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Re: Comment on WAI-ARIA Role

From: Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 13:18:20 -0600
To: "T.V Raman" <raman@google.com>
Cc: Neils@dessci.com, public-pfwg-comments@w3.org, w3c-wai-pf@w3.org, w3c-wai-pf-request@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF7A7778C6.4D024648-ON862573FB.0069F4F7-862573FB.006A0CC2@us.ibm.com>

Alright, I'll bite. So, what would you do with a "math" role once you have
it today vs. developing math in more detail in a later release of WAI-ARIA?

Rich


Rich Schwerdtfeger
Distinguished Engineer, SWG Accessibility Architect/Strategist
Chair, IBM Accessibility Architecture Review  Board
blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/schwer


                                                                           
             "T.V Raman"                                                   
             <raman@google.com                                             
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             02/22/2008 05:55          Comment on WAI-ARIA Role            
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I think role="math" is a sufficiently simple solution to the
problem at hand, and something that we can build on over time.

Neil Soiffer writes:
 > I work for Design Science, which is a W3C member.  I am a member of the
 > MathML Working Group and have been since its inception.  I am also chair
of
 > the DAISY/Math Working Group.  That WG developed a spec that added
MathML to
 > DAISY; it was approved about a year ago.  Our company developed
MathPlayer,
 > the standard "plug-in" for IE to display MathML both visually and
aurally.
 > MathPlayer works with JAWS, Window-Eyes, TextHELP, and other AT to make
math
 > encoded with MathML accessible.  It is capable of generating speech,
 > synchronized highlighting, and braille from the MathML.
 >
 > I have a request for an additional "role" to further support math
 > accessibility.  First, some context...
 >
 > Because of browser implementation issues, MathML adoption has not been
as
 > widespread as it should otherwise be.  A lot of people/sites, including
 > wikipedia, still use images for math.  However, the images often include
alt
 > text or embedded comments that could be used to make the image
accessible.
 > An idea that Design Science has been thinking about is writing
JavaScript
 > that grabs the alt text or embedded comments and provides some level of
 > accessibility.  For example, if the image contains embedded MathML and
 > MathPlayer was installed, then the javascript could rewrite the page as
one
 > containing MathML and MathPlayer could take over display and interaction
 > with AT.  If MathPlayer wasn't installed (for example, someone is
running
 > Firefox on Linux), the JavaScript could still do the translation of
MathML
 > to speech and braille.  It wouldn't be able to magnify or sync
highlight.
 > If TeX or some other known format was found, the JavaScript could
translate
 > it to MathML and then make it accessible.
 >
 > The same JavaScript accessibility issues arise with this idea as with
other
 > JavaScript -- AT doesn't know about the JavaScript and doesn't know that
the
 > image (or div/span for JSMath) is really math.  If it did know, then it
 > could call on our interfaces (or eventually some standard expert handler
 > interface) and get an appropriate string to speak or string to send to
the
 > braille display (math has it own braille codes and they are not
identical
 > to what is spoken).
 >
 > Now for the suggestion...  ARIA should have a way to say 'this element
is
 > actually math'.  My non-expert suggestion for how to do this would be to
add
 > a "math" role to the list of known roles.  'math' would be similar to
'grid'
 > in that it represents document structure and contains other elements.
 > Ideally, an extensible mechanism would be desirable, but math is an
obvious
 > case that maps onto an existing W3C standard and would enhance existing
 > pages that don't use MathML.
 >
 > As a real life example from Wikipedia
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nth_root],
 > the first image in the XHTML could potentially be made accessible if AT
knew
 > about it by adding a role attribute as
 > <img class="tex" alt="\sqrt[n]{a}" role="math" src="
 >
http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/9/a/2/9a2b6d33f3d62a1e8bd99c76f3cb79f5.png
 > ">
 >
 > [Note:  the alt text is present on the Wikipedia page.  The TeX was used
to
 > generate the image in the first place]
 >
 > Adding role="math" says that the alt text or comments in the image
contains
 > information that can be used for accessibility purposes.  It alerts AT
 > software so that they can call on some expert math handler to get
 > information about how to handle the element.
 >
 > Neil Soiffer
 > Senior Scientist
 > Design Science, Inc.
 > neils@dessci.com
 > www.dessci.com
 > ~ Makers of Equation Editor, MathType, MathPlayer and MathFlow ~
 >
 >
 >  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nth_root>

--
Best Regards,
--raman

Title:  Research Scientist
Email:  raman@google.com
WWW:    http://emacspeak.sf.net/raman/
Google: tv+raman
GTalk:  raman@google.com, tv.raman.tv@gmail.com
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Received on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 19:19:02 UTC

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