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RE: screen readers, browsers, & the reporting of ALT on & in image maps

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 13:12:17 -0500
Message-Id: <4.1.20000118121212.00a7f7b0@pop3.concentric.net>
To: "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@acm.org>
Cc: WAI Interest Group Emailing List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
aloha, len!

using the corrected page:


 i heard the following using JFW 3.50.25 and MSIE 5.01 (version 5.00.2919.6307)

TEST ONE (Image Map in TABLE)

1A. "SpeakAll" mode

        north image map link
        south image map link
        east image map link
        west image map link
        graphic picture of a compass

(Note: all AREAs were selectable via the keyboard)

2B. using JFW's Virtual PC cursor to move through the document in chunks, i
heard the following when the first compass was encountered:

        image map link north
        image map link south
        image map link east
        image map link west
        graphic picture of a compass

Note 1: i had to use the "MoveToNextBlock" keystroke (Control+DownArrow) to
hear the ALT text for the graphic announced, which is consistent with
block-level navigation, in that JFW perceived the MAP first, exposed whatever
information it could, and then treated the image on which the MAP was overlaid
as a separate block...  (which is also consistent with the manner in which the
image map is defined in the document source)

Note2 : All AREAs were selectable via the keyboard

TEST 2 (Image in a TABLE)

2A. SpeakAll Mode

        graphic select a direction...

Note: Contrary to expectations (since, by default, JFW 3.5 is set to announce
when one moves into a TABLE), the presence of the TABLE was not announced by
JFW 3.5

2B. Manual Navigation

        graphic select a direction

Note 1: No information about the presence of the LONGDESC revealed.

Note 2: There was no indication that this was anything other than a graphic --
perhaps this is due to an inability on JFW's part to recognize the USEMAP
attribute, or a failure to reuse the MAP information defined for the first
image map... 

Note 3: Contrary to expectations (since, by default, JFW 3.5 is set to announce
when one moves into a TABLE), the presence of the TABLE was not announced by
JFW 3.5

Question 1: len, are you (or do you plan on) sharing the results of your tests
with screen reader manufacturers?  if, indeed, my diagnosis is correct, and JFW
either mishandled, couldn't handle, or didn't recognize USEMAP, then
Henter-Joyce (jaws@hj.com) needs to be alerted to that fact...  likewise with
the manufacturers of other screen readers...

Question 2: it would also be of utility to add a SUMMARY to the TABLE enclosing
the image map, such as:

SUMMARY="This table contains an image map of a compass; select a direction by
activating the area associated with it"

especially if you plan on drawing your test suite to the attention of AT

TEST 3 (Image with ALT and LONGDESC)

only the ALT text -- "balloons" -- was spoken using both types of navigation

TEST 4 (Naked Image Map)

4A. SpeakAll

        graphic select a direction

(Note: Only the ALT text defined for the image map was spoken, after which i

        visited link Here's results documented in a thread in the WAI interest

4B. Manual Navigation

        graphic select a direction

Note: This behavior, again, suggests that JFW is either ignoring the USEMAP
attribute as it walks the MSIE DOM tree, as it has already provided links for
the areas, or that it doesn't recognize or know what to do with USEMAP

1. when using JFW 3.5's "List of Links" feature, only the following links were

        Skip to image map 1
        Skip to image map 2
        Skip to image 3
        Skip to image map 4
        results (a thread in the WAI-IG list)
        Here's results documented in a thread in the WAI interest group

2. len, i'd be interested in hearing what happens when one follows my suggested
technique for exposing and activating LONGDESC until user agents provide such a
mechanism -- viz., enclosing the image to be LONGDESCed in an anchor which
points to the URI contained in the LONGDESC attribute...  obviously, while this
solution would not work with an image used as an image map, it would work with
TEST 3, but then one would have to either elongate the ALT text, e.g.

Balloons: A Long Description of this Graphic is Available

or would be a referential pointer:

Long Description of Image of Balloons

of course, one could couple a brief description (using the ALT attribute in the
IMG definition) with a functional pointer (using the TITLE attribute for the
anchor which transforms the image into a hyperlink)

        <a href="longdescb.html" TITLE="Long Description of Image of Balloons"
        ><IMG WIDTH="32" HEIGHT="32" ALT="Balloons" LONGDESC=longdescb.html"" 

but then one confronts the problem of precedence -- when one encounters a
graphically defined hyperlink, for which a TITLE has been defined _and_ which
has been ALT-texted, using adaptive equipment, which takes precedence?  will
the information be reliably passed on to the user?

when i tested out the snippet of source included above, JFW simply identified
the image as a link and read the TITLE associated with it, ignoring the ALT
text defined for the graphic...  i was then able to load the LONGDESC page... 
while i thought the LONGDESC concise and informative, i would have liked to
have heard the following, as well:

1. a TITLE containing the name of the graphic ("Long Description for Image of
2. the name of the graphic (cited as full URI, in case the user wants to
download it and get a second opinion)
3. a "back" mechanism that takes the user back from whence he or she came

which are a few things that i attempt to incorporate in all of my LONGDESCs
(most of which are accessible via the hyperlink kludge) -- check for example:

or      http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/knife.html


He that lives on Hope, dies farting
     -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
   WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
Received on Tuesday, 18 January 2000 13:03:37 GMT

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