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RE: linearized tables

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 08:47:02 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: <thatch@us.ibm.com>
Cc: gv@trace.wisc.edu, "'Greg Lowney'" <greglo@microsoft.com>, "'Wendy A Chisholm'" <wendy@w3.org>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Hi Jim,

I'll admit that it can get difficult getting a web developer to read a 
lengthly written prescription. But with the right tools, it's easier to 
teach these things than you might think.

I'm finding that the tool I just announced to IG, the WAVE ( 
http://www.temple.edu/inst_disabilities/piat/wave/ ) seems to make it 
easier for people to understand these things by representing the 
accessibility features in a visual way.

For example, when a page uses tables for layout, the WAVE shows the borders 
of all the table cells, and numbers the cells 1, 2, 3, 4,... so you can see 
the reading order.  It also displays the ALT text next to each image.  This 
kind of display makes the techniques I suggested quicker to understand, 
because it immediately shows the student the consequences of his or her 
choice of table layout and ALT text. Following up with an all-text version, 
e.g. lynx, is a good way to bring the point home.

(As you might guess, the WAVE, unfortunately, isn't presently helpful to 
blind users, even though it's technically accessible... I'm trying to 
remedy that).

So these things are teachable... and I think in the guidelines we should be 
reasonably complete, and use tools and education and outreach to help page 
designers apply the right techniques.


Also, for the general public, we may want to avoid this issue of degenerate 
data tables... or at least relegate it to a footnote.  I don't think it 
will even occur to most people that such objects are data tables at all... 
in fact I  didn't notice it till you and Greg pointed it out to me.

At 10:55 PM 3/16/00 -0600, thatch@us.ibm.com wrote:
>BUT.  Going to the detail that your assessment requires is too much for
>the content guidelines. I think your analysis belongs in an advanced text
>on usability for accessibility. It is impossible to present this kind of
>detail in
>the guideline.  Well obviously it is not impossible. What is impossible is
>that anybody will read it. Web developers don't have the time to go into

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Temple University
423 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122


(215) 204-2247 (voice)
(800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Friday, 17 March 2000 08:42:33 UTC

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