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RE: emotica, ASCII art and accessibility - some suggestions

From: Mike Paciello <paciello@ma.ultranet.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 17:08:45 -0500
Message-Id: <199901152207.RAA32372@antiochus-fe0.ultra.net>
To: "David Clark" <dmclark@cast.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
When I saw this, I thought, nope. ABBR is for abbreviations. In my
Western-mind I assumed this strictly involved letters. However, according
to the HTML 4.0 specification, I may be wrong:

"The ABBR and ACRONYM elements allow authors to clearly indicate
occurrences of abbreviations and acronyms. Western languages make extensive
use of acronyms such as "GmbH", "NATO", and "F.B.I.", as well as
abbreviations like "M.", "Inc.", "et al.", "etc.". Both Chinese and
Japanese use analogous abbreviation mechanisms, wherein a long name is
referred to subsequently with a subset of the Han characters from the
original occurrence. Marking up these constructs provides useful
information to user agents and tools such as spell checkers, speech
synthesizers, translation systems and search-engine indexers."

I am by no means an expert in language contructs. However, all the Chinese
and Japanese characters that I have ever seen certainly reflect a construct
similar to the effect of an emoticon. Maybe David's suggestion is a good one?

- Mike

At 04:53 PM 1/15/99 -0500, David Clark wrote:
>I do not know why this has not been proposed before, but can't the whole
>issue be solved by defining your art with the ABR tag?
>David Clark
>CAST, Inc.
>-----Original Message-----
>From:	w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
>Of Steve Donie
>Sent:	Friday, January 15, 1999 2:25 PM
>To:	w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>Subject:	RE: emotica, ASCII art and accessibility - some suggestions
>Sometimes it is built into the Text-To-Speech rules. Most synthesizers and
>speech engines support what is sometimes called a "dictionary" to do just

>this. Some screen readers also do - I know that the old VERT screen reader
>for DOS had this capability, and I imagine that some of the Windows screen
>readers have this as well. It is usually up to the user to set them up
>An interesting thing happened when I was working on the "Narrator" program
>(a very simple MSAA-based, screen-reader like program) that is going to be
>included in Windows 2000 (AKA NT5). I can't remember the exact scenario, but
>it tried to read (C:) as "C smiley face", when it was just the drive "C:" in
>parenthesis. The Narrator program didn't do the translation - it was the
>Text-To-Speech engine.
>Steve Donie
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Marti [mailto:marti47@MEDIAONE.NET]
>Sent: Friday, January 15, 1999 11:17 AM
>To: waz@easynet.co.uk; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>Subject: Re: emotica, ASCII art and accessibility - some suggestions
>You got my vote! I may be the one that complained but I really am all for
>more accessibility not less.  If my screen reader said smile and wink
>instead of gobbeldegook it would be great.
>I don't know if there are screen readers that do that
>-----Original Message-----
>From: waz@easynet.co.uk <waz@easynet.co.uk>
>To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
>Date: Friday, January 15, 1999 11:05 AM
>Subject: emotica, ASCII art and accessibility - some suggestions
>>In terms of proposing ASCII representations for things in online
>>communication, without regard to whether or not the 'Air Hug' suggestion
>>is something that will or will not catch on, the following things
>>occurred to me:
>>Things divide into two categories here - the small scale, 'inline'
>>emoticon type ASCII stuff, like smileys, and the large scale graphical
>>extravaganzas of full-blown multi-line ASCII artwork. Neither one is
>>intrinsically accessible, and in terms of the second, I believe that the
>>fact that there are as many accessiblity problems as there are with
>>other kinds of graphics will not stop anyone from using it. ASCII art is
>>out there and will not die - it is a shame that it is in the category of
>>artwork that cannot necessarily be appreciated by all, but perhaps those
>>who cannot see it will come to regard it in the same way that I
>>personally regard opera - I ignore it and save time. The sensible
>>compromise seems to me to suggest that ASCII art should only be used in
>>sites and documents that either relate to ASCII art itself or that have
>>some other kind of intrinsic accessibility issue. A special kind of PRE
>>tag would be good, with an ALT of some sort, and then we could use ASCII

>>art, and would have some way of making it accessible and dealing with
>>the large online legacy of currently inaccessible-due-to-ascii-artwork
>>Meanwhile, the inline emoticons and smileys are so widely distributed
>>online as to have attained, as far as I can tell, the equivalent of
>>language status, in a sense, so it isn't a question of telling people to
>>stop using them, because they wont. Perhaps a solution might be to get
>>screen readers to have a list of the most commonly used ones and
>>translate them accordingly. Such a list could be managed centrally by
>>the WAI, in the form of a simple text file, with each line containing
>>the emoticon and the description seperated by tabs (or something), which
>>screenreaders could update the latest version of on a regular basis and
>>use to translate every :), :-) X| and ~;) they come across. and it
>>should be two way - with an 'insert' smiley option - after all, why
>>shouldn't users of screenreaders be able to use 'winking smiley' or
>>whatever as well as anyone.
>>Maintaining this file would be a reasonable amount of work, I imagine,
>>especially as there may not be universal agreement on the best way to
>>translate each of the major emoticons into each language required, but
>>it seems to me worthwhile in the sense that I feel strongly that
>>solutions to accessibility issues ought to try to bring everyone in to
>>what is already there, not to reduce what is already there to what
>>everyone can already see, as well as making sure that all the new stuff
>>is universally accessible too.
>>I would be happy to help sort this out to the extent that I am able,
>>though I am not an expert on either emoticons or screenreaders -
>>certainly there already exist many listings of 'yer basic online
>>emoticons' - and I thought I'd seen one on the w3c site itself once
>>(though I can't find it right now) - surely it's just a question of
>>finding a list to build a canonical central list from, making sure the
>>suggestion gets directed at screenreader writers and sorting it out with
>>next versions of screenreader software. do no current screenreaders have
>>a 'set this sequence of characters to mean this phrase' option? forwards
>>or backwards?
>>Apologies if this has all been hashed over before.
>>cheers etc.,
>>> The idea of an 'Air Hug' may be great but ..those slashes and dots are
>>> very helpful for those of us who use screen readers. I would not like to
>>> their use expanded.
>>> Marti
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Robert C. Neff <rcn@fenix2.dol-esa.gov>
>>> To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org' <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
>>> Date: Friday, January 15, 1999 8:27 AM
>>> Subject: suggestion
>>> >To those who are not familiar with the slang "Air Hug", here is an
>>> > If you appreciate what someone has done and this act warrants a hug but
>>> >are separated by distance (short, long, or over the internet) and cannot
>>> >render the hug. You can extend your arms and pretend to hug and say "Air
>>> >Hug"
>>> >
>>> >As I have not seen an ascii representation for an "Air Hug",  I propose

>>> >\../ > and for a "GREAT BIG AIR HUG" < \\..// >
>>> >
>>> >Obviously I am in a good mood!
>>> >
>>> >Rob
>>> >

Mike Paciello                     Email: <paciello@ma.ultranet.com>
WebABLE! Solutions          Tel: (603) 598-9544 
131 D.W. Highway #618     Fax: (603) 598-2839 
Nashua, NH 03060             WWW: <http:://www.webable.com>

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Received on Friday, 15 January 1999 17:07:50 UTC

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