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Re: [css-counter-styles] allow use of CSS4 "alt" property with @counter-style/symbols

From: James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2014 00:35:10 -0700
Cc: www-style list <www-style@w3.org>, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Message-id: <9A1D3E1E-4D90-4587-8818-33C91B696374@apple.com>
To: Sebastian Zartner <sebastianzartner@gmail.com>
On May 16, 2014, at 5:00 AM, Sebastian Zartner <sebastianzartner@gmail.com> wrote:

>> What's the actual use case to allow the symbols to have an arbitrary name when they are spoken?
> It depends on the reason the the author chose to use this list style. For example, an author might be using icon fonts to convey some meaning in the list marker. The alternative text should reflect that meaning.
> 
>> I imagine that could be rather confusing for visually impaired people.
> 
> What's the actual use case for to allow arbitrary symbols to be displayed as ordered list markers? I imagine that could be rather confusing for sighted people. ;-)
> 
> I guess the question is rather why to *use* arbitrary symbols for ordered lists. The only use case for that I can come up with is visual design. The "box-corners" counter style you mentioned before seems to be a good example for that. So what special meaning could be put into the list markers, which needs to be reflected by screen readers?

I'm mainly worried about the cases I can't predict, but here are a few. 

1. Ordered: An fantasy author (think JRR Tolkien or GRR Martin) creates a language with it's own number system. The numbers aren't pronounced "one", "two", "three", but "elöhé", "fúto", and "thrüa". The author of the EPUB wants the visually impaired reader to have and enjoy the same reading experience as his sighted readers. The author understands not everyone likes audiobooks.

Note: Coincidentally, as I alluded to in my original email the the list, the box corner symbols are actually number characters for the alien language from the video game Fez <http://www.ign.com/wikis/fez/Fez_Numbers>. You don't know this immediately in the game, but you find out through pattern recognition over the course of play, and so speaking them literally as English "one, two, three" would equate to a spoiler.


2. Ordered or Unordered: A web debugging tool uses the symbols generated content symbols ⋗ and ⋖ to indicate console list input and output.

  ⋗ var foo = ['bar', 'baz'];
  ⋖ undefined
  ⋗ foo[1];
  ⋖ "baz"

The authors of this web debugging tool receive a complaint that the console output is being spoken by screen readers as:

  LESS-THAN WITH DOT var foo = ['bar', 'baz'];
  GREATER-THAN WITH DOT undefined
  LESS-THAN WITH DOT foo[1];
  GREATER-THAN WITH DOT "bar"

It'd be much more logical to be able to define these list marker symbols as meaningful "alt" strings:

  Input: var foo = ['bar', 'baz'];
  Output: undefined
  Input: foo[1];
  Output: "bar"

Note: Example #2 was a real bug report from Victor Tsaran. Some of the details have been changed since the Web Inspector is using background images for these at the moment. https://webkit.org/b/133045.

Cheers,
James
Received on Sunday, 18 May 2014 07:35:45 UTC

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