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Re: Why I don't attend the weekly teleconference (Was: Input on the agenda)

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 17:38:58 +0100
Message-Id: <p0624085ec66fee90fea3@[]>
To: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
Cc: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org
At 11:57  -0500 30/06/09, Murray Maloney wrote:
>David, I don't know why you failed to respond to this part of what I 
>wrote. I think that you should read and respond to this part because 
>you seem to be voicing a tension that appears to be a straw man.

It's because I didn't see a question here.  But let me try, since 
there is a mis-understanding that may be worth teasing out.

I don't think I said that there are features that MUST not be 
displayed to sighted users; clearly that would be a silly 
restriction.  But some of these attributes ARE not displayed to 
sighted users, and as a result, they are invisible, unchecked, by the 
average web author.  The result is a poor level of conformance, I 
fear; people just don't notice their failures.

If, on the other hand, getting the accessibility provisions wrong 
ALSO meant that the page didn't work well for the average sighted 
user, then the average web author has a better chance of noticing 
that and fixing that.  That's all.  The accessibility provisions 
would then be in an 'integrated' rather than 'ghettoed' state.  The 
downside would be that you can no longer point at something and say 
"see, that is there specifically and only for accessibility" -- but 
that very statement is also potentially an upside.

>At 02:53 PM 6/29/2009 +0100, David Singer wrote:
>>I think part of the problem on the alternatives may be another 
>>unvoiced tension, which is roughly as follows.
>>Some people seem to feel that accessibility provisions should be 
>>specifically and only targeted for accessibility -- e.g. an 
>>attribute that no-one else ever sees or uses.  Others wonder, since 
>>most web authors don't use accessibility provisions, whether 
>>accessibility provisions that web authors don't see are unlikely to 
>>be supported by them very well, if at all (and indeed, that they 
>>are highly unlikely to check how effective or even correct they 
>Please allow me to try to correct your understanding on that...
>What I have heard, repeatedly, from accessibility people is that 
>they recognize that some of the special provisions that are provided 
>for their benefit can be a burden to those who derive no benefit. 
>Moreover, they have learned that it is important to find solutions 
>to their problems that provide ancillary benefits to others, such as 
>curb cuts. With respect to longdesc and summary, I will make the 
>following observations.
>Longdesc is intended to hold a long description of a graphic element 
>which contains information sufficient to allow a non-sighted user to 
>appreciate the intent or content of the graphic element. Ideally, 
>there would be no more information in the long description than is 
>discernible by a sighted user. Having some experience with 
>publishing, they have acknowledged that placing such information in 
>the main stream of content, or in a caption as has been suggested, 
>would be more of a speed bump than a curb cut for sighted users. So, 
>they have allowed as how the content of a longdesc need not be 
>displayed to all users at all times, but I have never heard anybody 
>suggest that a long description should not be made available to 
>sighted users.
>Summary is intended to a) a quick summary of a table, such as you or 
>I might gain by simply glancing at it without examining the content 
>closely, such as 'A price chart of teas and coffees' or b) a 
>navigational aid to the table, such as 'This is a complex table with 
>headers spanning several rows and columns. The prices of tea are 
>presented in columns 3 and 4. The prices of coffee are presented in 
>column 6, [and so on].' Again, one suspects that sighted users would 
>not need or want such a summary, but I don't think that anybody has 
>suggested that they should not or must not have it.

David Singer
Multimedia Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Tuesday, 30 June 2009 16:39:56 UTC

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