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Re: Accessibility extensions to Mozilla user interface

From: Aaron Leventhal <aaronl@netscape.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 20:46:56 -0800
Message-ID: <3E6D6A40.1020806@netscape.com>
To: "Ian B. Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Ian and Jon,

Thank you for all of the information regarding how the various UAAG 
checkpoints relate to this discussion.

First, let me address some points you have made:
- We don't yet allow access to tooltips via the keyboard. As far as I 
know there was a patch written to include access to this information in 
the properties for any focusable item. It's often requested, especially 
for ALT, not necessarily for TITLE.
- It's possible to configure Mozilla so that ALT text is rendered in 
place of an image.
- We don't currently have a bug filed for the ability to suppress 
automatic tooltips that occur on mouseover. No one has yet requested this.
- I didn't realize that a tooltip was considered a separate viewport. 
Although it does overlay the contents of the screen, I'm not sure 
whether it should really qualify as a full-fledged viewport, although 
apparantly that's been the intention of UAAG all along. I haven't 
researched that issue at all.

Anyway, I really shouldn't limit my question to how it relates to UAAG. 
The flamewar in question is specific to HTML (so perhaps I should be 
asking this question on the HTML list?)

It's difficult to summarize the flamewar 
<http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=25537>, which has 267 
comments so far, but I'll do my best:

The issue is what to do on mouseover for html:img, etc. when there is no 
TITLE attribute, but there is an ALT attribute.

* "Joe User" wants to see ALT text show in a tooltip on mouseover, 
especially for older sites which will never be changed to use TITLE for 
this purpose. He's used to mousing over to images (e.g. news topic 
images) to see some related text. IE, Netscape 4.7 and other browsers do 
it, so Mozilla/Gecko/Netscape seem broken when they don't. It makes him 
mad because web pages aren't working the way he wants.
* "Standards guy" wants to do the right thing relative to W3C standards. 
He says that ALT should never be used as a replacement for TITLE, 
because they have two distinct purposes. He says that ALT is meant to be 
an image replacement, and TITLE is meant to be used for tooltips. He 
believes that blurring the line between the two will ruin the web 
because people will write poor ALT text. It makes him mad that people 
don't understand that web standards are important.

I believe a standards case could be made to support either argument -- 
which is why I think it would be helpful for the W3C to have an official 
position on this exact situation (call it dueling text equivalents if 
you like) to finally settle the argument. I hope the question isn't too 
specific for that.

- Aaron

My question is basically (b) as you have outlined below.

Ian B. Jacobs wrote:

>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
>    APIs.
>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.
Received on Tuesday, 11 March 2003 02:35:20 UTC

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