Re: proliferation of reference roles in the dpub aria spec.

What I am suggesting is that we ask the Coga group to take a subset of
ARIA. The Coga group agreed to go the ARIA route vs. RDFA. ARIA has far
greater uptake that RDFA.

Rich Schwerdtfeger

From: "Chaals McCathie Nevile" <>
To: Siegman <>, "lisa.seeman"
Cc: "John Foliot" <>, Richard
            Schwerdtfeger/Austin/IBM@IBMUS, "'Ivan Herman'" <>,
            "'W3C PF - DPUB Joint Task Force'" <>,
            "'PF'" <>, Lisa
            Seeman/Bethesda/Contr/IBM@IBMUS, "'James Craig'"
Date: 10/13/2015 10:02 AM
Subject: Re: proliferation of reference roles in the dpub aria spec.

On Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:51:38 +0200, lisa.seeman <>

Hi Folks

You can look at an early draft of what COGA are thinking for ARIA at

It is an early draft, and we have not yet voted to pass it for wider
circulation, but I think it is worth hearing these kind of comments

You can also see a demo of a possible implementation at

What is not mentioned is that the semantics needs to as easy as possible to
use. (The direction of RDFA often raises the bar to high for the Web
Authors we hope to appeal too.)

Yes, that is one concern I had while suggesting that we should piggy-back
on On the other hand, being used in millions of domains means
there are a lot of examples out there. And one thing i think the
folks (which include me) would be very happy about is improving examples on
the site itself, to make them easier to understand and copy.

But for things that can be defined by rel - and for things that *already
are*, like glossary, help, next, previous, start, … the syntax is very
simple. And I suspect we will have fewer typos in rel= than we will in

(Another theoretical concern with schema is that it is published by 4
companies who can change it at will, based on their own commercial goals -
but I think that is not important in practice, since a vocabulary is really
made by the way it is used. Just as Dublin Core "author" became one of the
most popular terms in metadata, despite never actually existing in Dublin
Core specifications, if a lot of people are using something in
for something other than search engines, even if we change the formal
schema people can keep doing what they did. The IE6 story shows how hard it
is to change that even for a company with a huge budget and very good
reasons to try…)


All the best

Lisa Seeman

Athena ICT Accessibility Projects
LinkedIn, Twitter

---- On Tue, 13 Oct 2015 15:37:34 +0300 Siegman<> wrote
 Piping in from the DPUB side of things. Apologies for the silence, several
 of us were at a workshop last week.

 @rel seems to be made for this, and it came up as an even broader use case
 in the workshop last, which addressed the IDPF’s revision of EPUB.

 The one thing that does concern us is that it is a little unclear who
 “owns” the rel registry and how specifically terms are defined.

 Tzviya Siegman

 Digital Book Standards & Capabilities Lead



 From: John Foliot []
 Sent: Monday, October 12, 2015 6:52 PM
 To: 'Richard Schwerdtfeger'
 Cc: 'Ivan Herman'; 'W3C PF - DPUB Joint Task Force'; 'PF'; 'Lisa Seeman';
 'Chaals McCathie Nevile'; 'James Craig'
 Subject: RE: proliferation of reference roles in the dpub aria spec.

 Hi Rich,

 Chiming in here, I have to agree with Chaals, the @rel attribute does (is
 intended to do) exactly what you are talking about.

 Having a new series of @rel values ( or would be
 consistent with existing technology/techniques today. In fact, related to
 one requirement from the dpub folks, there is already a “brainstorm”
 proposal for rel=”bibliography” in the wiki: (nearer the end of the

 I’ll also point out to Chaals that better implementation of @rel *could*
 also serve as an alternative to @accesskey (
 in that a standardized list of @rel values would also be useful for
 end-users to map accesskey-like behaviors to, using keystroke combinations
 *the user* chooses (as opposed to the author, who will likely get it wrong
 as often as right). J

 Finally, the fact that new values can (could) easily be added to a
 standardized list is extremely useful, although I question the use of a
 public wiki for that, as perhaps being a little too informal a mechanism
 to record what would be essentially mission-critical values moving forward
 (i.e. anyone could add, remove or edit values with no actual
 process/security net behind that). I vaguely recall this being a point of
 discussion quite a while back, however, to date I will also note that this
 type of possible abuse has not (yet) manifested, so perhaps I am overly
 concerned about nothing…

 I will also reiterate my concern that currently ARIA is suffering from a
 ghettoization of sorts, in that it is seen as *only* for Assistive
 Technology such as screen readers, which is an unfortunate but real
 reality today.


 From: Chaals McCathie Nevile []
 Sent: Monday, October 12, 2015 4:45 PM
 To: James Craig <>; Richard Schwerdtfeger <>
 Cc: Ivan Herman <>; W3C PF - DPUB Joint Task Force <>; PF <>; Lisa Seeman <>
 Subject: Re: proliferation of reference roles in the dpub aria spec.

 Hi RIch,

 I think we are still talking past each other.

 It sounds like the COGA group is looking for an attribute whose values can
 be defined, in a list that can be easily extended, that can describe links
 in a machine-readable way.

 HTML has an attribute for that called rel. It has been around for a long
 time, has been implemented in various ways all the way through different
 bits of the toolchain - and even beyond the Web, for whatever that is

 There is also "rev" but the only value of that is where you want to reduce
 the number of possible values - instead of having to have rel="next" and
 rel="previous" you could use rel="next" but rev="next" to say that
 something else had rel="next", i.e. is the previous document.

 More detail below.

