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Re: AERT Technique 13.6.1 and the WCA:UA agreements of yore

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 16:45:00 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>, Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Cc: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
(this topic has been distributed among a few recent threads but I'll insert 
my 2 cents into this branch)

As for using MAP to define sets of links... there's a problem...

What happens if you have a link hierarchy, e.g. a series of headings each 
of which  is a link, and each of which has a list of links 
underneath  (e.g. the Yahoo home page).  How does map apply?

If we wrap the whole thing in a single map, we lose the hierarchy and 
flatten it all into one pile of links

Can we wrap the whole thing in a MAP, and then also wrap each indivisual 
list in a MAP? No can do.

For one thing, it doesn't validate... either by my reading of HTML 4.01 or, 
more importantly, by the w3c validator.

And even if it did validate, what would it mean?

It seems the way to address this is to use DIV's and existing structure 
(cf. Al's remarks at


Otherwise we lose the structure.

Now, that leaves the problem that the semantics, viz that this is "a set of 
links", is not machine readable.  But even if we had MAP, there would still 
be plenty of semantics that are not readable.  For example, if we had a 
page with lots of sets of links, where's the main navigation bar?  And 
there are other semantic units that have nothing to do with links.... e.g. 
"main section" "news" etc. that we often see. So MAP would address only a 
part of all the semantics that are needed anyway.  That means we do one of 
the following, seems to me:

1. waiting for XML
2. defining conventions for class names  (hey, we accept D links)
3. defining conventions for titles  (well, I gotta have a third alternative)

As you might guess, my vote is for 2, defining conventions for class 
names.  I realize this was discussed in WCAG and it didn't fly, but perhaps 
it's time to reconsider.

Note that even if we wait for XML, that just postpones deciding on the 
semantic units.  So why not figure them out now, stick them in class for 
the time being, and then re-use them when XML arrives.


At 04:12 PM 7/20/00 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>I think I am just slightly keener on people recognising that they need to use
>map than you are...
>Charles McCN
>On Wed, 19 Jul 2000, Al Gilman wrote:
>   At 12:18 AM 2000-07-19 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>   >My thoughts and recollections, vague as they may be
>   >
>   >No, I think GL is correct - it is to identify for user agents (ie through
>   >markup such as map). We have asked for both handling of map, and the more
>   >general structural navigation you speak of.
>   >
>   I am quite likely alone in my particularly pharisaical interpretation of
>   what was agreed to in the joint meeting as regards "use MAP for related
>   groups of links."  The clause "when you need to add a grouping element" was
>   probably a loophole that I was perceiving and quite possibly nobody else.
>   I did bad things for the WAI interest in a similar way when the namespaces
>   Rec went by and I placed a stricter interpretation (less constraining) on
>   what it said than the proponents understood.  Their interpretation was what
>   they promoted in public as for example on xml-dev and that leaves us with
>   the conflicts exposed on xml-uri.  I should have dealt with what they
>   thought the language meant, and protested more strongly at the time.
>   As you can tell from my message to the CG, I think that the best way to
>   seek a good agreement that we can stick with into the future is to take
>   Wendy's hint and view this as "in the light of what has transpired in UA
>   since, it is worth revisiting this question."  Hope this works for people.
>   Al
>Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
>W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
>Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053
>Postal: GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne 3001,  Australia

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Temple University 423 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122


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Received on Friday, 21 July 2000 16:43:44 UTC

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