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access to "background sound" objects (issue 297)

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 12:50:43 -0400
Message-Id: <Version.32.20000723202618.040a7f00@pop.iamdigex.net>
Message-Id: <Version.32.20000723202618.040a7f00@pop.iamdigex.net>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

1.  I did not mean to suggest any change in the separate and simpler rules
for sonicons and similar "short sounds."  I am sorry if something I said
gave that impression.

2.  The proposed exception is predicated on the theory that the "background
sound" feature is by nature decorative.  

So far as I can tell, when used, this sound track is usually the only sound
in town.  Sound is perceived alongside sight.  Thus the 'background' in
"background sound" does not have the same meaning as in "background image."
 Background images are designed to defer to the foreground content laid
over them.  Background sounds, in the large, are the whole audio component
of the [multimedia] experience designed into a page.  There is usually no
foreground audio for the background sound to defer to.  The media space
created by "background sound" invites more complex and independent
information complementing the visual content of a page.  I can reasonably
imagine programming Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech as a
background sound where I could not imagine using the manuscript draft of
that speech as a background image.  The significance of a "background
sound," in the unusual case where someone has taken the trouble to provide
one, is more likely to be comparable to a large featured image than to a
background image.

If it were natural to use only decorative sound tracks in this HTML role,
we could then move on to the question as to whether this exception to the
rule simplifies or complicates the browser builder's job.  But the
exception is predicated on the idea that background sounds are, or should
be, limited to decorative and expendable content.  I would like the group
and the WAI to consider if this is the best way to view this feature of the
web page medium.

Al
Received on Monday, 24 July 2000 12:45:05 GMT

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