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Re: Guidelines (context switches)

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 09:26:53 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <199809231329.JAA23665@access2.digex.net>
To: CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org (Chris Kreussling)
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, w3c-wai-er-ig@access2.digex.net

Chris has touched on a big topic; one where the Web has
some room to improve.

For now, look at what you can do with element TITLE elements
which will give sighted users and those with object-model-aware
screen readers help tips about how to use the form.

Compare with how the mouse-driven help about screen features
function works in various Aps.

But there is more stuff that could be done in this area.

The mouse-driven popups need a static equivalent for various
classes of users.

What would be even better than the traditional "Help"
presentation where the help is all generic, and is in one window,
and the specifics are all concrete, and in another window, would
be an "exploded view" presentation where the generics are
annotated onto the specifics.  Or else something along the lines
of a traditional manual format but where the help topics are
sifted to include what is used in the current document, and the
specific examples from the current document are inserted in the
help flow where examples are called for.

This would be an interesting transclusion demo to do with XML
and XSL, perhaps.


to follow up on what Chris Kreussling said:
> From w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org  Wed Sep 23 09:01:49 1998
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> From: Chris Kreussling <CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org>
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> Subject: Re: Guidelines (context switches)
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> >>> <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org> 09/22 9:13 PM > (Charles McCN) >>
> ... 
> prop: Ensure that pop-up windows or changes of window are notified to the 
> user before they occur.
> <<<
> and Guideline A.12.3: Do not use pop-up windows, new windows, or change active window unless the user is aware that this is happening. [Priority 2] 
> In the Guidelines documents (both linear and table), the text "Do not use pop-up windows" links to a section in the Techniques document about the design of forms. However, I can find nothing in the Guidelines or Techniques to suggest how I can "notify the user" to make sure they're "aware" that the focus is now elsewhere, or above to move elsewhere if they take a specific action. In other words, how can I indicate that an action - a click, an access-key, following a link - will switch the user from one context (window, field, etc) to another?
> A specific example I'm struggling with: I want to provide help for using a form. Ideally, I'd like to provide context-sensitive help, specific to the section of the form (<FIELDSET>) or field the which currently has focus. In many windowing environments, help is provided in the form of a separate, floating window which the user can resize or reposition. As a visual user, I like to place the floating help window alongside the work I'm trying to do, so I see both at once.
> This design problem is clearly not specific to Web-based documents or applications. Are there non-visual equivalents or solutions to this?
> Thanks
> Chris Kreussling
> -----
> The views expressed are those of the 
> author and do not necessarily reflect the 
> position of the Federal Reserve Bank of 
> New York or the Federal Reserve System.
Received on Wednesday, 23 September 1998 09:28:19 UTC

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