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Re: 3.1: Proposal with several updated SC

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 22:53:56 +0000 (UTC)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.60.0505242259570.9154@aristotle.multipattern.com>

These aren't really better. You're shifting the deck chairs on the 
_Titanic_. Fix the body, not the haircut.

>  Guide to GL 3.1 L1 SC1
> A mechanism for finding the expanded form of acronyms and abbreviations 
> is available.

That's a legacy of HTML. Somehow abbreviations and acronyms are deemed 
important but, e.g., footnotes are not.

How do I make this work in Flash?

It's unnecessary. It's covered by using markup languages to spec.

>  Guide to GL 3.1 L1 SC2
> [Updated] A measure of the education level required to read the content 
> is available.

Really, that's extremely unwise and unhelpful. Where is the documentation 
I would use for my Maltese- or Estonian-language documents to determine 
the education level required?

And how do you expect people to make accurate statements on sites like 
message boards where the site owners are not the writers?

And how is this not *patronizing* to everyone who reads the statement? 
"You must have a Ph.D. to read this site." Wow, thanks for the vote of 

>  Guide to GL 3.1 L1 SC3
> Level 2 success criteria for Guideline 3.1
>  A mechanism is available for finding definitions for all words in text
> content.

This one's a mind-boggler. Tell me how I would do this today. Are you 
saying I would have to hyperlink every single word (including "a" and 
"the")? Please don't suggest RDF; I asked how I would do this *today*.

In the offline world, you have to consult a dictionary if you don't 
understand the word. In the online world, you have other options, like 
simply Googling the word (as simple as double-clicking it then 
right-clicking it in Firefox). It's not the author's problem in either 

In short, the Working Group wants to control how people write and then 
force them to duplicate the entire infrastructure of the dictionary at the 
same time.

And how *do* I make this work in Maltese or Estonian? (Or Chinese?)

>    One or more simplified graphical illustrations.

Still a lousy idea. How *does* a blind person meet this criterion?

And don't you then have to write a text equivalent?

Why does the Working Group act as though incredibly crappy amateur 
illustrations are better than nothing?

>    A spoken version of the text content.

Also a simply mind-boggling requirement. Would you like us to write our 
own browsers, too?

And how does this help a deaf person?

>  Guide to GL 3.1 L3 SC1
> A mechanism is available for finding the pronunciation of all words in 
> text content.

That's a good one. How's that gonna work for sign languages?

If you don't know how to pronounce the word, look it up yourself. It's not 
my problem. Oh, and whose pronunciation do I use? Mine or Tony Blair's?

>  Guide to GL 3.1 L3 SC2
>  Section headings and link text are understandable when read by 
> themselves or as a group (for example in a list of links or a table of 
> contents).

Seriously hostile to competent authors who use Web standards. As I've 
explained repeatedly-- including at the Toronto f2f, where everyone in the 
room seemed to agree with me-- we cannot produce documents that do X and 
also anti-X (a recurring WCAG fixation). We cannot produce documents that 
use headings correctly that also make sense when spontaneously remixed by 
some outside party. Same goes for links.

As you know but won't admit, this is a case of "Wow! Jaws has this krazy 
new feature!" and then trying to make every author forevermore contort his 
or her documents to suit it. IE/Win shows alt texts as a tooltip, an 
outright violation of spec; why aren't you also requiring authors to write 
alt texts that work as freestanding tooltips?

>  Guide to GL 3.1 L3 SC3
>  A mechanism is available to identify text that states important ideas 
> or provides important information.

There is no <important> element in HTML. Specify the mechanism, please, 
and give me three real-world sites that do it right now.

All the education-level guidelines won't work. It's not my problem. I 
can't possibly be expected to know whether students in Australia, Canada, 
the U.S., Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, England, and India 
can all read my content after _n_ years of school in their respective 
countries. (How would I know which English-speaking country to choose?)

What if we're talking about students who got straight As through that time 
vs. students who barely passed? Kind of a salient difference, isn't it?

>  Signed video is available for key pages or sections of pages.

We can't require translations and the Working Group is never going to be 
able to get away with suggesting we can.

> Differences between draft of 21 May 2005 and draft of 30 April
> L1 SC1 now refers explicitly to the "primary natural language or 
> languages" of the content. This responds to questions raised by Wendy 
> and Tim Boland; the I18N Workign Group notes that the lang and xml:lang 
> attributes may take comma-separated language identifiers for documents 
> that have multiple primary languages, e.g., Canadian documents in which 
> English and French have equal place.

The spec tells us you may use a language *code* and not codes.


If you've got a bilingual document, you have no choice but to put either 
an empty or a nonexistent language code on <html> and to mark up 
individual <div>s or other elements.


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
       --What's wrong with top-posting?
Received on Thursday, 26 May 2005 22:54:10 UTC

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