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RE: User Interface Context

From: Kiran Kaja <kkaja@adobe.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2012 13:14:49 +0100
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
CC: "public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org" <public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org>
Message-ID: <14C0E778294B30498B5912136BFA6F57019267347FAF@eurmbx01.eur.adobe.com>
Thanks Gregg for your clarifications.  Please see my comments inline prefixed with KK

Hi Kiran,

 It gets a bit of getting used to -- but if you just look at the definition - the answers are all there.   And it gets pretty intuitive pretty quickly after you apply the definition a few times.

KK: I am trying to get used to it, that is why all these questions <smile>.

I put the answers in context and marked them GV:

A couple of example user interfaces where this concept becomes ambiguous.

1.       A number of software applications only have one main UI window and contain tabs or similar UI elements which are hidden or displayed based on where you navigate to. for example, in Adobe Connect which is an online collaboration tool, you essentially have just one window with a number of pods. These pods are automatically expanded or collapsed when the user navigates to or away from those pods. These individual pods have a number of user interface elements and elements in one pod are in no way related to elements in another pod. In this scenario, is the application considered to only have one User Interface Context?

GV:  Just Apply the definition -
            - if the tabs can be navigated using standard navigation commands/ mechanisms then they are all in one UIC
            - if the tabs are like different pages and you must CLICK on them (activate them) like on a mac -- then they would be different UICs

KK: Standard navigation commands differ slightly when using a keyboard or a mouse. For example, in the above example of Adobe Connect (or for most applications for that matter), using Ctrl+F6 lets "navigate" the user from one pod/tab/view to another. In the process of navigating, if a particular pod is hidden, the system automatically unhides it. on the other hand, if you are a mouse user, you have to specifically click on the pod/tab/view or in other words, "activate" them. If your explanation is to be applied, the above example will be the same UIC for a keyboard user but different UICs for a mouse user. How de we reconcile the two?

2.       If I have multiple documents open in Microsoft Word, I can use Ctrl+F6 to switch between these documents. Would that be one user interface context or multiple interface contexts?

GV:  Again using the Definition
            - CTRL+F6 is a standards navigation mechanism within an application  -- so those would be the same UIC.

KK: I find this interesting. Since we are substituting user interface context for web page, the same concept above should apply backwards as well. if we are saying that navigating among multiple documents in a word processor using the word processor's navigation command (Ctrl+F6) is a single user interface context, same should apply for browser tabs in a web browser. If I have Google open in one browser tab and Bing in another, and use Ctrl+Tab which is Internet Explorer's navigation command, both of those browser tabs belong to the same user interface context and by substitution, to the same web page. does WCAG's definition of web page allow for two different web pages opened in two different browser tabs to be considered as a single web page?

If it is one user interface context, what if one of those documents has no interactivity while the other is a form which is highly interactive?
GV:     - The level of interactivity is not relevant.   It would be the same as if one had more words or colors.   They are just different areas of the UIC and different areas of a UIC can have vastly different levels of interactivity.

And if we decide that this scenario is not a single user interface context, how did we arrive at that decision?
GV:  Well it is -  and we decide that by simply applying the definition.

When do we decide that there is enough of a change in context to justify a new user interface context?
GV:  First lets start with an example of something that IS a change of context.
            - lets say that you have one document open -- and you close it and open another document.
            - by the definition you have used commands/ mechanisms that are not 'navigation controls or mechanisms'

3.       How does one distinguish between navigation and activation commands? Ctrl+F6 is a navigation command but on the face of it, it brings about a major change in the user interface.

GV:  Navigation commands are things that let you move around among already active windows and parts of windows.  Navigation commands are pretty standard for platforms.   Apps may define their own --but they usually have keyboard equivalents though may be gestures as well.  But the gestures are different than activation like clicking on buttons, or executing commands from the menu.

As per WCAG, there should be no major change of context without user action other than navigation.     And this fits also perfectly with the definition proposed.

KK: Yet, Ctrl+F6, although is considered to be a navigation command is performing the same action as clicking with a mouse and clicking with a mouse is an action. Isn't this a bit contradictory?

Kiran Kaja
Accessibility Engineer
Adobe Systems Europe
+44 (0) 1628 590005 (Direct)
80005 (Internal)
+44 (0) 78330 91999 (Mobile)

From: Gregg Vanderheiden [mailto:gv@trace.wisc.edu]
Sent: 11 July 2012 19:24
To: public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org<mailto:public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org>
Subject: User Interface Context

Mike and Loic and I just finished up our assignment to work  on the  "context of interaction" bit

we have come up with a new concept which we are calling  " User Interface Context"
            - it is similar to the "Interaction Context"  concept but we refined it to address issues raised     and then we tried applying it to the different places that "Web Pages" is used.   Some of those are "closed" items  and they look fine as they are -- but we felt it should work there none-the-less  -- and it did seem to work there).

For the new work on 'User Interface Context"  go to

On that page is a list of all the place that "Web Pages" is used.  We included links to make it easy for you to go there.

We also did new proposals for several of the items that are still open including


And I updated my proposal on a couple items to reflect the new work.


This new definition might also help clear some of the items that are "accepted pending definition of "web page". etc.

Gregg Vanderheiden Ph.D.
Director Trace R&D Center
Professor Industrial & Systems Engineering
and Biomedical Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Co-Director, Raising the Floor - International
and the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure Project
http://Raisingthefloor.org   ---   http://GPII.net

Received on Thursday, 12 July 2012 12:15:27 UTC

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