[whatwg] Dynamic content accessibility in HTML today

Aaron Leventhal aaronlev at moonset.net
Mon Aug 14 07:14:35 PDT 2006


I said at the start of this thread that the best solution is to have 
widgets that are already accessible. However, we don't have a standard 
for that at the moment.

We agree that accessibility experts should not be needed in order to 
make content accessible. It's not only big companies that can do this. 
For example, the open source widget library Dojo is adopting this. 
That's something everyone can use, for free. The authors are getting the 
widgets and accessibility for free, but without this technique Dojo 
couldn't provide that.

Remember that this does not just apply to HTML. Roles apply to SVG as 
well, and any other type of XML-based renderable markup with 
accessibility gaps. I see it becoming a superset of what's needed for 
full accessibility of rendering markup standards.

In any case, there is a general agreement that it's better to have 
accessibility built into predefined widgets that are easy to use. If 
whatwg + xbl becomes the accepted standard and we don't need roles, 
great! One of of my suggestions was the we work together to make sure 
that everything addressed by the roles and properties is addressed by 
whatwg. For example, liveregion, which has properties for describing the 
type and relative importance of various mutations within that container. 
Without something like liveregion in whatwg, you can't make AJAX apps 
accessible. Regions of the page that change but don't get focused will 
not be understood by assistive technologies, unless there is some markup 
to describe it.

- Aaron

Anne van Kesteren wrote:
> On Mon, 14 Aug 2006 06:36:40 -0700, James Graham <jg307 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>> But XBL works with ~0 assistive technologies and is presumably going 
>> to be complex to implement properly. Whilst, in general, I agree that 
>> having elements used in the correct way to provide semantic 
>> information is desirable, I think that adopting a technology that is 
>> already implemented and proven to solve real problems is a better 
>> approach than waiting on a complex future specification to be 
>> finished and implemented.
> So a while ago I posted 
> http://annevankesteren.nl/2006/06/accessibility-ideas some of my 
> thoughts regarding role=""... Basically, I don't really see authors 
> taking extra steps to make things accessible. Accessibility should 
> just be an integral part of the language, otherwise I don't think it 
> will work. For authors it will seem that without role="" their custom 
> widgets will work so there's no real benefit in adding it unless you 
> work for some big company that hires a few "accessibility experts" who 
> tell you to add it.
> --Anne van Kesteren
> <http://annevankesteren.nl/>
> <http://www.opera.com/>

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