Specific Sensory Experience



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Introduction


This is the result of ACTION 55: Develop proposal for SC 1.1.1 WCAG 2.0 INTENT that addresses the concern with the example in the definition of "specific sensory experience" (WCAG2ICT Task Force).

Definition of "specific sensory experience" in WCAG 2.0:

a sensory experience that is not purely decorative and does not primarily convey important information or perform a function

Example: Examples include a performance of a flute solo, works of visual art etc.

The problem

The concern with the example in the definition of "specific sensory experience" is that it is too short to be complete. A performance of a flute solo may be a "specific sensory experience" or not depending on the context it is being used. If it is used as background music in a web page about relaxation techniques then it does provide a specific sensory experience. But it is used as part of an exercise where the user has to distinguish the sound of a flute from the sound of an oboe, then that performance of a flute solo is not really a sensory experience.

As the definition cannot be changed at this moment, we agreed to address this concern by developing a proposal for the INTENT of 1.1.1 that clarifies on the examples.

Current content of the INTENT of 1.1.1 related to "specific sensory experience":

Sometimes content is primarily intended to create a specific sensory experience that words cannot fully capture. Examples include a symphony performance, works of visual art etc. For such content, text alternatives at least identify the non-text content with a descriptive label and where possible, additional descriptive text. If the reason for including the content in the page is known and can be described it is helpful to include that information.

Proposal for changes in the INTENT of 1.1.1 related to "specific sensory experience" (marked in red and bold):

Sometimes content is primarily intended to create a specific sensory experience that words cannot fully capture
. One example could be a symphony performance belonging to a web page describing the history of one particular orchestra, where the goal of that symphony performance is to let users know how the orchestra played music. Another example could be the image of a painting belonging to a web page containing the biography of a painter, where the goal of that image is to let users know what her paintings look like. For such content, text alternatives at least identify the non-text content with a descriptive label and where possible, additional descriptive text. If the reason for including the content in the page is known and can be described it is helpful to include that information as part of the text alternative.

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