W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-cognitive-a11y-tf@w3.org > November 2015

RE: HTML5 default implicit semantics

From: Matt King <a11ythinker@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 2015 08:21:21 -0800
To: <lwatson@paciellogroup.com>, "'John Foliot'" <john.foliot@deque.com>, "'Steve Lee'" <steve@opendirective.com>, "'public-cognitive-a11y-tf'" <public-cognitive-a11y-tf@w3.org>
Cc: "'W3C WAI Protocols & Formats'" <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <007801d11b0a$ac663f60$0532be20$@Gmail.com>
An important part of thinking about the ARIA strategy moving forward is discussing which aspects of the solutions to these systemic problems fall within the scope of the accessibility standards and other W3C deliverables. We need to have realistic expectations.

While I am all for making ARIA consumable and want to do all we can to make it as easy as possible for developers to implement, we also need to remember that complexities at the lowest levels are unavoidable. We have a huge and complicated problem space, and no amount of standard writing will make it simple.

It may actually take the resources of large multi-nationals, governments, educational institutions, and many volunteer communities to evolve ICT development methods and tools to the state where accessibility is achievable by any developer. The shape and capabilities of such methods and tools may not look anything like what we have today. As with other complex technical challenges that humans are addressing from the safety of autos and construction to the environmental impact of our daily activities, the standards only put success within reach of organized effort. It's then a big leap to the point where a do-it-yourselfer can walk through a store like Home Depot and get everything necessary, including information and training,  to make a code-compliant modification to a home.

Obviously, to the extent feasible, we want to minimize the amount of resource required to get to our desired end state. But, I think it is unrealistic to think that the average developer will be building fully accessible ICT using only today's methods and tools along with W3C deliverables.

Personally, I see accessibility in a state similar to that of the field of computer science somewhere in the 1960's or 1970's. We do not even have the field well enough defined that it is a standard part of computer science curriculum accreditation. Accessibility is still primarily the stuff of industry and dedicated academics. It is a highly specialized niche field. But, that is rapidly changing. And, along with that change will come a generation of developers that will democratize accessibility just as past generations have democratized other aspects of building the web by creating new technologies that didn't even exist a few years ago.

Matt King

-----Original Message-----
From: Léonie Watson [mailto:lwatson@paciellogroup.com] 
Sent: Friday, November 6, 2015 10:07 AM
To: 'John Foliot' <john.foliot@deque.com>; 'Steve Lee' <steve@opendirective.com>; 'public-cognitive-a11y-tf' <public-cognitive-a11y-tf@w3.org>
Cc: 'W3C WAI Protocols & Formats' <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Subject: RE: HTML5 default implicit semantics

> From: John Foliot [mailto:john.foliot@deque.com]
> Sent: 06 November 2015 15:32
> Steve Lee [mailto:steve@opendirective.com] wrote:
> >
> > The underlying question in my mind is how do we get authors to use 
> > new ARIA attributes for coga? It's proved not easy to get ARIA widely used.

> Thanks for this observation. I too have similar concerns...
> Author learning curves, and author fatigue in getting content 
> marked-up correctly, is an on-going problem that is also impacted by 
> scale: yes, large multi-national companies with dedicated 
> accessibility teams and highly functioning engineers will likely get 
> this right, but I fear how this will trickle down the author chain.

This is a common problem. ARIA is often misunderstood, and (perhaps more importantly) so are the semantics that underpin it. Things are further compounded by the fact that ARIA is invisible. It makes playing/experimenting with it difficult for most developers, and consequently removes a common way for them to learn how a technology works.

When ARIA first came into existence we thought it was temporary. We've come a long way since then and ARIA is clearly here to stay. Perhaps this means we're at a good point to reevaluate the overall strategy and roadmap for ARIA?


Senior accessibility engineer @LeonieWatson @PacielloGroup
Received on Monday, 9 November 2015 16:21:53 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Thursday, 24 March 2022 20:23:54 UTC