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

Re: Nothing is really hidden

From: Lee Kowalkowski <lee.kowalkowski@googlemail.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 11:51:38 +0100
Message-ID: <610592c90907030351p64e04c14mc1186ebe3e32c769@mail.gmail.com>
To: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
2009/7/2 Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>:
> But as was demonstrated earlier, it is not invisible to the author, or
> to anyone who needs to get it right, whether they have a visual
> impairment or not. It doesn't display in the typical web browser, but
> it isn't invisible, and the people can see it to read it to check if
> it's comprehensive.

Let's consider the probability that author != developer.  Normally, a
developer (or team of) is not familiar with the client-domain or
expectations, therefore requires that all content is provided by the
customer - in all supported languages.  The author is usually a
customer with normal or corrected vision, doesn't even know what a
screen reader is or what HTML is.  The developer enters the content
exactly as specified, as this is the contractually-binding agreement
(deviant content becomes a project political nightmare).

The customer will normally provide the developers with visuals,
usually involving a third-party designer who is no longer involved.
As these are the customer's core requirements, this is the only
content the customer will check.  Therefore table summaries would
effectively be invisible to the author.

If the development team are accessibility aware, or there is a
contractual requirement to be, they will request further content for
alt attributes, etc, they will not make it up themselves, especially
not in foreign languages.  If the developers do create it themselves,
the customer eventually finds out via IE tooltips or when the image
downloads fail and asks for them to be changed or removed (the
developers can do title="" if they realise).

Unfortunately, from personal experience, conversations around table
summary content go something like this:
Dev> Is there any content for table summaries?
Cust> What's that?
Dev> (Explains summary attribute).
Cust> We really need to do that?
Dev> Well it's in WCAG.
Cust> Thanks, so it is.
Dev> So when can we expect it?
Cust> We'll have a meeting and get back to you.
-- After meeting --
Cust> Table summaries are Priority 3, we only require WCAG AA, so we
don't need it.
Dev> Oh, OK.  Are you sure?
Cust> Yep.
... and that's if you don't have the communication nightmare of having
to have this conversation via non-technical project managers and
requirements managers.

Received on Friday, 3 July 2009 10:52:19 UTC

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