3C that serves that purpose; this shoots 
> down "11.1 Use W3C technologies when they are available and
> appropriate 
> for a task". 

While this is certainly true, as Patrick points out later it really
depends on *why* you are providing the link to the MP3 file.  If you are
seeking to provide a file download (similar to downloading a .zip file,
or other compressed "transportation" format), then from an accessibility
perspective ensure that it is well labeled, including size of download,
full file title (mysong.mp3), and perhaps even a link to a helper app
(although, specifically for MP3, most [but not all] base users will
have, at the very least, a built in media player that now handles
MP3's).  The most important issue here however is that the file be
clearly indicated as being an MP3 (as opposed to any of the other audio
formats out there), so that end users can determine if they wish to
initiate the link in the first place.

If you are seeking to "embed" your media file into a web page, then look
at SMIL (Simultaneous Multimedia Integration Language) which *is* an
approved W3C technology and allows for things like captioning.

>  If it's an audio version of a talk/presentation (a "podcast",
> though I hate this term "du jour"), you should for instance provide a
> web page - (X)HTML/CSS/etc) - with a transcript. 

... Or provide a SMIL version as well?
[http://www.hisoftware.com/media/davinci/letters.htm - requires IE due
to audio file format...]

John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
Phone: 1-613-482-7053  
Received on Friday, 14 October 2005 12:50:32 UTC

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