RE: XSL and document transformations for XML accessibility

I think it can be generally agreed by all participants in this discussion
that the ICADD DTD is far too limited for present, let alone future needs,
and that a solution is required which can evolve with technology. Assuming
that authors are unlikely to write speech and/or braille style sheets for
their custom-developed DTD's, there is a need to convert the semantic
content of the XML document into a form to which pre-existing braille and
audio style sheets can be applied. Judging from the WAI meeting minutes,
it appears that the ICADD group regards HTML as the most promising
intermediate format. Since HTML will continue to evolve, it would be
possible to improve the quality of such transformations as the scope and
flexibility of HTML improves.

However, it should also be expected that specific braille and audio style
sheets will be created which correspond to widely used XML DTD's. Thus,
the conversion of documents into HTML should be regarded as a secondary
option which is applicable only where the developer of the DTD is not
prepared or does not have the expertise with which to develop full braille
and audio style sheet support. I understand this to be essentially the
ICADD position, and it seems to be quite reasonable and practical.

An attempt was made by ICADD late last year, as documented on their web
site, to develop a transformation from HTML 3.2 to the ICADD 22 DTD.
Although some positive developments may have emerged from this work, its
fundamental premise that accessibility would be well served by converting
HTML documents into the ICADD format is clearly mistaken. Rather, it is
HTML which, at least in the short term, is likely to become the
predominant structured document format, for which audio and, eventually,
braille style sheets will be written. To the extent that document
transformations are needed in order to achieve access, HTML should be the
destination. This however is not to underestimate the importance of XML in
its own right and the need to make adequate provision in XML for braille
and audio output.

The ICADD site is at

Received on Wednesday, 26 November 1997 17:29:47 UTC