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RE: Is MS Excel considered web content?

From: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 18:03:49 -0400
Message-ID: <BLU0-SMTP441C6D3835C3FCB3161A17FE870@phx.gbl>
To: "'Gregg Vanderheiden'" <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
CC: "'List WAI GL'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "'Loretta Guarino Reid'" <lorettaguarino@google.com>, "'Judy Brewer'" <jbrewer@w3.org>


Is a User Agent limited to only browsers?


Is that to say, an accessible Excel Spreadsheet posted online cannot be a
provided as conforming alternative to an PDF financial document that cannot
be made conforming ...


... the best to screen read a PDF is to open it in Acrobat rather than the
browser... gets murky...







From: Gregg Vanderheiden [mailto:gv@trace.wisc.edu] 
Sent: May-10-11 5:55 PM
To: David MacDonald
Cc: 'List WAI GL'; 'Loretta Guarino Reid'; 'Judy Brewer'
Subject: Re: Is MS Excel considered web content?


The distinction I think is pretty generic.


for all information on the web. 


if they are intended to be viewed through a browser -- then they are web


if they are intended (or only allowed) to be downloaded and viewed with
another application  - then they are not. 



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


On May 10, 2011, at 4:46 PM, David MacDonald wrote:

It's long been bantered around whether MS Word documents and MS Excel
documents posted online are considered web content. It probably depends on
the context, which we've never defined, that I'm aware of. Is Excel a user
agent... whew!... now there's a debate... sure it could be... I guess.


I'm tasked with addressing the accessibility of a huge set of financial
documents that are online, 10 volumes of over 3,300 pages and over 500
tables of financial data, in PDF format for a government agency. The PDF
financial tables and accompanying text were created from Ventura, which
imported them using a process that converts spreadsheets into text for
publication of hard copy. The "speadsheets" as a result, after being
imported are no longer tabular but rather text, comma delimited... no way to
turn them into tables in the PDF tag tree, and not screen reader accessible.
So they violate 1.3.1, and an incredible burden of over 5 years to migrate.


In the meantime, I'm recommending they adapt the original Excel spreadsheets
and post them as an alternative, the best way to give access to the
financial data to a screen reader user (with a bunch of other preparation
details I'll leave out here).


However, we don't have any techniques for Excel, and that caused them to
question of whether it is actually web content.


If it's not web content, then is it a conforming alternative? If not an
alternative, can it pass WCAG, because alternatives have to be content....




David MacDonald



Received on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 22:04:32 UTC

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