[whatwg] inputmode feedback

Michael[tm] Smith mike at w3.org
Fri Dec 6 05:30:48 PST 2013

[Maybe we should take this discussion off-list or talk about it some time
soon over lunch or something. For now though, here are some comments.]

"Takayoshi Kochi (河内 隆仁)" <kochi at google.com>, 2013-12-06 19:53 +0900:

> Just for a data point, lots of Japanese banks still make user type in
> half-width katakana.

OK, but anecdotally my limited experience as a user with Japanese bank
sites is that the ones I use (Mizuho and Mitsui Sumitomo) don't require
half-width katakana input anywhere.

Anyway, as I guess you know, bank sites as a class (along with airline
sites) are notorious for doing a lot of stupid things that are really bad
for user experience -- to the point where I think bank sites as a class
should really be considered a counter-example of good design.

> Here are some random examples:
> http://www.tominbank.co.jp/for_kojin/mobile/topics_hankaku-kana.html
> > 「受取人名(半角カナ)」は、半角30字以内で入力してください。
> http://www.shinkin.co.jp/okayama/ibandhib/bizib/02_faq/faq_07.html
> > これらのカナ略語は*全て半角文字で入力*して下さい。
> > 実際の振込画面から振込先の会社名を入力する際は、*全て半角カナで入力*してください
> http://www.yamanashibank.co.jp/anser-web/B-KM-009/help.html
> > 半角30文字以内で入力してください

I see. So I concede that unfortunately such sites do seem to exist. But
instead of just accepting that, I think we ought to be asking why and doing
some general evangelism to make it clear that's bad practice and also doing
some evangelism with specific sites to try to get them to quit doing that.

What I would seriously like to see instead is an example of even one single
good thoughtfully-designed site that's actually requiring half-width kana
input for some good reason. Just one.

> I am hesitant to get into endless debate how half-width-kana should be
> here, but...

I'm hesitant too but since we're building a platform that's going to be
around for a long long time going forward, so I'm also hoping we don't end
up perpetuating use of half-width kana if it's bad practice that we want to
move everybody away from.

> If most people can agree that it should not be widely used any more on
> the web, I would think that it should be intentionally added to the spec
> explicitly stating that "this mode is discouraged" in red and
> intentionally not implement on any browser.  (half joke, half serious)

If your goal is to get this in the HTML spec, good luck with convincing
Hixie to spec it out like that :-)

> I think lobbying every IME vendor to drop half-width-kana is not worth
> it, as half-width-kana will live in Unicode and the legacy probably will
> not extinguish at least until the end of my life, even with the speed of
> the internet.

Well, we have a problem in Japan of a lot sites and people still choosing
not to use Unicode even for new uses. We don't solve that problem for the
future by continuing to add things that make it easier for them to keep
creating new non-Unicode content.

And as far as the legacy problem, it's not clear to me exactly what that
problem is or how it relates to what we need to do now. I mean, I think
what we're considering here is the use-case/requirement for half-width kana
*input*. I agree that we need to continue supporting half-width kana
display and storage and whatever. But that does not mean we should be making
it easier for sites to force users to input content in half-width kana.

And as long as users still have an OS IME (or third-party app) that lets
them input half-width kana, then we are anyway not preventing them from
being able to do that when bad sites force that on them. I'm just saying we
should not further bake half-width kana input it into Web platform.

> Some brave IME implementor tried to exclude half-width-kana but it ended
> up with having third-party half-width-kana typing apps, which is kind of
> ironic: http://kuracyan.net/archives/10751

Sad. (The existence of those third-party apps, I mean.)

I see the mention on that guy's blog that people are visiting his site
because they want to know how to type with half-width kana on their
iPhones, but nowhere do I see any explanation of why they want to type
anywhere with half-width kana.

Anyway, like I said at the beginning of this message, I guess we should
maybe better take this discussion off-list for now and meet up for lunch or
something to talk more about it.


> On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 6:27 PM, Michael[tm] Smith <mike at w3.org> wrote:
> > Yoichi Osato <yoichio at google.com>, 2013-12-06 15:46 +0900:
> >
> > > Our Google Japan members working around IME discussed about inputmode.
> > >
> > > Proposal:
> > >  Remove "kana", "katakana" and "full-width-latin" from inputmode
> > attribute.
> > > Because above attributes and others are independent as others say.
> > > For web developers that want to manage IME state like native
> > applications,
> > > the inputmode attribute lacks some modes
> > > like "half-width-katakana".
> >
> > What modes other than "half-width-katakana" are we lacking?
> >
> > > But it might cause more confusing to add such attributes to inputmode.
> >
> > I think it might cause even more confusion to add half-width-katakana input
> > support to any new IME-related API or UI, anywhere. In particular, it might
> > cause people to think that half-width katakana is actually useful to them
> > or needed for something these days. Which it's not, as far as I can see.
> >
> > Have you identified any actual current use cases for half-width katakana
> > input?
> >
> > In particular, any uses cases for half-width katakana input on the Web?
> >
> > > We are discussing to propose IME mode management as new API.
> > > Its mode contains "alphabet, kana, katakana, full-width-latin,
> > > half-width-katakana" as a native OS provides.
> >
> > I don't think the fact that OS IMEs provide support for half-width katakana
> > input means that it's necessary or useful for us to provide half-width
> > katakana input support in any new IME APIs for the Web.
> >
> > If the goal is to have consistency with OS IMEs, then I think a better
> > solution at this point would be to lobby OS IME vendors to finally drop
> > support for half-width katakana input.

Michael[tm] Smith http://people.w3.org/mike

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