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Re: Discussing ARIA in HTML5 integration

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2008 23:45:17 +0100
To: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20080409222034.M25495@hicom.net>

aloha! -- apologies for joining this thread late, but at least now my 
ears have stopped burning...

IRC is a grand tool, but an imperfect tool, save in one aspect:
it has few equals in enabling the distortion of an out-of-context 
comment into an accusation, as well as tinder for spreading heat, 
rather than light...

for the record, i never stated as an individual or a member of any 
particular working or interest group, that PF is ignoring HTML5;
i don't speak for any working group or behalf of any working group,
nor do i claim to do so; i DID, however, at the meeting from which 
henri drew his quote (which was accredited to me, but is a scribe's
encapsulation of what i said), state that since PF has had no success 
in getting everyone together in one place (virtual or physical) to 
discuss the various suggestions and concerns as to how ARIA can be 
integrated into HTML5, PF was redoubling its internal efforts to ensure 
that its house was in order as regards ARIA 1.0 so as to ensure that it 
is tight enough and clear enough to pass Last Call without any major 
hurdles as to the consistency and clearness of the specification and 
its use

and, what i said at last week's HTML WG telecon was that ARIA 1.0 is 
needed today and yesterday, and that embedding ARIA in HTML5 test 
cases is a non sequitur, because:

a) ARIA 1.0 is for today and yesterday's web;

b) that PF asked the HTML WG for native accessibility features to be 
incorporated into HTML5 to the fullest extent possible, but in the 
interim -- while such mechanisms are being developed in collaboration 
between the HTML WG and pertinent WAI working groups -- ARIA will be 
needed for today's script-heavy, semantically strapped web, as well 
as for the evolving web -- all points made in al's initial formal 
comments (as chair of PF) to the HTML WG -- the PF WG's actual request


  Support for issues highlighted in Table: 1 of the ARIA Roadmap

[Note: the URI referenced directly above is now:

 + Backward compatability to ARIA, including the role attribute.

 + Allow for full interoperability with assistive technologies

 + A preference for access to accessibility information via the DOM

 + Reduced efforts by authors to support assistive technologies

 + Support for the access element or a version of it.

 + Maintain equivalent or improved accessibility features of HTML 4.01


c) that, given its nature and intent, ARIA 1.0 cannot be held up by an 
evolving and unstable technology;

d) that HTML5 support amongst UA implementors varies; amongst assistive 
technologies it is nonexistent (and in some cases, perhaps, impossible);

e) that the overwhelming mass of content on the web is HTML 4x and 
XHTML 1.0 (roughly speaking) plus scripted slash dynamic content -- 
this is the content to which ARIA 1.0 needs to be applied, and has needed 
to be applied for (at least) the past 6 to 8 years;

f) HTML 4x/XHTML 1.0 contains several mechanisms (such as LONGDESC
and the headers/id association for TABLE) which HTML5 currently does 
NOT support, but for which there is extant support in extant assistive 
technologies as well as in ARIA, but that the ARIA mechanisms are not
direct corallaries to their HTML5 equivalents -- in some instances, 
"describedby" could provide a long descriptor, in others it cannot -- 
a long descriptor itself may be a tree or accordion widget which allows 
an assistive technology user to follow the flow of a diagram, flow 
chart, family tree, etc.);

g) that it is necessary to find a way to integrate current and future
ARIA markup into generalized as well as specialized markup languages;
especially HTML5, if the accessibility mechanisms defined in HTML 4x 
are not retained or improved, and that PF and other WAI groups have 
expressed an active interest in working with the HTML WG on ensuring 
that mechanisms retained, changed or adapted from HTML 4x are superior
-- as well as implementable -- solutions which would (if the native 
markup is used correctly) obviate the need for several aspects of 
ARIA 1.0; however, since such an obsolescence is a panglossian view of 
the future of HTML authoring, ARIA must have a means of being included 
slash supported (an HTML + ARIA profile) now and in the future, not just 
to accommodate improvements in ARIA and the addressing as yet unforseen 
problems and obstacles that may arise between the issuance of ARIA 1.0
and the coalescence of HTML5

we spent almost 45 minutes on the HTML WG call on this specific topic, 
in an attempt (at least on my part) to clear some basic misconceptions 
as to: what PF asked for in its opening comments to the HTML WG; what 
ARIA 1.0 is, is designed for, and how it should be used -- with the 
understanding that native mechanisms should be developed to make as 
much of ARIA 1.0 as redundant as possible in HTML5 -- but that the 
development of those mechanisms and features cannot be allowed to delay 
the implementation of ARIA 1.0 nor should they be an impediment to the 
use of ARIA in HTML5, so that tools such as AccessMonkey can be used to 
provide repair for poorly authored/generated document instances...

Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves. 
                              -- Gene Fowler (1890-1960)
Gregory J. Rosmaita: oedipus@hicom.net
Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html

---------- Original Message -----------
From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
To: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Cc: W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, Chris 
Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>
Sent: Wed, 09 Apr 2008 16:17:46 -0500
Subject: Re: Discussing ARIA in HTML5 integration

> On Wed, 2008-04-09 at 11:30 -0400, Al Gilman wrote:
> > Good points.
> > 
> > On 9 Apr 2008, at 4:17 AM, Henri Sivonen wrote:
> > >
> > > I happened to find this curious statement in the IRC logs of a  
> > > third WG:
> > > "Gregory: We (WAI) arranged a special meeting with HTML5 people to  
> > > discuss Aria, and no one from HTML5 turned up"
> > > "... so we are ignoring them for the moment"
> > > http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/xhtml/20080402#l-139
> Gregory said something like that in a recent HTML WG teleconference
> as well; I got the impression that there was some recent attempt 
> to set up a teleconference and it didn't work out for various reasons.
> Such is life.
> > This demonstrates the downside potential of too much public 
> > Things can get taken out of context, and taken too seriously.
> The cost of a few clarification mail messages is modest...
> > > On a more general note:
> > >
> > > Face-to-face meeting and telecons are problematic for discussing  
> > > detailed technical things like language integration, because 
> > > don't have the opportunity to re-study drafts, write test cases 
> > > do research in order to make informed statements and change their  
> > > opinions based on verified information in the middle of the  
> > > conversation. Moreover, by charter[1], the HTML WG "primarily  
> > > conducts its technical work on a Public mailing list public-html".  
> > > After all, face-to-face meetings and telecons would discriminate  
> > > against a substantial number of HTML WG participants.
> Meanwhile, email isn't perfect either; the occasional supplementary
> teleconference, IRC chat, etc. can help quite a bit.
> -- 
> Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
> gpg D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E
------- End of Original Message -------
Received on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 22:46:06 UTC

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