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Re: SVG 1.2 Comment: Detailed last call comments (all chapters)

From: Jon Ferraiolo <jon.ferraiolo@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2004 20:43:59 -0800
To: Nigel McFarlane <nrm@kingtide.com.au>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: Doug Schepers <doug@schepers.cc>, www-svg@w3.org
Message-id: <>
At 06:38 PM 11/3/2004, Nigel McFarlane wrote:

>>In any case, using SVG for user interfaces seems like a misuse of SVG, 
>>since SVG is a graphics language, not a user interface language.
>Is it not inevitable that a wide range of new applications will
>be created or enhanced to use 2D vector technology, with
>little or no consideration for accessibility? That is
>already so for various diagrammers and modelling tools,
>and that trend is headed for the desktop.
>Such a state of affairs should not be mandated by anyone,
>but saying "Stop!" will not stop anything.
>The wider question of SVG's utility in future user interfaces
>should not be closed just because accessibility is a difficult
>hurdle or a previously dis-connected problem space. The cat is
>out of the bag for vector 2D, and the SVG WG's response is the
>- Nigel.

I agree with what you say.

One more thing I will point out is that with SVG 1.2 we have attempted to 
make SVG more accessible, most particularly by introducing a formal notion 
of fields via the 'focusable' and 'editable' attributes. If you look at the 
W3C's User Agent Accessibility Guidelines and study them against SVG 
1.0/1.1, you will see that there are key accessibility checkpoints which 
are impossible to achieve within an SVG 1.0/1.1 user agent because the 
markup does not provide enough information to allow navigation around the 
"user interface" via the keyboard. In SVG 1.0/1.1, there was no way to 
distinguish a button or type-in area from background graphics since most 
everything is defined by <path> and <text> elements. With SVG 1.2, with a 
formal notion of fields, you can navigate from field to field via keyboard 
facilities. (The first checkpoint in UAAG is "Ensure that the user can 
operate, through keyboard input alone, any user agent functionality 
available through the 
interface". Keyboard access is also one of the focuses of US government 
Section 508 accessibility requirements.)

I am not claiming that SVG 1.2 suddenly makes all SVG content perfectly 
accessible. I am just saying that there are a couple of new features which 
were added with a specific eye towards improving accessibility over SVG 
1.1's accessibility support (http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG11/access.html). Note 
that the WAI team was very much involved in the development of SVG 1.0/1.1.

One more comment about accessibility. If you have text, then use a 
text-oriented markup language such as XHTML. But if you have graphics, your 
choice is between rasters and vectors. I would hope we can all agree that 
SVG is a great step forward in accessibility versus raster formats with 
image map overlays. For example, there have been multiple demos of voice 
systems such as SALT vocalizing SVG documents successfully and producing 
reasonable results. It is quite tricky to vocalize the contents of a raster 

Jon Ferraiolo
Adobe Systems, Inc.

>Nigel McFarlane                                   nrm@kingtide.com.au
>Services:                   Analysis, Programming, Writing, Education
>Expertise:            Software, Telecommunications, Internet, Physics
>"Rapid Application Development with Mozilla" / www.nigelmcfarlane.com
Received on Thursday, 4 November 2004 05:36:00 UTC

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