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Re: How Much Of A Problem Are Tables Used for Design?

From: Steven McCaffrey <smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 15:17:27 -0500
Message-Id: <s8356a14.081@mail.nysed.gov>
To: <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: <sweetent@home.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Yes, I would consider Yahoo one case.
This deserves a more thorough answer.  Let me try to get back to you with some more.
I am thinking generally of any case where the layout helps a sighted person quickly see what the categories are are and to determine literally at a glance (maybe within a second?) what specific items come under that category.  This would include just about all online magazine and news type sites.
Also what about things like budget tables for state governments?
Suppose I want to determine quickly the change in the level of funding my program of interest has undergone?  I'm thinking of historical trend type tables.  And that's just a few of the major types of tables I can think of at the moment off the top of my head.
I'll dig arround to see if I can find one.  If anyone else can help...
This is closely related to the "How to describe flowcharts..." thread.
In that thread, I quoted Dr. T.V. Raman who I think writes clearly about the nature of the difference between 
accessing information with your eyes versus with your ears.
I won't reproduce my message in that thread here, but suffice it to say that, as Raman noted,
eyes access is active-spatial  allowing the viewer to quickly move from a high level (e.g. what are the main categories and related notions) to a low-level (e.g. what are the items in this category ?while the listener has only  passive-temporal access.  Zooming in and zooming out is much more time consuming by listening, if at all possible 
(as Raman said on this thread, the  current one) by feeling around the screen.  This involves going into screen review mode searching for the level you want then 
either moving up to find the higher category you want or lower to specific items.
As I said, it's not too much trouble if I just have to do this once, say on Yahoo, but what if I have to get a list of, say, all categories that contain x or all instances of category x.
A sighted person can just focus their eyes (say on the left margin) or on the right half of the screen (or in the middle, however the visual layout is mapped to the logical elements).
The main point is that sighted people use visual layout for efficient information retrieval as well as just to make things look pretty.
If layout is used for efficient information retrieval, I as a blind person, if *equivalent* access is indeed meant, then, I have a right to that degree of efficiency.
Efficiency only really comes into play when repeated retrieval operations are involved or comparisons between the results obtained are wanted.

I know this is rather abstract. A good examplee, picture :) is worth a thousand words.  I'll try to get a good one.


Received on Friday, 19 November 1999 15:20:22 UTC

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