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Re: Techniques for WCAG 2.0: T3: Using standard text formatting conventions for headings (TXT)

From: Loretta Guarino Reid <lorettaguarino@google.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:51:35 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTi=5WuGk18YxWYJ+biZS1w96Anj6bkKKJ3s2AYfs@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Pant, Devarshi Lockheed Martin" <Devarshi.Pant@ssa.gov>
Cc: "public-comments-wcag20@w3.org" <public-comments-wcag20@w3.org>
On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 8:50 AM, Pant, Devarshi Lockheed Martin <
Devarshi.Pant@ssa.gov> wrote:

>  Name: Devarshi Pant
> Email: devarshipant@gmail.com
> Affiliation: Consultant
> Document: Techniques for WCAG 2.0<http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20101014/>
> Item Number: Techniques T3: Using standard text formatting conventions for
> headings <http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20101014/T3> (TXT) (
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20101014/T3)
> Part of Item: Description
> Comment Type: Format Convention
> Summary of Issue: Formatting Convention
> Comment (Including rationale for any proposed change):
> To decipher a heading, a screen reader user will have to remember the rule:
> “two blank lines preceding the heading” and “a blank line following a
> heading”. This rule can easily get complex when other formatting options are
> introduced in the document structure to convey the structural meaning to
> different user groups. What happens when a hyperlink, underlined text, or a
> caption is to be expressed using plain text? The list goes on when we factor
> in other ways documents are currently presented. It only makes sense to have
> its plain text counterpart elicit same structural meaning using more
> intuitive encodings than line breaks and non printing characters.
> Proposed Change:
> Use mnemonics instead. Remove references to non printed characters and line
> breaks. There are richer ways to convey this information to all user groups.
> For example, to express a heading in a plain text document, using (H)This
> is a Heading(H) will be easier to follow than the blank line format. Note
> that the enclosed character is a mnemonic for heading.
> Using the same rule, a underline can represented as (U)This is an
> underline(U).
> A hyperlink will be (HY)This is a hyperlink(HY).
> This way even users groups will be able to understand a plain text document
> by visually parsing it.
Response from the Working Group
The purpose of this technique is to talk about plain text. If you add markup
as you suggest and is no longer a plain text document (unless you consider
an HTML document to be plain text).

This does create constraints on how you write a plain text document. But it
does give you a way of creating plain text documents can be deciphered. And
that is the purpose of the technique. To allow you to create a plain text
document that has no markup but yet can be deciphered by a screen reader
designed to work with plain text documents that constrain themselves to
these rules.

Loretta Guarino Reid, WCAG WG Co-Chair
Gregg Vanderheiden, WCAG WG Co-Chair
Michael Cooper, WCAG WG Staff Contact

On behalf of the WCAG Working Group
Received on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 23:52:05 UTC

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