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Re: Microsoft PowerPoint accessibility

From: Wayne Dick <wed@csulb.edu>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 20:11:39 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTikRp2CxAd-B3YyEKMMfSe30zXoZLpncFxquvQRw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Harry Loots <harry.loots@ieee.org>
Cc: W3C WAI ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear Harry,

This discussion is really getting far afield from Power Point
accessibility. My original suggestion was to follow the sufficient
conditions for your Power Point objects and you will be safe.  Then it
skipped to titles and H33.

I appreciate your depth of knowledge regarding accommodations for
people with blindness.  You do not seem to realize that the
overwhelming majority of people with print disabilities are not blind.
 That is true even when you group people with sight who are classified
as legally blind within the blind population.  Accommodations for
sighted people with print disabilities may involve text to speech
translation, but they also may not.  Screen readers are of marginal
use to this majority population.  Most accommodations create a
significant modification to the visual layout of the page.  In
addition to screen magnifiers there are many reading assistants that
adjust font-family, spacing (line, word and letter), color and
contrast.  Most accommodations provide text enlargement with word
wrapping.  Within this context the tool tip that is controlled by
title text is very valuable.  Tool tip format is under the control of
the user and tool tips do not appear in the static visible layout. See
the definition of assistive technology in the glossary of WCAG 2.0 and
pay particular attention to the example for sighted people wit print
disabilities.  It starts with "Scree readers...".

It appears that most people do not realize that by skipping H33  you
hurt this large disability group.  This group rarely uses screen
readers, so whether screen readers use the title or not is irrelevant
to them.  If everyone used text with their links then the title
attribute is unnecessary and the alt attribute can be set to null.
However, many people have empty link text and use icons.  The use of
sprites has also become very popular for text.  Alt text is hidden
from vision.  So sighted people with print disabilities don't see it.
If no title text is present in this case the link is inaccessible.

The point is this.  Just because you don't know who uses a sufficient
condition, does not mean that nobody uses it.  In this case if you
delete the title attribute you will deny access to more people than
you do by removing the alt attribute.

The title doesn't help blind users or keyboard users, but the alt
attribute doesn't help low vision or dyslexia.  Should we cut the alt
attribute because it does not serve sighted users with print
disabilities. No.  Right now the intended use of the title attribute
in HTML 4 and the proposed  HTML 5 serves the need of people with
sight who have print disabilities.  The combination of title text with
other visual cues is enough to piece out the intent of the link.  H33
just says use the title with links.  That doesn't hurt anybody, but it
makes a world of difference to the overwhelming majority of people
with print disabilities.  You do not seem to understand the needs of
this disability group, and for some reason you think it is small.  It
is not a small group.

There is a very harmful myth concerning accessibility.  It holds that
once a problem is solved for blindness then it is also solved for
other print disabilities.  That is false.  A deep understanding of
screen reader behavior is great for assisting people with blindness,
but  is worth almost nothing when it comes to serving sighted people
with print disabilities.

I appreciate your insights.

Thanks Wayne
Received on Thursday, 19 August 2010 03:12:12 UTC

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