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RE: What does accessibility mean for this web site?

From: Charles (Chuck) Oppermann <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Sat, 3 Oct 1998 18:47:42 -0700
Message-ID: <D70342829C12D2119D0700805FBECA2F03EDEDAD@RED-MSG-55>
To: Harvey Bingham <hbingham@ACM.org>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
<<
[Would a screen reader trigger the exposing of layers?]
>>

Why should it?  All the content of the page (it's still just a HTML page) is
available programmatically.  I was using beta version of a screen reader
with a beta version of Internet Explorer on that site and it was having
little problems with the page.  That's the power of Active Accessibility -
you can stop trying to dumb down the display when you smarten the flow of
information to the accessibility aid.

<<
Much too much visual cotton candy for my taste. Very little hard content 
in the early pages. The message is the movement. A second browser appeared.
Motion for motion sake, hardly for message sake, distracts. I believe 
little of what was there serves any purpose worth annotating! 
>>

While I agree with some of that - don't forget that everyday people create
web sites that are even worse content wise.  This reminds me of what people
said about MTV in 1982.  Someone else's garbage is another's art.

<<
If Alt
text were used, it would need to move with the objects. Try to guess
where the cursor should go to invoke any alt text on it, or leave the
cursor in one place and hear whatever alt text were attached to whatever
passes over it! 
>>

You're thinking with your eyes.  If the information is available
programmatically, it doesn't make sense to attempt to display it on the
screen.

<<
[By the way, should Ctrl-F find content in ALT text at a user option?]
>>

I agree that it should, but in IE4 it currently does not.  I have suggested
it as a guideline.  Also to restrict find to just anchor text.

<<
I should have tried to resize the full-screen window. I leave that to 
someone else, I've had enough of that page set.
>>

Don't give up, pages like that are the wave of the future.  A lot of user
interface design is being done with DHTML.  You can see it in many places.
A very good example is Outlook 98.  The "Organize..." and "Find..." features
are implemented using DHTML.  It's keyboard accessible and by using CSS, can
track the system colors.

I often wonder what web people are surfing sometimes when I attend WAI
meetings.  They talk about documents and headers and such.  In my job, I use
and review pages that have no header elements and can be made to look
exactly like Windows dialogs.  I bet many of you haven't noticed that the
Find dialog in IE4 is actually a HTML window.  Using ACCESSKEY and LABEL and
CSS coloring, it looks and acts exactly like a regular Windows dialog.

(Aside:  Someone here recently decried "Microsoft's practice of propriety
extensions" - as if that was a bad thing.  Some of those "extensions" are
ACCESSKEY, LABEL and CSS attribute values for system cursors and colors that
enable greater accessibility to HTML user interfaces.)

We should not be worrying about HTML *documents*, they are relatively easy
to access.  The real problems are with HTML *applications*.  That is what's
fueling the interest in and use of CGI, Perl, JavaScript, Java applets,
VBScript, Dynamic HTML and DOM.

Charles Oppermann
Program Manager, Accessibility and Disabilities Group, Microsoft
Corporation
mailto:chuckop@microsoft.com http://microsoft.com/enable/
"A computer on every desk and in every home, usable by everyone!"
Received on Saturday, 3 October 1998 21:47:44 GMT

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