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Re: PF Response: @Summary

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 06:57:42 -0500
Message-ID: <1c8dbcaa0906040457x4b27ab2tb7c4fe6a647c9565@mail.gmail.com>
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Mike Smith <mike@w3.org>, "W3C WAI Protocols & Formats" <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>, Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, "wai-liaison@w3.org" <wai-liaison@w3.org>, John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, public-html@w3.org
Hi Jonas,

> Do non-sighted users need *different* descriptive data about the table
> than sighted users. In particular, might you want to provide
> descriptive information both to sighted and non-sighted users, but
> have the information be different?

Yes.  A programmatically-determined summary mechanism serves a very
specific and most critical use for blind and non-visual users. It
provides an affordance equivalent to the visual user scanning a table
for spatial structure, orientation, and relevance. A summary mechanism
provides a reasonable accommodation. It enables a person with a visual
disability to have an equal opportunity.

A textual summary enables the visually impaired to get an overview of
a table without seeing the relationships between the rows and columns
implied by its spatial structure. It is an essential aid to
comprehension for the visually impaired. It provides the AT user a way
to easily form a mental image of a table's contents in order to better
understand its structure, or semantic relationships. When a
screen-reader user in JAWS navigates in table mode, he can hear the
summary of each table in a document with one key press.

In the absence of a summary, the non-visual user must investigate the
table carefully and fully, merely in order to ascertain whether or not
it is the correct table, what information the table contains, if the
information in the table is germane, how many rows by how many columns
to expect, the flow of the table, etc. This is a very tedious and time
consuming process.

Best Regards,
Laura

-- 
Laura L. Carlson
Received on Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:58:19 GMT

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