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Re: Is MS Excel considered web content?

From: Chris Beer <chris@e-beer.net.au>
Date: Wed, 11 May 2011 11:37:28 +1000
Message-Id: <A1EFF463-D815-4893-871A-6857367BDFD7@e-beer.net.au>
Cc: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>, List WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, Loretta Guarino Reid <lorettaguarino@google.com>, Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Hi all

Regardless of which definition is used, Excel (at least 2007) is a User Agent as it allows the import of data directly from a URL wherein you can then specify the table you wish to import, or indeed the whole page. This can be saved as a persistent link so the resulting document always updates with the latest page information. Use of templates by persistent URL us also supported.

Going back the other way, one can save an Excel workbook (including multiple sheets) as a HTML page (source code is interesting if you have the opportunity to try it) or via "Excel services" for Sharepoint which turns Excel documents into a content type akin to Flash and/or Silverlight in that it becomes embedded content that appears to require no plugin for the client. The page then pulls the latest data from the excel document online.

Just thought it bore mentioning within the scope of the discussion.

Regardless if if you deem the format to be web content or alternative content, it in no way changes how accessible any given spreadsheet is. A single cell of straight text is obviously more accessible than one with a lot of images, interactive form fields and drop down boxes etc.

David - btw - there are no ST's for RTF either, and it could be argued the RTF is more prevalent (and thus more needed in terms of ST's) than Excel. Both are proprietary formats - should the onus be on Microsoft to produce STs if they wish to claim conformance? (If it isn't I may start making some for RTF!)

Cheers

Chris Beer (iPhone)

On 11/05/2011, at 9:03, Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu> wrote:

> On May 10, 2011, at 5:24 PM, David MacDonald wrote:
> 
>> It appears our definition is a little broader than that, no?
>>  
>> user agent
>> any software that retrieves and presents Web content for users
>> Example: Web browsers, media players, plug-ins, and other programs — including assistive technologies — that help in retrieving, rendering, and interacting with Web content.
>> 
>>  
>> The URL stipulation you said below puts the situation I’m trying to fix in a very difficult place because, then accessible Excel spreadsheets could not posted as a conforming alternative to inaccessible PDFs.
> 
> 
> 
> I don't think yours is any broader.    Web content is defined as content fetched by a URL.    
> 
> RE excel sheets--    they can be referenced by a URL.   If the user agents will display them - then they are Web content.  If not -- then they wouldn’t meet you definition of web content either I wouldn’t think.  RIght?  
> 
> 
> 
> Gregg
> -----------------------
> 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 5:24 PM, David MacDonald wrote:
> 
>> It appears our definition is a little broader than that, no?
>>  
>> user agent
>> any software that retrieves and presents Web content for users
>> Example: Web browsers, media players, plug-ins, and other programs — including assistive technologies — that help in retrieving, rendering, and interacting with Web content.
>> 
>>  
>> The URL stipulation you said below puts the situation I’m trying to fix in a very difficult place because, then accessible Excel spreadsheets could not posted as a conforming alternative to inaccessible PDFs.
>>  
>> Thoughts
>> David MacDonald
>> www.eramp.com
>>  
>>  
>>  
>>  
>> From: Gregg Vanderheiden [mailto:gv@trace.wisc.edu] 
>> Sent: May-10-11 6:14 PM
>> To: David MacDonald
>> Cc: 'List WAI GL'; 'Loretta Guarino Reid'; 'Judy Brewer'
>> Subject: Re: Is MS Excel considered web content?
>>  
>>  
>> Sorry 
>> should have said user agent. 
>>  
>> if they are intended to be viewed through a user agent -- then they are web content
>>  
>> if they are intended (or only allowed) to be downloaded and viewed with another application  - then they are not. 
>> 
>> where User Agent is defined as software designed to access web content by URL and directly present it  
>> (or some such) 
>>  
>> Gregg
>> -----------------------
>> 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 5:03 PM, David MacDonald wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> Hmmm...
>>  
>> 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...
>>  
>> Thoughts?
>>  
>> David
>>  
>>  
>> 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 content
>>  
>> if they are intended (or only allowed) to be downloaded and viewed with another application  - then they are not. 
>>  
>>  
>> Gregg
>> -----------------------
>> 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....
>>  
>> Thoughts?
>>  
>> David MacDonald
>> www.eramp.com
>>  
>>  
>>  
> 
Received on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 01:40:33 GMT

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