[uf-discuss] Re: Precise Expansion Patterns
lists at ben-ward.co.uk
Sun Dec 16 12:54:18 PST 2007
On 16 Dec 2007, at 20:09, Manu Sporny wrote:
> It is important for us to focus on the reason this discussion
> started in
> the first place:
> The issue was accessibility, specifically, how accessible is the ABBR
> design pattern for those that use screen readers.
No, Manu, that was not the reason this most recent discussion started.
In fact, the catalyst for this most recent iteration concerns not
accessibility — I deliberately avoided that as finding precise data
is too difficult. The issue at hand is that more recent
specifications such as GEO (albeit brainstorming) and hAudio are
mandating the use of the ABBR pattern in a way which is not
compatible with the HTML specification.
Yes, there are many here who care a great deal about the implications
of microformats on users of assistive technology, but it is clear
that most contributions here are unable to find sources or recorded
evidence to support or refute any claim. Unfortunately, gaining such
evidence from people who really use AT daily is neither easy nor
inexpensive. You or I downloading a trial of JAWS and running it will
not useful test results.
> This is not true. You can set several, of not all, screen readers
> to not
> read titles of SPAN elements.
The issue is not whether you _can_ set a screen reader to read or
ignore @title attributes, it is whether users actually do or not. The
limited experience I have from inside Yahoo!, where I have been able
to ask some very generous people to assist in accessibility testing
on another issue, is that people who depend upon AT tools are far
more inclined to customise their tool to improve their experience. As
such, there are a plethora of combinations of tools and
configurations consuming pages.
One can presume on the basis that these users are more inclined to
configure their tool, that such a user will configure their tool
optimally for their usage, depending on the kind of content they
interact with the most. As such, we cannot ever work on the basis
that upon discovering machine data in the @title attribute of a
microformat property that they will simply reconfigure their tool;
their choice to enable reading of titles will be useful for some
kinds of content.
It is the quantity of variables in the field of AT and the expense of
testing them which makes it hard for a community of our limited
resources to make decisions based on AT performance. But whether
criticising or supporting a pattern, vague statements about the
behaviour of AT help nobody.
I think this discussion would progress better if people stay focused
on the data requirement and the semantics of the output first, and
the implementation second. So far, we're getting very sidetracked by
a series of new proposed hacks, rather than identification of which
problems need solving by a precision/expansion pattern.
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