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RE: Canvas and ARIA alternatives

From: Ian Sharpe <isforums@manx.net>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2012 10:22:43 +0100
To: "'Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis'" <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Cc: "'Jonathan Avila'" <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>, "'WAI Interest Group'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <EC055003F654461DAB8AEB428BCB0F20@BLACKBOX>
Cheers Benjamin

Out of interest, what exactly is the reason for your assertion that:

There's little W3C can do here beyond trying to minimize damage by working
on helping developers provide semantics to back their custom look and feel,
which is exactly what those working on the web stack (including canvas) are
trying to do. 

It's a point I often hear but why is it not possible for the w3c to take a
more assertive stance on the "abuse" of a particular technology when there
are perfectly good alternatives which better address the fundamental
objectives of open access and inclusion? 

What seems to be the message here is that giving designers carte blanche to
do what they will with what is available via w3c standards for marginal
improvement in the aesthetic is more important than the potential
consequences in terms of accessibility and  to the people it affects of
doing so. That doesn't sound right to me given the w3c's "prime directive"?

Over the past decade, largely thanks to the work carried out by WAI amongst
many others, the world has started to recognise the issues surrounding
accessibility and it's impact on millions of people therein. In many cases
this has led to the introduction of legislation to ensure organisations take
this problem seriously and for the most part, the standards, guidelines and
techniques developed by the w3c through WAI and others, are widely sited by
governments and other bodies as the baseline for measuring accessibility.

I'm not necessarily suggesting that this should happen, but to take this
example, if the guidelines prohibited the use of the canvas element in such
scenarios, it would have a significant affect on this problem. 

If organisations choose to still use the approach, fine, that's up to them.
But I don't think we should be "encouraging" them on this occasion. I
certainly don't feel we should be spending time and resources trying to deal
with the fall out in terms of accessibility of this kind of abuse of
technology.

I know some may think that this may ultimately lead to us being excluded
altogether and I have some sympathy with this view. However, given the
above, I think we are far enough along the curve to be able to start pushing
back a little.

Cheers
Ian 

 
 

 

 

     
 




-----Original Message-----
From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis [mailto:bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com] 
Sent: 31 July 2012 23:33
To: Ian Sharpe
Cc: Jonathan Avila; WAI Interest Group
Subject: Re: Canvas and ARIA alternatives

On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 10:38 PM, Ian Sharpe <isforums@manx.net> wrote:
> Apologies if this is obvious to others but could somebody please 
> explain to me why anyone would choose to use the canvas element to 
> handle user input over the designated input elements?

Maximal control over the look and feel of the input interface.

> But this just seems unnecessary to me

One man's luxury is another's necessity.

> and is only going to lead to increased complexity and reduced 
> accessibility in my view.

This is a common result of the pursuit of such maximal control. (It happens
when developers build their own widgets rather than using built-in ones on
desktop platforms, for example.)

> I'm all for freedom to be creative up to a point but surely there's a 
> time when somebody has to push back on the basis that if such 
> approaches are to be adopted, accessibility is going to be significantly
compromised.

Unfortunately, that's not generally a strong deterrent even when understood.

> As far as I was aware, one of the prime directives of  "the web" is to 
> give everyone equal opportunity to access information and I feel at 
> some point this goal needs to be placed front and centre if it is ever 
> going to be realised.

There's little W3C can do here beyond trying to minimize damage by working
on helping developers provide semantics to back their custom look and feel,
which is exactly what those working on the web stack (including canvas) are
trying to do. (There are debates about how far we should try to encourage
techniques other than canvas versus trying to accomodate accessibility
within canvas itself, but these debates don't affect the fundamental dynamic
here.

--
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 09:23:20 UTC

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