[uf-discuss] RFC: sHTML Video Thumbnailing

Charles Iliya Krempeaux supercanadian at gmail.com
Mon May 28 07:48:30 PDT 2007

Hello Benjamin,

> "Most screen reader users are not deaf as well as blind, and many
> screen readers still have some sight. So most screen reader users are as
> likely to enjoy watching videos online as you and I"

Hmmm... that's a good point.  And something I wasn't aware of....

Perhaps the "alt" text could be something like...

  alt="Thumbnail of ..."

So, for example, we could have...

  alt="Thumbnail of Tirebiterz episode #12"

(Where Tirebiterz is an Internet TV show.)

On 5/28/07, Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com> wrote:
> Colin Barrett wrote:
> > On May 28, 2007, at 1:49 AM, Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis wrote:
> [snip]
> >>  If a screen reader read (for example):
> >>
> >> quote Dorothy encounters the Lion end quote
> >>
> >> That would be rather strange, wouldn't it?
> >
> > I dunno, I think that might be helpful. It's semantic information that
> > it's a portion of a larger document.
> This is a tempting argument, but in theory and practice a problematic
> one. <q> and <blockquote> are not merely intended to be "portions of a
> larger document" but to be /quotations/:

True... but is the <abbr> element designed for the way Microformats do dates?

It seems like the same problem as that isn't it.

And if we accept that screen readers can adapt to dates with the
<abbr> element, then why not accept that they can adapt to thumbnails
in a <q> element?

> http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/text.html#h-9.2.2
> I'm not sure that a thumbnail really is a quotation, although it's
> clearly conceptually close to one. When people talk of quotations from
> movies in everyday speech, they are talking about quotations from the
> dialogue not stills, e.g.:
> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/quotes
> I don't think "quote Dorothy encounters the Lion end quote" would be a
> human readable hint that it's a thumbnail from a video. Unless you
> happen to be a microformats guru. ;)

What about what I mentioned above... about using alt text like...

  alt="Thumbnail of Dorothy encountering the Lion"

So that would read...

  "quote Thumbnail of Dorothy encountering the Lion end quote"

> > Using a span tag as you suggest provides the UA with zero semantic information.
> I'd prefer to provide zero information than potentially misleading
> information. I suppose one could prefix the alt with "still:" though:
> alt="still: Dorothy encounters the Lion"
> So then you might hear:
> graphic still Dorothy encounters the Lion link The Wizard of Oz
> A microformat parser could remove everything up to and including the
> first colon to get to the alternative text proper.
> > I suspect having alt
> > tags that just link to a video which perhaps they don't want to watch is
> > annoying to people with screen readers -- although I think I would need
> > a bit more data about how screen readers work and how they're used to
> > really say anything else.
> I believe your suspicion is wrong for three reasons:
> 1. Most screen reader users are not deaf as well as blind, and many
> screen readers still have some sight. So most screen reader users are as
> likely to enjoy watching videos online as you and I. Their big problem
> with sites like YouTube is that it's too hard to /find/ videos, not to
> watch them:
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/access20/2007/05/access_20_interview_mark_prous.shtml
> 2. Most video formats, include Flash video and Quicktime, can include
> captioning which mainstream screen readers can push to a braille display
> for deafblind users.

Yeah... I'm actually using a "captioning" sHTML in a piece of software
that hasn't been made public yet.  (Perhaps I'll describe it on this
list later... and get it reviewed.)

See ya

> Videos /should/ include captioning and authors
> should make it clear when they do not: and ideally provide a transcript
> as an alternative. There are now captioning websites that either make it
> easy to add captions to online video or will even caption it for you for
> free on request:
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/access20/2007/05/captioning_video_gets_easier.shtml
> 3. Even if a video is completely inaccessible for some reason, screen
> reader users may use the alternative text to understand why the author
> is referring to that video, to share the video or thumbnail with sighted
> friends or colleagues, or to demand an accessible alternative. Just
> hiding inaccessible materials would produce confusion.
> On an even more basic technical level: leaving out alt would result in
> some screen readers reading the image src attribute. Leaving alt blank
> would result in some screen readers reading the href for any surrounding
> anchor link when alt provides the only text content for the link, e.g.:
> <a href="http://www.example.com/video"><img alt=""></a>
> By default, Window-Eyes would read something like:
> link h t t p colon slash slash w w w dot example dot com slash video
> Commonly, I think, the user will have reduced the verbosity to strip out
> most punctuation and only have to suffer:
> link h t t p w w w example com video
> Takeaway: include an alt for all images; and always include an alt with
> actual text if the img is the /sole/ content of the link.
> --
> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

    Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.

    charles @ reptile.ca
    supercanadian @ gmail.com

    developer weblog: http://ChangeLog.ca/

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