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lynx-dev After Javascript, SVG is New Accessibility Threat.

From: David Woolley
Subject: lynx-dev After Javascript, SVG is New Accessibility Threat.
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 23:11:58 +0100 (BST)

Whilst there is already a growing problem with the inappropriate 
use of Javascript, I believe there is an imminent threat that will
need more than major surgery for sites to be accessible to Lynx.
This is the new vector graphics standard, SVG.

Whilst HTML is lacking a vector graphics standard and has to resort
to GIFs for illustrations that would be better represented as line
drawings, my impression from the sort of questions that are being 
asked on the www-svg mailing list is that many web designers will
actually use it for its ability to precisely place and size text.
As such, I can foresee HMTL being replaced on many sites by SVG 
being used as a page description language.

Because it is likely to be used in a layout intensive way, I suspect
it will be difficult to recover text (in the way that one can do
from the body of PDF documents) in any sensible order++.

Although I contrast it with Javascript, most people are likely to 
combine it with Javascript to animate it.

One consequence of this may be that any work done on Lynx to implement an
adequate emulation of the IE/Netscape object model to support Javascript
may be wasted, because those sites that are Javascript intensive may well
move to SVG and become essentially totally inaccessible to Lynx.

Note my personal view is that Lynx should not try and track all these,
basically GUI, technologies, but users should chose between using the
tools for which the sites were designed (most HTML is written on the
basis that it will produce a particular display on the pre-installed
software on most people's PCs, rather than because of any belief in
HTML) or should try an educate the content providers.

++ The problem could be treated like that of establishing the correct
reading order in an OCR program, i.e. image the whole page, at least
to allocating a precise position font and size for each character, then
attempt to group the characters back into paragraphs and sections.

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