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RE: What assistive technology does (and doesn't do)

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From: julian.rickards@ndm.gov.on.ca
Date: Dec 16, 2003 3:39PM


Hi Rachel:

There are two parts to your question.

(1) Links in image maps. There seems to be a bit of a conflict in
information between WCAG check points 1.1 and 1.5. Check point 1.1 (Priority
1) states that images and regions in image maps are to be given alt text
which seems to suggest that hotspot regions are "visible" to ATs. However,
1.5 (Priority 3) states that equivalent text links should be provided for
all hotspot regions in image maps which seems to suggest that at least some
ATs may not "see" hotspot regions. I suggest that text links be provided
just in case.

(2) Links are an integral part of the WWW and for that reason (I don't have
any actual experience with ATs), I believe that ATs would announce in some
means or another to the user that a link has been encountered. Other
circumstantial evidence is based on the current practice of creating link
text. In the past, many of us wrote "Click here to go my resume" with "click
here" as the link text. The phrase "click here" is mouse centric and many
accessibility professionals recommend dropping any reference to the mouse
because not everyone uses a mouse. Furthermore, "click here" does not
identify the content of the destination page. With those recommendations,
links are now being rewritten as "For more information, read my resume"
where "my resume" is link text. Given that, if links were not announced to
an AT user, they would read right past "my resume" without any indiciation
that they just went past a link. Therefore, it is my belief that links are
identified to an AT user. Furethermore, since AT users are provided with
that information when they encounter a link, I don't feel it is necessary to
use the text "link" in Alt or Title text, they know it is a link. If a
sighted user can understand from the blue underlined text that "my resume"
is a link to my resume, then don't suggest that people with little to no
sight are any less intelligent - alt text on a link graphic should provide
the same text information as in the graphic.

Jules

---------------------------------------------------------
Julian Rickards
Digital Publications Distribution Coordinator
Publications Services Section
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Phone: (705) 670-5608
Fax: (705) 670-5690


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rachel Tanenhaus [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 2:55 PM
> To: <EMAIL REMOVED>
> Subject: What assistive technology does (and doesn't do)


> "So all assistive technology [used for browsing the web] can identify
> when something is a link?" they asked.


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