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[whatwg] Fallback styles for legacy user agents [was: Re:

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 22:26:29 +0000
Message-ID: <492DCD15.3090408@googlemail.com>
Pentasis wrote:

> Basically it is a bad idea to mark-up aural properties when it comes to 
> accessibility.

It does not follow from the fact that popular screen readers ignore 
publisher aural/speech CSS or the reasonable argument that they _should_ 
ignore such CSS, that providing publisher aural/speech CSS is "bad" for 
accessibility.

For example, if you want to put a novel online with aural/speech CSS so 
it can be read aloud by Opera with the Voice plugin with those styles, 
there's no reason why that's bad for accessibility.

It just means that providing aural/speech CSS doesn't do what 
well-meaning web developers sometimes imagine it should.

> However, it would still be nice to hide/show things 
> solely for specific UAs.

Maybe, but I wonder if in practice, the rationales for this tend to boil 
down to:

1. Working around bugs in someone's code. (e.g. A screen reader fails to 
deal with Feature X in a webpage, so the developer inserts a message for 
screen reader users describing a workaround.)

2. A workaround for supporting non-linear, non-gestalt browsing (e.g. 
additional context for lists of links in a screen reader).

There may be more direct and effective ways to deal with these problems, 
such as

* Making product support information available to all users (what if the 
screen reader user has a sighted companion? What if they're using a 
screen magnifier/reader combination?)

* Fixing browsers and screen readers.

* Providing explicit markup for additional context.

--
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Wednesday, 26 November 2008 14:26:29 UTC

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