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Re: Marking up links to alternative versions of content (was: Re: conflation of issues or convergence of interests?)

From: Ben Boyle <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2007 23:12:41 +1000
Message-ID: <5f37426b0707310612j268cb6c6v32384d17341b4c3b@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: "Sander Tekelenburg" <st@isoc.nl>, public-html@w3.org

On 7/31/07, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> wrote:
> It seems to me that designing for mutual exclusion, realizing that
> some users want to be aware of the alternatives and then coming up
> with a user interface that presents the supposedly mutually exclusive
> parts at the same time is harder than designing for offering
> alternatives side-by-side in the first place.

This paragraph alone makes a great deal of sense to me. Highly
relevant to many of the discussions about making fallback available,
supporting user choice etc.

I personally find that even if I consider a transcript to be an
"equivalent" (by which I mean "suitable replacement") to a video, I
still like the transcript to be available for everyone. It can serve
nicely as a preview (helps in decision-making: do I want to view the
video?), and it can be a useful alternative in many situations. Maybe
I don't want to use video because at work the sound is inconvenient,
and the IT department monitor bandwidth usage closely. It's good to
have choice.

What might be nice (and is missing for the time being) is some
confidence that AT will understand this link between the information.
I'm thinking particularly of sections now, which are a new thing and
who knows how they will work in practice? It would be great to think
someone encountering the video could issue the magic command to "give
me all the related information about this video" and have that work
(this might employ strategies like look for @title, then try
figure/legend, then look for a section ancestor, then start dealing
with tag soup ...).

Once that's known, best practice will emerge. I'm happy to follow that
guidance when authoring to do my part to support accessibility. I
suspect that guidance to come from WCAG HTML techniques ultimately ...
whilst HTML 5 is in draft we're all having to guess what those
techniques might be, and thus guess at what language features HTML 5
needs to support those techniques.

Anyway, a vote for side-by-side rather than "make mutually exclusive
content available" from me. I know it won't satisfy everyone at this
point. I'm sure plugins will emerge that implement that kind of
delving and manipulation of fallback content though, if they don't
already exist?
Received on Tuesday, 31 July 2007 13:12:59 UTC

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