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Re: PFWG review of WOFF File Format

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:03:56 +0100
Message-ID: <1064872008.20101118160356@w3.org>
To: Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>
CC: WebFonts WG <www-font@w3.org>, List WAI Liaison <wai-liaison@w3.org>, List WAI PF <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>
(this is an initial response in an individual capacity and does not represent a WebFonts WG consensus position).

On Thursday, November 18, 2010, 2:40:14 PM, Michael wrote:

MC>    
MC>  The Protocols and Formats Working Group is responding to a
MC> request to review the WOFF File Format
MC> http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/WD-WOFF-20101116/. Group consensus on
MC> this message is archived at
MC> http://www.w3.org/2010/11/17-pf-minutes.

Many thanks for the swift review!

MC>  Because the WOFF File Format does not define or modify a content
MC> language, but operates at lower levels, we do not think it
MC> presents concerns about accessibility to people with disabilities.

I agree.

MC> Therefore we have no formal comments on the document, and are
MC> sending this message to state that explicitly in response to the review request.

It is very helpful when WGs explicitly state that, rather than allowing it to be inferred from lack of a response. Thank you.
 
MC>  We do note that Web Fonts is a major benefit to Web
MC> accessibility. The availability of downloadable fonts allows
MC> content to be implemented in such a way that users can modify
MC> size, color, and other layout characteristics as needed for
MC> accessibility, while retaining design parameters set by the
MC> content author without recourse to solutions such as text rendered
MC> as bitmaps that present major accessibility problems.

Yes, I do think that we will see some design-rich content which was previously served as inaccessible bitmaps (perhaps with alt text, although there is a risk that alt text is not updated when the content changes) is now served as actual, marked-up (e.g with language) accessible text given that designers can be assured that the correct font will be available.

MC>  It did not seem there was a natural part of the document in
MC> which to mention this accessibility use case. However, we
MC> encourage you to mention this in publicity materials about this
MC> technology.

I agree that the best place to make this point is probably in related materials.

MC>  Web Fonts in general brings many benefits and
MC> accessibility is one of them. If you would like more details about
MC> how we see this as an "accessibility win", feel free to contact us.

Personally I think the accessibility win is clear, but I'm always happy to discuss this.

I'm considering adding a section 'Benefits' to 
http://www.w3.org/Fonts/
and accessibility would be mentioned there.

There is also a WOFF FAQ, currently being revised, which mentions the accessibility benefit
http://www.w3.org/Fonts/WOFF-FAQ.html#What_are_the_benefits_of_using_WOFF

Thanks again for your helpful and timely review.


-- 
 Chris Lilley   Technical Director, Interaction Domain                 
 W3C Graphics Activity Lead, Fonts Activity Lead
 Co-Chair, W3C Hypertext CG
 Member, CSS, WebFonts, SVG Working Groups
Received on Thursday, 18 November 2010 15:04:31 UTC

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