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ACTION-24: suggest accessibility improvement for "Big issue" marker

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2007 12:23:54 -0500 (EST)
To: <public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org>, <oedipus@hicom.net>
Message-Id: <20071203172354.04C081F0C@victory.cnc.net>

BACKGROUND:

Since the style rules defined for .issue and .big-issue are identical, 
no one (sighted or otherwise) can determine from the styling what is 
an "issue" and what is a "big issue"

The offer/attempt to add context using CSS-generated text (for example, 
using :before and :after to generate content which marks the beginning 
of a "big issue" and the end of a "big issue") is appreciated, but 
support for CSS-generated text is extremely spotty to non-existent; most 
GUI screen readers, which have to scrape the screen (technical term: 
create an on-screen model) of the page (in effect, a snapshot of the 
page as rendered at a particular time) in order to scrape the generated 
content, so as to expose it to a screen reader or refreshable braille 
display.

Since AT and UA support for CSS-generated content is poor to spotty, 
research is being conducted to ascertain what works with today's 
technologies.  To this end, i have begun to mount some tests of 
generated content to gather hard data on support for generated content 
in screen readers - consult:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2007Nov/0062.html

to which the following simple test document is attached:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2007Nov/att-0062/GeneratedContentAccess.html

the results of tests of this resource with various operating systems, 
assistive technologies, and user agents are archived in the following 
thread:

http://www.w3.org/mid/20071120023818.M89422@hicom.net

CONCLUSIONS:

What would be of great assistance to the overall accessibility of the 
HTML5 Editor's Draft would be to use semantic markers in the text of the 
HTML5 draft, indicating inserted and deleted text,  using <INS> and <DEL>, 
as well as considering encasing asides, ToDo, and other markers which 
currently use visual conventions to express their function, in the EM 
and/or STRONG elements, so that there are structural markers which are 
capable of communicating the state of the text -- rendered visually via 
the style sheet -- declaratively. of course, the EM and STRONG elements 
(and their sub-classed children) can be styled in whatever manner the 
editor desires, as long as that styling is tied firmly to semantic markers, 
such as EM and STRONG and not SPAN) -- EM and STRONG have meaning (for 
example, an ISSUE is a string of text that should be denoted by an EM in 
the document source and styled however the editor wants, whilst a "big 
issue" should be marked using the STRONG element to identify it 
declaratively (rather than merely stylistically) as a "Big Issue"


RESOLUTION:

Since the style rules defined for .issue and .big-issue are identical, no 
one (sighted or otherwise) can determine from the styling what is an 
"issue" and what is a "big issue".  The differentiation/identification of 
an "Issue: " and a "Big Issue: " should, therefore, appear in the document 
source not as pseudo-text, but as actual text strings: otherwise, how is 
one to differentiate between the two?

STYLESHEET ADDITIONS:

.issue, .big-issue { color: #E50000; background: white; border: solid red; padding: 0.5em; margin: 1em 0; }
.issue-label { font-style: normal; font-weight: bold; }
.big-issue-label { font-weight: bold; }

MARKUP EXAMPLES:

<p id="issue-alt3" class="issue">
<em class="issue-label">Issue:</em> This paragraph illustrates non-generated labelling text contained within the current style rules for &#34;issue&#34;
</p>

<p class="big-issue">
<strong class="big-issue-label">Big Issue:</strong> This paragraph illustrates non-generated labelling text contained within the current style rules for the class &#34;big-issue&#34;
</p>

Pending Review, this closes ISSUE-24
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/actions/24

note that a new issue ISSUE-26 accessibility/usability of HTML5 and W3C 
default stylesheets (http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/25) has 
been created to address other accessibility and usability issues with the
stylesheet for HTML5 as well as W3C default stylesheets.


-- 
"He who lives on Hope, dies farting."
  -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack
-- 
Gregory J. Rosmaita, unagi69@concentric.net
Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
Received on Monday, 3 December 2007 17:24:18 UTC

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