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RE: DESC and TABLE: descriptions for groups of elements

From: Kasday, Leonard <kasday@att.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 10:04:38 -0400
Message-Id: <9710231408.AA07108@hoccson.ho.att.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Good point from Jason that Al's META and LINK extensions could apply
here.  More on that below.

I  just want to make sure that I'm clear that the grouping I'm talking
about goes beyond reading order.

For example, suppose theres a page with a picture of Ralph's Diner in
the middle.  Ralph is holding pull-down menu.  And suppose this is
implemented as

A centered text heading, "Ralph's Diner"
A 3 by 3 table below the heading.  The contents of the table are
top row, spanning three columns, Ralph's upper body.
Middle row, Ralph's right hand, the menu, Ralph's right hand.
Bottom row, spanning three columns, Ralph's lower body.

Straightforward labeling with ALT text would produce
Ralph's Diner Ralph's upper body, Ralph's right hand, pull-down-menu,
Ralph's left hand, Ralph's lower body.

Changing the reading order to put the menu at the end, say, would not
help much.

It would help to use ALT text better: e.g. having ALT="Ralph holding
following menu" for top row, then leaving all the rest of the ALT text
blank.  This would read OK if the user were reading the whole page.

However, it would give the browser no way to give the user an overview
of the page containing just a description of the group of elements, viz.
"Ralph holding menu in his diner".  

In other words, the user needs an overview which gives major groups of
elements.  For example, the browser may give the following overview
Table of Contents
Ralph holding menu in his diner
Administrative footer

User could then quickly go to table of contents (which is a group of
text elements, say) and then open it up for greater detail.  And go into
Ralph holding menu in his diner and open it, etc.  Or go to the
administrative footer to read all the legal notice and contact the

This example can't be implemented by extensions to TABLEs because the
elements do not all lie within tables.  It would not be a good idea to
require table wrappers, because they constrain how the page behaves
during resizing.

However,   Al's generalization of LINK applies, and I'll happily abandon
my request for <GROUP> in favor of it.

We need to add a textual description to LINK though.    Whether it be
ALT, TITLE, LONGDESC is another issue.  I'd favor ALT and LONGDESC but
would go along with TITLE, although I'm still worried that it would be
used for other purposes. 

Received on Thursday, 23 October 1997 10:05:16 UTC

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