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Re: Canvas and ARIA alternatives

From: Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com>
Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:56:33 +0200
Message-ID: <501B9241.5080904@ramoncorominas.com>
To: 'WAI Interest Group' <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi, Ian and all.

 > I would be very interested to know of a use case for data input
 > which requires the use of canvas and which cannot be achieved
 > using a more accessible alternative approach. This discussion
 > is a little abstract and I feel a concrete example may be helpful.

Some possibilities:

- Interactive graphs with grips where the user can move points to change 
parameters or show the results of their variations.

- Flowcharting apps with flux diagrams or other diagrams with nodes, 
where users can organise processes, routes, organisational charts, etc., 
moving boxes/nodes and the connections between them.

- 2D interfaces where the user can write by hand or draw shapes to 
perform actions (Real-world example: http://shapecatcher.com)

- Interactive 3D interfaces where users can select parts of objects or 
even move them to interact with other objects.

- Video games of many types

 > Secondly, I'm certainly not advocating that we just sit on our
 > hands and tell people to use existing features which they say
 > do not meet their needs and again, I find this kind of
 > over-simplification unhelpful in terms of the discussion.

Over-simplification is what you are doing assuming that every user input 
can be achieved with "simple" user interfaces. As the web is moving 
towards more interactive applications and other things very different 
from "static web pages", new needs for sophisticated UIs arise, and many 
of them will not be as simple as selects, radio buttons, checkboxes and 
so on.


 > Thirdly, and this comes back to my point, if the foundations of the 
web are
 > based on openness and inclusion then surely these are the principles upon
 > which all decisions should be made over and above anything else. I do
 > appreciate that in reality, this goal maybe more of a hope than ever
 > realised, but I feel it needs to happen if we are ever going to see 
an open
 > and inclusive web.

I cannot see the point of "simpler interfaces" as "more inclusive". What 
we should do is ensuring that new interfaces can also be made 
accessible, not trying to stop innovation, because innovation will occur 
anyway.


 > There will always be times when existing technology does not meet the
 > requirements of certain organisations to perform particular tasks in 
the way
 > they would like. That's fine. It's part of the natural evolution of
 > technology. But rather than trying to work out how to shoe-horn in
 > accessibility as an after-thought, surely it would be better to work with
 > these organisations to determine the most effective solutions in order to
 > incorporate them in an accessible way where appropriate.

Why would I prefer to work with many different organisations to 
determine that maybe they really need these new solutions, instead of 
working in the technology itself?


 > Just build accessibility in from the start. It's part of the guidelines
 > and our recommendations after all. Indeed, surely  this is part of the
 > W3C process? Maybe the work which you mention that is on-going is part
 > of this process.

And that is exactly what is being done with ideas aimed at ensuring that 
canvas can be made accessible from the start. Not


 > I know that it's not always possible to predict how a technology might be
 > used but if it is going to lead to significant problems in terms of
 > accessibility, I feel a better approach would be to work on "improving"
 > existing accessible technology to provide the desired functionality while
 > encouraging the adoption of accessible alternatives in the interim.

How would you improve radio-buttons or checkboxes to simulate 3D 
interfaces or create video games?


 > Finally, I would be interested to know whether anyone believes that 
if for
 > example, the guidelines did prohibit the use of canvas for user input, it
 > would have no impact on the adoption of such an approach (which is what I
 > think you are saying in a albeit different way)?

If browsers implement canvas and it is the solution that designers and 
developers need, they will use it. Guidelines and even laws already 
"prohibit" inaccessible uses of HTML or CSS, for example, but most web 
pages are still inaccessible. Maybe some organisations would not use 
canvas if they don't need it, but if they need it most legislations 
allow inaccessible uses if there is no accessible approach that can 
perform the task. Legislations will rarely prohibit innovation in favour 
of accessibility.


 > I'm sure some organisations or individuals would "do it anyway" as many
 > do now despite current legislation in many parts of the world.
 > But I personally am seeing more of a trend towards working within the
 > guidelines, particularly in government and larger organisations. And
 > while we still have a long way to go, I am perhaps a little more
 > optimistic (hopeful?) and don't feel it would lead to the beginning
 > of the end of accessibility.

That is because governments and many other organisations probably don't 
need canvas for anything. But this is not the case of many other 
companies, and sure it will not be the case for the video games industry.



 > Indeed, I feel we perhaps need to at least think about pushing back
 > little, particularly in situations such as this, in order to
 > continue to make a difference. But maybe we're not far
 > > enough a long the curve yet?

And why not push forward better accessibility for canvas? Sincerely, I 
don't see the point of trying to stop the inevitable.


Regards,
Ramón.
Received on Friday, 3 August 2012 08:57:47 UTC

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