 On Mon, 12 Oct 2015 22:40:18 +0200, Richard Schwerdtfeger <> wrote:
 That is not the issue and it has absolutely nothing to do with the problem
 we are trying to solve which is that given a link we need to know what the
 destination type of the link it is going. This was discussed at the last
 ARIA task force meeting. It is important that people read the work going
 on in the cognitive accessibility task force and what is being done with

 Can you please provide some clearer sense of what we need to read? "All of
 coga" isn't useful, some list of  15 wiki pages and 20 email threads from
 the last 4 months might be more rational.
 Coga needs to know that that link points to help information

 This is *exactly* the sort of thing rel does.

 In the HTML4 era  browsers provided those buttons in consistent places
 such as at the top or bottom of the window, triggered by rel="help",
 rel="next", etc, as per the spec:

 The HTML5 version appears to have less, since it defers to the wiki which
 allows anyone to list a rel value and the spec for it, but it explicitly
 includes help, prev and next ...
 and a whole list of other features such that when styled they know the
 purpose of the destination of the link so it can be styled using symbols
 or other mechanisms so that they can appear in a consistent way.

 Yes, but any attribute can be used for styling.
 This impacts aging, in that many web sites and applications style things
 differently and the user gets lost. The dpub group had introduced
 different roles for things like glossary references that could easily
 marked with role="link" and aria-destination="glossaryterm". A publisher
 could style these to look the same way and in a way that is easily
 understood by different users.


   *[role=link][rel=next] { /* your style for next */ }

   *[role=link][rel=glossary]:before { /* your dictionary icon */ }
 Coga has suggested the use of an new aria-destination attribute that could
 consume these values. This would allow us to still reuse the link role for
 these different types of links but then provide additional information
 that would help drive toward a consistent look and feel. @rel would be
 great but unfortunately HTML shoved a bunch of totally unrelated values in

 You don't need to handle irrelevant values. But for anything that needs a
 particular behaviour, such as a link tothe next thing, or a link to help,
 you have to implement it whatever attribute it is in.

 The nice thing about doing this on rel attributes is that you build on a
 set of browser extensions, content, and tools that link content,
 stretching back more or less the whole history of the Web.

 More to the point, some of the attributes you think are irrelevant match
 the things I have read from COGA (although I may have misunderstood

 rel="stylesheet alternate" title="simplified layout"

 rel="alternate" hreflang="en-x-kincaid-level-4" title="Easy to read"

 These are things that real developers already know how to do. And things
 that are relatively easy to crawl for. Which matters, because *finding*
 resources that are useful is also an important way to improve

 Building on existing HTML to enable for example

 <a rel="icon"

 <span role="link" onclick="popupDictionary(this.innerText)" rel="glossary"

 Would actually be very easy. I'd be very happy to do that in the Web
 Platforms group, which is the new successor to both Web Apps and HTML, at
 the same time as following the existing trivial process of editing the
 wiki that HTML5 uses for extending values.
 This would be for the link role and not the <link> element. The user
 experience could care less if the @rel="prefetch". @rel is a hodge podge
 of unrelated values.

 rel is currently applicable to link, a and area elements - because those
 are the things that define links in HTML. It makes perfect logical sense
 to argue that something with role="link" is analagous to an a element, and
 therefore the rel attribute should be valid, and have the same behaviour
 as it does for the a element.
 Charles had earlier asked how ATs processed @rel. On Windows, at least,
 they don't and that may be because many of the values have no value to

 Sure. But nor does anything in existence process the aria-destination
 attribute. Which puts it behind rel, since there are browsers in use which
 handle it. In any case, implementation is relatively simple...

 var helpButton = document.querySelector('[role=link][rel=help], a
 [rel=help], area[rel=help]');


 Although most browsers don't emit a "help" event for pages so you might
 want to define something temporary like a keyboard listener for 'f1' or
 add a button to the document (like ReSpec does for W3C working drafts).
 Making matters worse SVG2 doesn't even have a rel attribute:

 But nor does it have an aria-destination attribute. In any event,
 implementation is pretty much the same whatever it is called.
  So, I was interested in @rel as well but the solution quickly felt apart
 for our purposes.

 I don't think it does. Your purpose is *exactly* what the rel attribute
 was intended to do, and has done for a couple of decades. Making a
 *different* attribute to do the same thing seems like a bad way forward.
 It introduces confusion, or double the work, at best.
 I have not seen the SVG WG indicate that it will adopt the HTML <a>

 It has an a element of its own. Adding a rel attribute as valid on that is
 pretty trivial as far as I can tell, whether they adopt the HTML element
 or not.
 In studies with the aging population with NIDDR and in the Coga task force
 that senior users want the user interface to be consistent in how it looks
 and where things are placed. For example, they don't want the next link to
 appear in
 different places as they just can't process the site. They get confused.

 This is exactly what the rel="next" attribute was used for by shipping
 browsers, which placed it near the "contents", "previous", "help" and
 "index" buttons.

 You might want to ask the browsers why they removed those, and how hard it
 is to put them back (hint: trivial, although it would be good if they
 doubled the time allowed to a week, to get some decent design applied this
 Consequently, we are talking about an aria-destination attribute. I have
 cc'd Lisa Seeman if you have any questions from the Coga task force.

 1. Does COGA care what the attribute is called?

 2. Does COGA believe that

    a. this attribute should *only* be relevant to people using
 "specialised" technology, and

    b. the attribute should not be processed to modify the user interface
 of mainstream browsers?

 (and repeating the request I started with, what do I need to read on this




 Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex - - - Find more at

Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex - - - Find more at

Received on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 19:34:11 UTC