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Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: Paul Prescod <paul@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 18:18:01 -0500
Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
Chris Maden wrote:
> [Paul Prescod]
> > In the XSL FO world, it seems that you need to specifically target
> > each disability because the FOs are not designed to degrade.
> No, they're not.  Should they be?  Time to drag this out again:
> <URL:http://www.oreilly.com/people/staff/crism/xsl/audioxsl.html>
> What do people think?  I've gotten mixed feedback on it.  Some people
> feel that providing a fallback will discourage real alternate-media
> stylesheets' development, but I observe that those stylesheets are
> almost never developed anyway.

As I understand your proposal, it is to add flow objects and
characteristics that are specific to aural renderings. I say bravo and
support this fully.

I also think that XFO should provide a basic set of formatting objects
that are at a level of abstraction that will allow the "right" aural
expression to be inferred instead of explicitly stated.

So there are probably four levels here:

 0 use all formatting FOs. Accessibility [expletive deleted].
 1 use abstract FOs. Accessibility is at the "lynx screen-reader" level.
 2 add some aural-specific characteristics and FOs. Accessibility
 3 write a complete aural-specific stylesheet tested without a display. 

Lower levels require less effort. Higher levels improve accessibility. All
levels will probably get used in the real world but 0 and 1 will get used
the most.

Right now, FOs support 0. HTML+CSS supports 1, 2, and 3. If we adopt your
proposal then FOs will support 0, 2 and 3.

Do I understand it right?

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

Company spokeswoman Lana Simon stressed that Interactive 
Yoda is not a Furby. Well, not exactly. 

"This is an interactive toy that utilizes Furby technology," 
Simon said. "It will react to its surroundings and will talk." 
  - http://www.wired.com/news/news/culture/story/19222.html

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