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RE: [css3-lists] [css3-speech] Purpose of the module

From: Belov, Charles <Charles.Belov@sfmta.com>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 11:29:09 -0700
Message-ID: <E17F75B6E86AE842A57B4534F82D0376CD29CA@MTAMAIL.muni.sfgov.org>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Cc: "www-style list" <www-style@w3.org>
Tab Atkins Jr. wrote on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 2:33 PM
> Quick philosophical question on the intended purpose of the 
> Lists module.  I had assumed that it was intended to, as it 
> says on the tin, define how to render lists.  It has also 
> picked up the slightly more general purpose of defining how 
> counter-styles work, which is totally reasonable.
> However, some of the styles, specifically the [cjk]-financial 
> types (defined in the "Chinese 'spoken-out' counter styles" 
> and related
> sections) (previously called "-formal"), don't seem to be 
> useful for either of these.  They're for hand-writing 
> quantities of money in a way that's difficult to later alter, 
> similar to how we might write out "twenty three dollars" on a 
> check in an english-speaking country instead of "$23.00".
> This is potentially useful if offered as part of a general 
> number-formatting facility, but I don't believe that's the 
> intention of this module.  I'm thinking that I should just 
> remove those styles.
> If we want that sort of facility, it should be defined 
> separately, as it will need a more powerful formatting engine 
> anyway - probably something like RBNF.
> Thoughts? 

Without commenting specifically on number styles such as -financial,
my take on the intended purpose of the Lists module is that it is 
intended to do the following:

- Marking content semantically as a list.  This would also allow 
someone using a screen reader to skip over the list.

- Distinguishing single list items from each other.

- Laying out the list numbering or bullet separately from the rest of 
the item content.

- Predefining the most common numbering and marking schemes.

Given that, there are additional competing needs by different authors:

- Allowing for the author to supply their own numbers.  You 
have already provided a scheme to accomplish that.

And the following need I have previously raised, which apparently
conflicts with the idea that CSS-generated content is not supposed to 
be semantic.

- Allowing for the author to specify whether the list numbers 
are semantic, that is, whether a screen reader can safely read "1, 
2, 3" or whether it needs to read the numbering as rendered.  I 
have previously mentioned that the SFMTA has legal notices where "A,
B, C" must be read by the screen reader as "A, B, C" as that is how
the items would be called.

As you or others have pointed out, or as I have inferred, I could 
simply type:

<ul style="list-style-type:none;">
<li>A. First item</li>
<li>B. Second item</li>
<li>C. Third item</li>

but then I would lose formatting independence of the number and the 
remainder, and the screen reader might read "1, A. First item" which
is still not what I want.

While I realize that I could achieve the formatting independence with
<li><span class="marker">A.</span><span class="listitem">First 
item</span></li>, in real life that would be such a time sink that 
I would keep the simpler code and put up with the formatting issues.

But if it is not suitable for the Lists module, then perhaps the Speech
module would need an property as to whether or not to read the list
sequence number, so that the listener would only hear "A. First item" 
for <li>A. First item</li>.

Hope this helps,
Charles Belov
SFMTA Webmaster
Received on Thursday, 19 May 2011 18:30:51 UTC

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