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Re: Transformation + FOs makes abuse easy
Subject: Re: Transformation + FOs makes abuse easy|
From: Paul Prescod <paul@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 00:32:46 -0500
"John E. Simpson" wrote:
> To that I say amen. But (not trying to be difficult, simply haven't wrapped
> my head around this side of the problem yet) in what way is HTML "designed
> to degrade gracefully for non-visual interfaces"? (What does it mean for an
> FO vocabulary to "degrade"?) And what is it about XSL formatting objects
> that makes them less, er, gracefully degradable (understanding of course
> that the FO portion of the spec is about as in-flux as it's possible to be,
> short of NOTE status)?
Let me repeat that I don't claim to be an accessibility expert but "in the
land of the sighted, any idiot can have an opinion on accessibility." I
hope that some real experts will jump in and contribute.
Given that caveat, my logic proceeds thus:
* blind people have probably been translating printed books to braille
and talking books for decades
* they have conventions for handling the main features of printed books:
headings, paragraphs, numbered and bulleted lists, etc.
* other things are inherently problematic: complex tables, graphics, etc.
Let's consider those out of scope and concentrate on what can actually be
* given the above, software can be created to translate text to braille,
as long as titles, lists and so forth are clearly differentiated.
It occurs to me that the minimum list of document objects has already be
described in the ICADD standard:
"The International Committee for Accessible Document Design ("ICADD") has
published guidelines for designing SGML applications which enable the
preparation of texts for near-automatic conversion to Grade 2 Braille and
for publication both in large print and computer voice editions."
Here are some of the element type names in ICADD: "H1", "H2", "BQ", "FN",
etc. Sound familiar? In fact, it sounds very much like an extended HTML.
Formatting objects are different. How does one tell if a fo:block is a
paragraph, document title, section title or block quote?
A concrete request would be that the XSL formatting objects use the 5 year
old ICADD techniques to promote accessibility. Every object that cannot be
directly described in terms of ICADD should have a description of how it
degrades into braille and text-to-speech. And of course alt-text should be
available wherever logical.
>From my quick perusal the only really big hole is that fl:block is too
generic and an alt-text mechanism isn't in there yet. I'd like to see the
committee sit down with some accessibility experts and explicitly hammer
out a complete degradability model.
Thanks, John, for asking me to be more concrete because I had missed the
ICADD connection before.
Paul Prescod - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself
"Microsoft spokesman Ian Hatton admits that the Linux system would have
performed better had it been tuned."
"Future press releases on the issue will clearly state that the research
was sponsored by Microsoft."
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