[whatwg] Dynamic content accessibility in HTML today

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Mon Aug 14 08:05:02 PDT 2006

Anne van Kesteren wrote:

> 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.

The same argument applies, presumably, to the alt attribute. And captioning on 
videos. And most other accessibility aids. The idea that accessibility 
information can be entirely free is a myth - even where appropriate elements 
exist people have to take the time and effort to learn and use them, and do so 
in an appropriate way (see e.g. the misuse of em/strong, the weird heading 
structures that people employ, the surprising number of people who think that 
all markup should be replaced with <div>/<span> in the interests to 
'simplicity',  and numerous other examples of abused elements). So if we want 
any accessibility information at all, we must focus on making it useful and easy 
to provide rather than trying for "free", since free is impossible.

> 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.

I think Aaron already addressed this point by noting that people who author 
their own widgets tend to be a bit more clued up than average. The availability 
of many widgets in libraries then means that less able authors can get the 
features for close-to free.

"You see stars that clear have been dead for years
But the idea just lives on..." -- Bright Eyes

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