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DESC and TABLE: descriptions for groups of elements

From: Kasday, Leonard <kasday@att.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 17:36:38 -0400
Message-Id: <9710222140.AA11523@hoccson.ho.att.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
	I think we may need more recommentations on assigning
descriptions to groups of elements.

	One application is for pictures that are composed of a group of
pictures, typically pieced together with a table.  Visually it looks
like one picture (e.g. a person on a tightrope) but it's implemented as
a series of images.  The images may not be contiguous in the HTML
source, e.g. to place a form in the middle of a picture.

	Another application of grouping is the logical segmenting of web
pages. .  Presently, grouping is usually accomplished by tables.  For
example, the w3 home page  the following groups, each within a table
cell:    w3 logo and news; site highlights, table of contents, sponsors,
administrative details  (webmaster and legal notices)    This
organization is obvious to a sighted user, because of the visual design
principles implemented by the layout.  However, a blind user has no way
of immediately knowing this organzation.   I think it would be useful,
therefore, to assign descriptive labels to each main section.  Browsers
would give this list of areas, and the user could quickly reach the
desired point.

	How can this be implemented?

	One possibility is the DIV tag, which defines a group of
elements via <DIV>  </DIV>
	It's described at
http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-html40/struct/global.html#adef-id
	It already contains a "title" attribute that could be used to
describe the group.  

	However, there are a number of problems with this solution
	1. Designers may want to use the TITLE element for something
else for the general population (cf. the tool tips discussion).  I think
we need an attibute reserved for use by screen readers.
	2. A  long description LONGDESC would also be useful
	3. HTML syntax may limit  use of DIV: for example, is it legal
to have <DIV> in the middle of a table row and matching </DIV> in the
middle of the next table row?  
	4. The elements of a group may not be contiguous in the file.
For example, to put a form in the middle of picture of a sunset, the
HTML may have a 3 by 3 table with the form in the middle cell and images
in the surrounding cells.  So the picture elements could not be grouped
via <DIV>  </DIV> without including the form.

	So I propose:


	1.   ALT text and long description attributes for   TABLE, TR,
TD
	2.   AL:T text and long description attribute for DIV
	3.   A GROUP tag that defines as a group any other elements in
the page, which may or may not be contiguous in the file.  It would have
attributes

	     ALT
	     LONGDESC
	     ELEMENTS

	     ELEMENTS is a list of element ID's.  This is to define as
groups elements that are not contiguous.



	Len
Received on Wednesday, 22 October 1997 17:37:07 GMT

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