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Re: Proposed W3C Spec Conventions

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 02 Dec 2009 17:57:10 -0500
Message-ID: <4B16F0C6.9090604@w3.org>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
CC: www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, "w3c-wai-pf@w3.org PF" <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>
Hi, Tab-

Thanks for your comment.  Replies inline...

Tab Atkins Jr. wrote (on 12/2/09 3:20 PM):
>
> One comment - in all the inline example near the end (Note, Warning,
> etc) you use an <em> element to mark it up, but it does not seem as if
> textual emphasis is warranted or desired.

I originally used <span>, but changed it to <em> based on the 
accessibility feedback [1] to Karl's original proposal by Gregory 
Rosmaita, a reader of W3C specs who uses a screen reader.  The fact that 
these passages are being called out as somehow special (marked with 
specific markup and class names) is indicative that they are being 
emphasized.  Could you explain why you think such emphasis isn't 
warranted or desired?  Maybe I'm just missing something.


>If italics are desirable,
> please switch to using an <i> element instead.  The use of <strong>
> within those examples is acceptable, however.

(I think it's funny that the CSS WG would recommend using an 
old-fashioned styling element like <i>... times change, I guess. ^_^)

Italics are not at all what I was going for... as you see, I've used CSS 
to remove the italic default for the <em> elements... I'm really just 
using them for the semantics.

I chatted with Michael Cooper of the WAI domain, and he had this to say:

[[
* tags like <em> and <strong> are more likely to be picked up by a 
screen reader as "there's something important about this"

* even though it won't get semantic meaning out of the class, at least 
it knows there's something there

* that may work with <i> but it's generally frowned on in favour of <em> 
(which may be a philosophy issue as much as anything)

* <span> is much less likely to be picked up by a screen reader as 
"there's something important here" even with a class and styling, so 
<span> is much less useful

* My feedback: the accessibility principle at work is "use the closest 
semantic element you can, and then use CSS to refine the style to refine 
the presentation of that semantic"

* The CSS WG might think <span> is preferable because it's 
semantic-neutral, but from an accessibility standpoint that's not helpful
]]

If you could comment on that, that might help move this issue forward. 
I'm happy to use either <span> or <em>, based on what works best.  I'm 
less enthused about <i> for reasons I mentioned before, but will use 
that if that's the general consensus.

We also discussed including aural styles for these classes.


> The CSS WG does not have any further comments on your proposal.

Is the CSS WG likely to adopt these spec conventions [2] (assuming we 
can all come to agreement on the markup and styling)?  The SVG WG has 
resolved to adopt whatever common conventions are decided upon, as have 
the folks working on the DOM3 Events spec with me.


[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Member/chairs/2009JanMar/0030.html 
(Member-only link)
[2] http://www.w3.org/People/Schepers/spec-conventions.html

Regards-
-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG and WebApps WGs
Received on Wednesday, 2 December 2009 22:57:16 GMT

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