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Re: Web Browser Preferences and Internationalisation/Accessibility

From: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 21:08:13 +1100
Message-ID: <2c0e02830911190208h2349a355vf2b8e7eb8b3d3e84@mail.gmail.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: public-html <public-html@w3.org>
On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 2:10 PM, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> wrote:
> On Nov 18, 2009, at 7:00 PM, Silvia Pfeiffer wrote:
>> Indeed, Safari doesn't allow any user preferences that are
>> safari-specific, but instead contains in navigator.language the system
>> preference.
>> This to me this signifies that there are even more problems with
>> browser cross-compatibility of language settings. And when we approach
>> captions and audio descriptions, we will only further extend this
>> problem.
>> I actually think that the IE approach is the best: it differentiates
>> between the OS setting, the browser setting and the Web page
>> preferences and lets javascript developers retrieve all of these and
>> react accordingly. If Safari/Webkit and several others do not
>> distinguish between OS and Web page preferences, then they should
>> simply report the same value for these.
>> A unified interface for language setting API across browsers certainly
>> should be in the interest of everyone, no?
> Is there a need to expose any setting to the Web page other than the
> language preference for Web content? In Safari, it's unlikely we'll ever
> have three separate language preferences, but even if we did, I can't see
> why Web content would care about the OS language or the browser language if
> they are different from the language to be used in Web pages.

I guess you have a point and maybe it's just Firefox that needs to change.

Basically, I'm not so worried about how many language interfaces we
provide, as long as the browser/OS preferences are exposed by all
browsers through the same javascript API to the Web page.

So, I would think we need to decide what API should be the standard
and used across all browsers.

And then I would think it's time to file bugs with browser vendors -
if it ends up just being Firefox, that's a good thing.

> Regarding captions and audio descriptions: is it really necessary to specify
> a preferred language? What's the use case for having those in a different
> language than your preferred language for Web content? Are there users who
> have different language preferences the text of the Web page, video
> captions, and audio descriptions? It seems like "want" and "don't want" are
> the only relevant settings for those.

Maybe - it's something that still needs to be discussed. I proposed it
that way because it provides flexibility without much extra effort.

It's not even clear if we should have a preference for captions and
subtitles each - since they typically are presented in the same
location, I have merged them in one preference.

For subtitles, it is, however, indeed necessary to specify which
language they should be in, because let's say you are a foreigner and
everything is set up in English for you, you might still want your
video subtitles to be in your native language.

BTW: a whole discussion about the necessary OS/browser preferences for
accessibility will need to be had and I assume it will likely be had
in the accessibility task force.

I raised it here since it's not just an accessibility but also an
internationalisation issue.

Received on Thursday, 19 November 2009 10:09:05 UTC

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