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RE: Opinions on accessible time formatting

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Sat, 08 Nov 2014 09:45:04 -0800
To: "'Steve Faulkner'" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "'Andy Keyworth'" <akeyworth@tbase.com>
Cc: "'WAI Interest Group'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-id: <029901cffb7b$c31e8460$495b8d20$@ca>
Steve Faulkner wrote:
>
> Somewhat related, HTML5 has a <time> element [1] (content is limited
> to various kinds of dates, times, time-zone offsets, and durations)
>
> Maybe this could be used to identify times/dates etc to AT, so at least
> they could parse the contents knowing that it's a date/time.
>
> [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html/text-level-semantics.html#the-time-element


A prize to our good friend Mr. Faulkner - seems that the answer may already be 
at our fingers: @datetime, an attribute of the <time> element.

It is used like this:

	<p>We stopped talking at <time datetime="2006-09-24T05:00-07:00">5am the next 
morning</time>.</p>

	<p>Your next meeting is at <time 
datetime="2011-11-12T15:00-08:00">3pm</time></p>


Awesome! You can use whatever local convention you choose (coming from Canada 
to the US, I had to relearn my Canadian dd/mm/yy format to the US mm/dd/yy 
format), but apply correct ISO 8601(*) 'semantic' to that on-screen text.

The question is, can we get tools to use that semantic info? It is already 
being used in places like vEvent markup, as shown in the spec Steve linked:

<div class="vevent">
 <a class="url" href="http://www.web2con.com/">http://www.web2con.com/</a>
  <span class="summary">Web 2.0 Conference</span>:
  <time class="dtstart" datetime="2005-10-05">October 5</time> -
  <time class="dtend" datetime="2005-10-07">7</time>,
  at the <span class="location">Argent Hotel, San Francisco, CA</span>
 </div>

...but what about screen readers? Or maybe a "disambiguation plugin" for 
browsers that parses and surfaces the international timestamp data, formatted 
in the preferred format of the individual user? a jQuery plugin? Something 
else?

Not the biggest problem to solve, but it also appears that a solution is in 
hand. So, can we get screen readers to do something useful with HTML5's 
@datetime? Who wants to file bugs?

JF


(*http://www.iso.org/iso/home/standards/iso8601.htm)

RELATED: schema.org also has a date-time value (https://schema.org/DateTime), 
and I wonder aloud if there might not be a way of adding an additional 
property of dateFormat, where the value would be any combination of dd + mm + 
yyyy, for example:

	<meta itemprop="dateFormat" content="mm/dd/yyyy" />

...which would be another way of signaling to AT and other tools the 
'semantic' data around the on-screen date info, while still allowing authors 
to use whatever local convention format they choose for on-screen rendering. 
Just thinking out loud.
Received on Saturday, 8 November 2014 17:46:11 UTC

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