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RE: changing presentation of links [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2012 17:51:48 -0600
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF78BADF84.F0E5F8EC-ON86257AB0.007E733B-86257AB0.008317E1@us.ibm.com>
Roger asked about
1.4.1 Use of Color: Color is not used as the only visual means. . .

While JF said:". . .  links should be perceivable to all users without 
first having to hunt for them (using tabbing or mousing) . . ."

In my opinion 1.4.1 is all about NOT using blue as the only visual means, 
while JF and others are suggesting that there should always be a visual 

I believe there is confusion (again and often) about the requirements for 
the web developer and his/her content and the requirements for the 
browser, AT, and end user settings and education. 

As Andrew Arch pointed out, SC 1.4.1's Failure F73 [1] is key in 
understanding 1.4.1.  I've quoted the description because it is 
explanatory in this case [Phill added text in brackets]:

"The objective of this failure is to avoid situations in which people who 
cannot perceive color differences cannot identify links. Link underlines 
or some other non-color visual distinction are required. While some links 
may be visually evident from page design and context, such as navigational 
links, links within text are often visually understood only from their own 
display attributes. [Authors] Removing the underline and leaving only the 
color difference [or removing both the underline and the color difference] 
for such links would be a failure because there would be no other visual 
indication that it is a link.
Note 1: If the non-color cue only happens when the mouse hovers over the 
link or when the link receives focus, it is still a failure.
Note 2: If the link is a different color and bold it would not fail 
because the boldness is not color dependent."

In my opinion, the requirements for "links" are, at least, the following:
        1.3.1 Information [about links] can be programmatically determined 
(Level A)Understanding Success Criterion 1.3.1 
        1.3.3 Instructions provided for understanding and operating 
[links] do not rely solely on sensory characteristics such as shape, size, 
visual location, orientation, or sound. (Level A)Understanding Success 
Criterion 1.3.3 
        1.4.1 Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying 
[links] or distinguishing a [link] (Level A)Understanding Success 
Criterion 1.4.1

So, authors creating blue underline links would meet all three success 
criteria, unless the surrounding non link text was also blue underlined - 
correct?  And bold black links would also not fail  if is was different 
than the surround text - correct?  A key author requirements is to make 
the links  programmatically determinable, so then the browser, AT and end 
user settings can "do the rest" of the personalization and visual styling, 
if needed.
Phill Jenkins, 
Senior Engineer & Business Development Executive
IBM Research - Human Ability & Accessibility Center




From:   "Arch, Andrew" <Andrew.Arch@finance.gov.au>
Date:   11/08/2012 03:28 PM
Subject:        RE: changing presentation of links [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

I have to agree with the others here – links need to be visibly obvious, 
not just randomly discoverable.
SC 1.4.1 has a clear failure in F73 [1] - Failure of Success Criterion 
1.4.1 due to creating links that are not visually evident without color 
[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/F73

Andrew Arch

Received on Thursday, 8 November 2012 23:52:49 UTC

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