W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > July 2009

Re: Nothing is really hidden

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 2009 10:59:29 -0500
Message-ID: <643cc0270907010859s3869b177sc170ebd9d5e9e442@mail.gmail.com>
To: john@netpurgatory.com
Cc: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
On Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 10:28 AM, John C. Vernaleo<john@netpurgatory.com> wrote:
> It seems to me that if we are being very strict in our language here that
> something that is present but not displayed by a given UA is pretty much by
> definition hidden by that UA.

Then we have to include IMG elements among the hidden, because the
contents are not viewable by a subset of the HTML 5 community. Come to
that, Canvas is also hidden, when scripting is disabled. SVG is
hidden, if you use IE.

So yes, different elements are hidden by different UAs, but they're
not universally hidden. We've been referring to some attributes and
elements as universally hidden, which really isn't true.

> Regardless of the exact terminology used, while the ability to view source
> of web pages was (and probably continues to be) a very important part of the
> web, it hardly seems that something should ever rely on a user doing that.

Depends on how you define user. If you're talking about web designers
and developers as users, I bet there isn't one of us that doesn't view
source many times per week.

The average user, true, probably doesn't view source often. However,
the values still are not hidden, just because people don't
specifically go out of their way to seem them, don't you think?

Again, I could be picking nits, but I think its important that we have
a shared understanding that though an attribute or element's contents
may not be visible in one context, it is in others. At a minimum, this
might help ensure that we don't start thinking of certain elements and
attributes as having less value, because they aren't of interest to a
specific audience, or user agents.


> On Wed, 1 Jul 2009, Shelley Powers wrote:
>> One thing I think we need to be careful about when discussing
>> accessibility markup, as well as semantic metadata, is that nothing is
>> really hidden.
>> I've noticed others use the adjective, and I also recently used this
>> term when referring to @summary. However, in all of the contexts in
>> which we are using the term, we are using it incorrectly.
>> Everything in a web page is visible to someone at some time, unless
>> deliberately obfuscated and/or encrypted. For instance, @summary may
>> not be visible to those who are not using AT, but it is visible to
>> those who are. And it's visible to anyone looking into page source, or
>> to the author, who adds it to the page, or via any number of other
>> tools and technologies.
>> Semantic metadata, such as the following, from the RDFa specification:
>> <meta property="dc:creator" content="Mark Birbeck" />
>>   <link rel="foaf:topic" href="http://www.formsPlayer.com/#us" />
>> May not be directly visible in a browser, but is visible to automated
>> agents, which then render the information visible via other
>> applications, such as Google's recent rendering of review information
>> using RDFa, or various browser add-ons.
>> I may be picking nits, but to continue to use the adjective 'hidden'
>> when discussing any of these values, to me, discounts the fact that
>> at, some time, all of these items will be 'visible', though they may
>> not be visible as we tend to think of visible. In addition, though the
>> audience for this information may be smaller than a typical audience
>> for a web page, it is still an audience. Therefore, there is no
>> absence of consumers, for any of these elements and attributes.
>> Shelley
Received on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 16:00:13 UTC

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