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Action 4: Alert Proposal

From: Markku Hakkinen <mhakkinen@acm.org>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 15:44:03 -0500
Message-ID: <3dcaabaf0902191244r21e65d5aq62359647c79368d@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
MH to Write a proposal encompassing for both alert and prompt
[recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/02/12-ua-minutes.html#action04]

Existing  wording:

alert

To make the user aware of some event information, without requiring
acknowledgment. For example, the user agent may alert the user that
new content is available on the server by displaying a text message in
the user agent's status bar.

prompt [ATAG 2.0]

Any user agent initiated request for a decision or piece of
information from users.

Discussion:

Prompt and Alert can function as both nouns and verbs. Only alert is
really used as such in the document (e.g., "alert the user"), while
prompt is used as a noun (e.g., "responds 'yes' to a prompt").

Prompt is a type of interaction, and typically a specific type of
dialog, requiring a user response (though the response interval may be
timed so that the prompt is removed after an author-specified period
of time elapses).

Alert has a historical association with the alert box. Alert further
implies some urgency (from its broader usage beyond the Web). In the
context of safety and security, alerts have a specific meaning.

What follows are the two instances in which alert is used with the
current document:

3.10.7 Open on Request: The user has the option of having "top-level"
viewports (e.g., windows) only open on explicit user request. In this
mode, instead of opening a viewport automatically, alert the user and
allow the user to open it with an explicit request (e.g., by
confirming a prompt or following a link generated by the user agent).
(Level AA)@@5.3 in UAAG10@@

4.6.4 No Match: The user is alerted when there is no match or after
the last match in content (i.e., prior to starting the search over
from the beginning of content). (Level AA) @@9.8 in UAAG10@@

Proposal:

Remove alert.

No change to Prompt is being proposed (at this moment).

I would argue that alert be dropped in favor of the terms notify and
notifications. In contrast to alert, notifications can be seen to
apply to a broader class of high and low urgency information.
Notifications may be conveyed in conjunction with a prompt.

In the 3.10.7 section above, the word alert would be replaced with
notify, and in 4.6.4 section, alerted would be replaced with notified.

I can see a more in depth description of notification approaches in
the techniques document.

Following draft text is proposed as a replacement:

Notify

User Agents may notify users of events or status changes through the
use of a message displayed within content, within the framework of the
User Agent user interface (e.g., status bar), or through a pop-up
window generated from the content or from the User Agent user
interface. Notifications may be passive and not require user
acknowledgment, or they may be presented in the form of a prompt
requesting a user response (e.g., a confirmation dialog).

Short form of proposed text:

Notify

To make the user aware of events or status information, without
requiring acknowledgment. For example, the user agent may notify the
user that new content is available on the server by displaying a text
message in the user agent's status bar.
Received on Thursday, 19 February 2009 20:44:42 UTC

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