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Re: Accessibility extensions to Mozilla user interface

From: Ian B. Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: 10 Mar 2003 15:36:56 -0500
To: Aaron Leventhal <aaronl@netscape.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Message-Id: <1047328616.18116.37.camel@seabright>

On Mon, 2003-03-10 at 12:32, Aaron Leventhal wrote:
> What is the UAAG's position regarding the showing of alt text as tooltips?

Hi Aaron,

To help keep this discussion focussed, I'd like to clarify:

a) Are you asking very generally "Are tooltips ok, whatever their 
   source in the document?" Or, "Is it ok to pop up a small window
   to present information to the user on hover?"

b) Are you asking "In HTML (or some other format), what are legitimate
   sources of text that a user agent could consider for a tooltip?"
   And in particular, "How do I deal with the presence/absence of alt 
   and title?"

If the answer is (a), then I hope my points that follow will contribute
to this discussion; they are not an official UAWG position. If the
answer is (b), then I think that we will need some help from XAG
as well.

About (a):

 1) The text that you are talking (alt) about is "conditional content"
    in UAAG 1.0 terms.

 2) Checkpoint 2.3 requires that all conditional content be
    available to the user. A tooltip (i.e., popup window) would satisfy 
    the requirement (see 2a in particular) of making conditional content
    available to the user.

 3) Checkpoint 1.1 requires that the user be able to operate the user
    agent entirely through the keyboard. If the ONLY way to get at
    tooltip text is "onMouseOver" then the user agent has not met 1.1 
    for providing access to alt.

 4) In UAAG 1.0 terms, a tooltip window is a viewport since the user
    agent renders content through it. Checkpoint 5.3 applies: allow
    configuration so that the tooltip only opens on explicit user
    request. This means: allow config for no automatic tooltip popups
    and allow the user to get at that information "manually," e.g., by  
    querying the element that has alt specified.

 5) Checkpoint 6.6 applies as well: provide programmatic notification of
changes to content, states and values of content, etc. This means
    that ATs should have access to the change of state (i.e., the pop
    up event). ATs also have access to the text content through other

Could you summarize the various positions of the flame war?

Thanks Aaron,

 _ Ian

> Or, if there is no official position. What do individual members think? 
> I'd like to see a civilized discussion, and if possible get an official 
> position on it from W3C. It would be great for Mozilla if the W3C would 
> say somewhere specifically "yes" or "no" to this. We have too many flame 
> wars back and forth about it in bugzilla. I understand that the specs 
> can be read to support either position, but I'd rather get something 
> precise from W3C that will put an end to the flamewar.
> http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=25537

Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                     +1 718 260-9447
Received on Monday, 10 March 2003 15:37:26 UTC

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