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Re: Best practices for screen readers

From: Christopher Hoffman <christopher.a.hoffman@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 20:17:44 -0400
Message-ID: <61682a40610081717u3e3443b6wf17f375835697e4a@mail.gmail.com>
To: "John Foliot - WATS.ca" <foliot@wats.ca>, "WAI Interest Group list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
On 10/7/06, John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca> wrote:
> 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.

But I would argue that context and presentation is an integral part of the
meaning of a message. Designers have been migrating from fixed to liquid
layouts not because they've decided to leave presentation up to the
browsers, but because they understand that with the proliferation of so many
different screen sizes, by using a liquid layout they can actually have
*more control* over the presentation.

As I see it, the underlying reason for using semantic markup and separating
content from presentation is that doing so provides a greater level of
predictability as far as presentation is concerned over a maximum number of
user agents. If there were only one user agent, there would be no need to
separate the two because we would know exactly how the final product would

There is nothing wrong with wanting to control the way a screen reader
interprets a string of HTML, just as there is nothing wrong with choosing
round bullets over square bullets. It's all part of the message the
author/designer is trying to convey.

Received on Monday, 9 October 2006 00:17:49 UTC

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