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

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 12:43:05 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <199911172043.MAA06616@netcom.com>
To: kasday@acm.org, phoenixl@netcom.com, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi, Len

I believe that the thread on tables may not be finished yet.

The issue of tables has a lot to do with positioning text
and also with color backgrounds.  For example, if there is a left column
index and a main column with header and body, the column index is read
first.  Nested tables for alinging blocks of colors in certain
ways in a column is another problem.  Because there can be so
many ways to use areas of color on a web page to create a certain
design effect, I would be careful not to make the assumption that
linearization is always readily achievable, e.g.:

		          H    
		        T      
		      W        
		    O          
		  R            
		G              
      
(For screen reader users, this is the word "GROWTH" with the letters
starting at the lower left corner and going towards the upper right.)


		Z Z Z Z Z Z Z                 
		          Z                   
		        Z                     
		      Z                       
		    Z                         
		  Z                           
		Z Z Z Z Z Z Z                 

(This is a Z, made up of a lot of Z's.)

I'm not saying that default page should be impossible to use, but that
in a trade-off between visual appearance and visual accessibility, it
will be hard for designers to give up visual appearance.

Scott

> 
> OK, we agree that giving a choice is desirable... although we might differ
> on how desirable.  I'd also agree that we can't ignore how much effort it
> will be for a webmaster.
> 
> As for your assertion that
> 
> >layouts using tables probably won't transform very easily into a more
> >linearized form. 
> 
> Another thread just popped up on on this list re problems with tables and
> other folks are discussing various experiences with tables. We're seeing
> different view there.
> 
> My view is that it's not hard to avoid the table linearizing as gibberish,
> although you do have to use a few tricks.  For example, if you want a
> layout with several text fields in a row and you want the names on top of
> the text fields, you can't just put names in a row above the text fields.
> If you did that a screen reader would read all the names and then present
> all the fields.  A real mess. But in this case you can easily put each name
> and text field in their own table cell, with a break <BR> in between.  That
> gets the reading order correct.
> 
> Of course, I'm assuming that the browser or browser screenreader is reads
> the table in the order it appears in the HTML.  This is true of text or
> voice browsers like lynx, pwwebspeak, emacs/w3, and home page reader, as
> well as graphical browsers-screenreader combinations which linearize
> tables, like internet explorer and jaws with the reformat command. 
> 
> Now, that doesn't always put the items in the order that yields maximal
> efficiency. In fact, it can be rather messy... e.g. users hear the main
> menu links, the title, some of the links again (when they are featured in a
> center splash image) etc. I agree that it could be made better on a
> separate page with different format.  
> 
> So yes, I've said it before and I'll say it again, would indeed be valuable
> to have alternative versions of the page which are easier to read in an
> efficient manner.
> 
> But my point is that I still feel that even the default page should at
> least avoid gibberish and not be completely impossible to use.
> 
> Is there an example you can give where it's really tough to avoid
> gibberish... an example that would come up commonly?
> 
> Or if anyone else out there has a good example please post it up on the list.
> 
> Len
Received on Wednesday, 17 November 1999 15:43:11 GMT

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