Re: Accessibility APIs (was RE: Revert Request)

On Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 6:49 PM, John Foliot <> wrote:
> Silvia Pfeiffer wrote:
>> Maybe the a11y APIs need an update - since they, too, need to cope
>> with the challenge of the changes that have been made to HTML. I don't
>> think it's unreasonable to expect certain inconsistencies to emerge in
>> those tools that will need to be fixed.
> Hi Silvia,
> If you believe this to be true, I encourage you to file bugs with the
> various Operating Systems we have today(*), as those accessibility APIs are
> linked not to browsers (and HTML) but rather the Operating Systems
> themselves. (I'm not even sure how you would write this up as a bug). Given
> the complexity of these APIs however, and the time it would take to
> implement this type of fundamental change (including trickle through to
> related hardware and software installations), I would argue that it is
> reckless and harmful to proceed with this suggested Change Proposal at this
> time.

We have the same problem with aria-hidden text and it is indeed a
challenge that we need to address. Just mapping hidden text to plain
text is quite plainly a problematic approach in any situation, not
just the one that this change has introduced. We need to start
thinking about a solution for such situations.

> Even if the APIs were changed however, how does this new spec-change address
> tab focus?

Yes, indeed, there are challenges. In this case we could set
aria-hidden to false and thus make the section visible to AT, which
should then allow tab focus. Thus, the section is only
reachable/visible by AT. I'm not sure that solves all problems, but it
could be one approach. I think we should seriously think about this
issue and come up with solutions.

> If hidden text could be made to be "html-rich" somehow, that
> would then require including tab focus for many of those elements (<a>,
> <li>, <td>, etc.) to allow them work properly - but tab-able for whom? Just
> AT users? (How would that work?) Or all users? And if all users, what
> happens when sighted users start tabbing to elements that are not visible on
> screen?

No, I don't think it makes sense to make it tabbable generally nor
visible to users without AT, since the text was only created for AT.

> How does this benefit mobility impaired users, or users with
> cognitive disabilities?

If the text was created hidden, thus aiming only at vision-impaired
users, I don't think such other users will miss out on anything.
Mobility impaired users and users with cognitive disabilities need
different help.


Received on Friday, 27 January 2012 08:42:24 UTC