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Re: speech only links

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 18:44:19 -0500
Message-Id: <200203182344.SAA1268163@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 10:28 AM 2002-03-18 , Seth Rothberg wrote:
>On Monday 18 March 2002 09:24 am, Al Gilman wrote:
>> The idea of "speech-only links" is ethically repugnant.  What lies are you
>> telling the speech user that you are unwilling to have someone else be
>> told?
>Harsh language Al, 

Let me try to tone down the invective a bit then.  As you clearly don't get the distinction I was drawing between speech-*only* and speech-mostly links.

You know you want the supplemental within-the-page navigation links to be available to screen reader users using audio output.  This is very good.

You know you want them to be hidden in the default presentation.  This is good.

The difference comes in the handling of the users who fall outside the above two cases.

>and I think you are wrong here, though I'm willing to be 
>convinced otherwise. First, I'm not telling any lies. 

I agree.  Those navigation links are not lies.  There is no functional reason to hide them, just cosmetics and efficiency under circumstances where they are not needed.  Are we tracking now?

>I'm attempting--key 
>word, attempting--to provide some navigation shortcuts to non-sighted 
>visitors  who use some form of screen reading technology. The visually hidden 
>links are not necessary or useful to most of the sighted. 

My issue concerns those who are in neither of the above groups.  Note you had to fudge with 'most of.'  And aural styles only get to some of the screen reader users, not all.

The links will be useful, be better displayed than hidden, for people using a large enough screen magnification, possibly any screen magnification which makes a single column bigger than the screen.  These are people using screen magnifiers who don't have screen readers.  The extra navigation links are useful for anyone processing a linearized view; certainly in Lynx and possibly on a mobile phone.  The issues is whether you see the full table layout at a glance or have to navigate a lot to reach all its parts.  Not specifically whether the output is in audio or visual or tactile display.

Technically, the styling you suggested would block the user with a screen reader and a braille display that is recognized by the style processor.  These users might wish the additional navigation as well.  Although a monospaced-font table layout might work in this context without the extra navigation links.  I don't know.

The question is what to have happen when the CSS implementation is incomplete or non-existent.  In this case you want to err on the side of having the extra links show, probably, if indeed the difficulties caused by having them show sometimes when they are not needed is less than the difficulties caused by having them not show when they are needed.

>In this particular 
>case I'm trying to make the navigation through a crowded three column 
>collapsed table as easy for a blind person as a sighted person. Take a look 
>and have at me again if you like: http://www.joneslibrary.org
>N.B. Off list I've been rightly taken to task because my coding so far does 
>nothing for people who can see but not use a mouse! 
>>Think in terms of "screen-only hiding" instead, as an optional optimization, 
>>and you will get the stylesheet logic right and understand the authoring 
>>groundrules for these links.  These links are to be valid, but OK to hide 
>>under some circumstances.  Not _only applicable_ under some circumstances.  
>>You want
>>@media screen ... display: none
>>@media aural  ... display: some
>Sorry, you've completely lost me here.

Where in your original post, you had:

>.speechlinks { display: none }
>@media aural { .speechlinks { display: block; } }

Consider simply using

@media screen { .speechlinks { display: none } }

What this does is to default the links to _show_ rather than _hide_ for media other than screen, as opposed to showing only in aural view.

This will likely help the user on a mobile phone deal with the material, too.

Note that there is a new technology that is seeking to let you slice the show/hide rule even finer, called media queries in CSS3 which is under development.  This would let you check how many characters fit across the screen and turn the supplemental nav links on if the table is more than, say, two screens wide.



Media queries


Received on Monday, 18 March 2002 18:44:53 UTC

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