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Accessible Authoring Tools

From: David Sheehy <dsheehy@mac.com>
Date: Mon, 1 May 2000 16:47:57 +1000
Message-Id: <v04210100b532d539c96d@[]>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hello everyone,

I'm writing a substantial article and recommendation for accessible 
content authoring for online media services. As well as covering 
existing standards, software and devices, I would like to get people 
thinking about the future of accessibility today. This way, we can 
keep an eye on development and let vendors know our requirements.

I'm looking for any suggestions, especially in the area of authoring 
tools. What features can we give HTML editors (for example) to make 

1. Output more accessible code and
2. make the applications themselves accessible to impaired users.

Quick thoughts of my own on point 1 - having a 'structural' mode, 
which doesn't allow any "display tags", such as <font>. For example, 
the <EM> emphasis structure tag is allowed, but <I> Italic, is not. 
this will encourage the use of stylesheets, and aid in the transition 
to a full XML environment. Word processors are particularly bad at 
outputting HTML that is full of very specific font tags. Visual 
editors often use complex tables for layout. these Apps should have 
modes which disable visual formatting, and strip HTML to structure + 

Point 2 - simply have the software prompt the user for ALT, TITLE and 
LONGDESC tags for images and links. this should speed up authoring by 
not requiring manual selection of fields which are often hard to get 
to, because sighted designers rarely use them. This feature would 
also encourage sighted designers to consider Accessibility, because 
it becomes less of a chore. Maybe it could be extended further, with 
a database of title and ALT tags which are associated with regularly 
used URLs or images files for automatic insertion.

That's just a start, I'm sure there is much to add.


David Sheehy

on behalf of RPH Australia
Received on Monday, 1 May 2000 02:48:20 UTC

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