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Re: A few thoughts on using dynamic web pages to improve

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 08:30:40 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <199911131630.IAA22548@netcom.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi, Len

I believe that dynamically generated pages could better handle pages
where a left column contains links and reference information and a
column to the right of that contains text.  The screen readers which can
read a column at a time will read all that stuff in the left column
first.  Then it reads the column with the text and then the right column
which probably has more links.  This reading order is not most optimal
for blind users.

Decorative images can be left out since they can be distracting to blind
users with little useful information.  Informational images might be
better handled by having alert boxes which have a long description which
can be accessed on demand.  Or, having a section towards the end with
the various image descriptions.

If the page is from a catalog where description is important, the
dynamically generated web page could have a detailed description of the coat
instead of an image on pages for sighted people.  The description should
be integrated into the text flow for easier reading.

Sighted users tend to not like text compressed together.  More
whitespace is preferred.  Blind often like more compressed text on the
screen since they have to interact with their screen reader less
(depending on the screen reader).  I've had requests to use smaller fonts
since that puts more text in the window.

My impression is that the fewer of these "speed bumps" which cause
distraction in reading, the easier it is for blind users.  It might
be helpful to try some experiments.

Scott

> Hi Scott,
> 
> You talk at the end of your note about the potential benefit of dynamically
> generating different versions of pages.  Of the examples you gave the one
> where the benefit is most obvious is the radio button vs. drop down list.
> Radio buttons are more convenient in many situations for sighted people
> (especially when there are a lot of ratings arranged table fashion) but in
> a previous discussion on this list blind users pointed out the advantages
> of dropdown lists while screenreading.    And this isn't just a
> hypothetical situation: I'm facing this exact situation right now while
> advising some folks how to make an online survey.
> 
> In the other examples though, you described solutions that didn't require
> dynamic generation. Could you give additional examples in which the
> advantages of different forms is more obvious?  For example, a case where
> text is laid out in a table, and is understandable when linearized, but
> could be read more conveniently if not linearized?
> 
> By the way, reading order is one situation where style sheet layout could
> do the same thing as dynamic generation.  To bad we can't count on that in
> visual browsers at the moment.
> 
> Len
Received on Saturday, 13 November 1999 11:30:42 GMT

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