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Adventures at the W3C Combined Technical Plenary/Advisory Committee (TPAC) Meetings

2016 October 31
by Charles LaPierre

What a trip!  TPAC 2016 was in Lisbon Portugal this year, our hotel Vila Galé Ópera was walking distance to the conference center and many great Portuguese restaurants.  Most evenings we all went to a nearby restaurant hunting for authentic Portuguese cuisine.  We had great seafood near the harbor.  Our final evening, we found an authentic Portuguese restaurant where we enjoyed braised pork cheeks, and I tried a sardine that was very tasty and reminded me of a smaller smelt that I grew up catching using nets in the middle of the night in Canada.
There were a number of panel discussions and meetings on various topics led and attended by DIAGRAM community members or applicable to our goals and objectives. These included:

  • “EPUB 3 Roadmap: Development and Adoption of EPUB 3.1, EPUB for Education, and beyond” A panel with Rick Johnson from our content working group discussed Vital Source’s role in educational accessible materials through BookShelf.
  •   Accessibility: Electronic Documents and Web Convergence” a panel discussion that myself, George Kerscher and Judy Brewer conducted.  George set the stage with a brief history of how we got to this point with the work he started and helped shape HTML 1.0 and where DAISY and the IDPF all fit into the picture.  I then gave a recap of the Accessibility W3C Note we published earlier this year. I then talked about our new EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Conformance and Discovery Requirements for EPUB Publications, accessibility of the entire publishing chain and the importance of page numbers for books with or without a print copy.
  • One afternoon George Kerscher, Jason White, Markku Hakkenin, Peter Krautzberger, Avneesh Singh, myself, and a number of key players discussed how to get MathML into an EPUB.  At the end we decided that we needed a solution that could display a perfect image of the math with associated textual description and the MathML accessible to a screen reader but hidden visually.  We are continuing to research various options that could facilitate this and then proceed to test these solutions with various reading systems.  This research and possible solutions will then be given to the IDPF as a technique to include for publishers wishing to include MathML in their publications.
  • WCAG Next / WCAG 3.0 aka Silver: Right now the W3C is working on an update to WCAG which is going to be the next Accessibility Guidelines for the Web, and will eventually replace WCAG and go even further to help accessibility.
  • ARIA – Accessibility Object Model:  This new accessibility Object model which is still in the planning phase will help make things on the web accessible without negative side effects such as performance.

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