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Re: Proposed checkpoint to turn off background sounds.

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 16:42:05 -0400
Message-ID: <3818B51C.6CB141F3@w3.org>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@concentric.net>
CC: User Agent Guidelines Emailing List <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
"Gregory J. Rosmaita" wrote:
> 
> aloha, ian!
> 
> as regards your reworded 4.4
> 
> quote
> When the user agent renders audio natively, allow the user to turn on and
> off rendering of audio, including background audio. [Priority 1]
> unquote

So let's keep it separate as a P1 checkpoint that mirrors
background images:

 Allow the user to turn on and off rendering background audio. [Priority
1]

> i have to ask, why insert the phrase "when the user agent renders audio
> natively"? -- what exactly does "renders audio natively" mean in this
> context?  that it is the UA itself that renders the audio?  that is the way
> i read it in light of the definition of the term "native support" contained in Appendix A (Glossary) of the 5 October draft of the UAAG
> 
> quote
> Native support
> A user agent supports a feature natively if it does not require another
> piece of software (e.g., plug-in or external program) for support. Native
> support does not preclude more extensive support for accessibility by
> dependent user agents, so user agents must still make information available
> through programming interfaces.
> unquote

Yes, the term "native" was chosen at a teleconference.

 - Ian
 
> i suppose that the true source of my confusion over the reworded 4.2 is the
> term "audio" -- do you mean audio clips?  i am assuming that you do, for
> background sounds are (usually, at least on today's web) audio clips...
> 
> if that's the case, it means that, even if i were using a Triple-A
> compliant user agent, i still won't be able to stop those damned background
> sounds from playing when they start to wrestle with my software synthesizer
> for control of my computer's sound card, because IE, NS, and Opera all pass
> audio files off to helper applications or plug-ins...
> 
> as a speech user who regularly uses a sound card for speech synthesis,
> especially when on the road with my laptop, i have found background sound
> to be the bane of my online existence -- especially the use of sound by
> sites that ought to know better...  take, for example, the Radio
> Information Service (RIS) site, located at:
>         http://www.readingservice.org/
> which provides a very useful and needed service -- providing current
> information from print media -- which would otherwise be inaccessible to
> the blind -- on demand, via RealAudio ...   the problem is that the
> document source for the RIS homepage contains an embedded RealAudio file
> that plays when the page loads...  the RealPlayer's attempt to play this
> sound invariably causes some combination of the following to occur: either
> my screen reader ceases speaking altogether, the sound card stops
> responding to the system, and/or the entire system crashes...
> 
> sites that use MIDI files to provide background sounds are also a constant
> source of annoyance -- MIDI files typically play at a much higher volume
> than that at which speech is synthesized, making it difficult to hear the
> page's contents, even if you have speech set to be output at maximum
> volume...  embedding MIDI files has always (for, i suppose, obvious
> reasons) been quite popular with blind users who maintain homepages -- at
> least, i suppose, those who are still using hardware synthesizers...
> 
> so, why don't i just turn off support for audio?  because i only want to
> turn off support for background sounds, not disable the playing of sound
> files altogether, just as one might conceivably want to turn off background
> images, but still load inline images...
> 
> of course, there is the off chance that what you meant was, "when the user
> agent renders content sonically...", but that's another story entirely...
> 
> gregory
> --------------------------------------------------------
> He that lives on Hope, dies farting
>      -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
> --------------------------------------------------------
> Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
>    WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
>         <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html>
> --------------------------------------------------------

-- 
Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel/Fax:                     +1 212 684-1814
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Thursday, 28 October 1999 16:42:10 UTC

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