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RE: Best practices for screen readers

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2006 15:30:12 -0700
To: "'David Poehlman'" <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>, "'Christopher Hoffman'" <christopher.a.hoffman@gmail.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <01f301c6ea60$2ccde990$6501a8c0@bosshog>

David Poehlman wrote:
> I like your suggestion at the end here.  It sounds much better and
> more thoughtful when done with numbers..

True, however what you would have is essentially a series of listed
nests with one list item each, which, depending on depth, may become
tiresome too.

Besides, "greater than" isn't actually that wrong when you think about
it (although I'm sure most people who use the &gt; character don't think
about it...), but consider:

"Foobar website, which is greater than website policies, which is
greater than privacy policy"

That's not wrong is it?

> I think the best approach for
> now at least is to provide a semantically rich environment that is
> machine readable and let the ATs decide how to handle it.

Total agreement here, although a best practices in this area (breadcrumb
navigation) would be nice to have... (as John goes off thinking to

> On Oct 6, 2006, at 9:11 PM, Christopher Hoffman wrote:
>> ...daily users of adaptive
>> technology have become accustomed to this type of "shorthand" and
>> they get it....
> Then again, wheelchair users become accustomed to having to get into
> buildings through the back service entrance, and having to wait for
> the restaurant's assistant manager to find the keys to operate the
> lift. That  
> doesn't make it right.

Chris, while I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying, there are
both degrees and reasonable comparisons, and I think you are missing a
greater point here.

This thread started because the initial poster was concerned about how
it "sounded" when they did some sporadic testing in HPR.  To me a
greater problem/issue arises when authors, no matter how well meaning or
sincere, start trying to mess with the user experience, in an effort to
try and get it to match the author's expectations of how it should
sound.  There is something very similar here to the old battle of fixed
fonts and fixed layouts - the developer presuming that this is the
"best" way, and tweaking and twisting the backend content to match their
vision of what is right or wrong.

David's response is (IMHO) the best way:  mark things up in a
semantically rich (structural... I already fouled up there once  from

We have reached the point where informed developers generally understand
that "fluid" or "elastic" layouts are the optimum because it leaves it
to *the browser to figure things (the layout) out* - so too developers
should be thinking in this vein when considering Adaptive Technology.

And so to return to your analogy - no it is wrong to have wheelchair
users go to the back of the building and be trucked into the restaurants
via the service lift, but I posit that it is equally disheartening to
have a "special" wheelchair door at the front of the building too...
Well though out buildings should be designed so that wheelchair users
can use *any* door.

John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist
WATS.ca - Web Accessibility Testing and Services
Phone: 1-613-482-7053 
Received on Saturday, 7 October 2006 22:30:45 UTC

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