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Re: Tables and Screen reader question

From: Steven McCaffrey <SMCCAFFR@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2001 08:14:01 -0500
Message-Id: <sa558261.007@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
To: <charles@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hello all:

     First, due to the unfortunate terminology, many people think that Narrator is a screen reader comparable to JFW.  Programs that allow blind people to fully interact with the computer are more properly called "screen review" programs.  Narrator is not one of these.
A screen review program allows the blind user to fully interact with the OS and applications and includes a whole suite of special commands for each application.  They allow the user to at least: 
interact with menus, dialog boxes, forms, combo boxes, radio buttons etc.;
review the screen by various means, character, word, sentence etc. ;
 allow the user to get attribute/color  information;  
allow the creation and saving of user defined configuration files.
Narrator is literally just a screen reader because, to my knowledge, it just passively reads the screen and that's it.
     My version of JFW is 3.31 and does not render the voice ouput as described.  I do not even have the option in IE 5.0 to traverse HTML tables properly marked up cell by cell.  Even this ability would not constitute equivalent access because it would be a linear method of access while the table is chosen as a means of info representation precisely to provide non-linear access.
Why was a tabular display chosen in the first place?  It provides superior access over  a linear list of numbers.
I should note that I have the access described in the coffee table example if I bring it up in MS Word.  This is just because JFW 3.31 with MS Word (97?) has some special Word table scripts (commands).
-Steve

  




Steve McCaffrey
Senior Programmer/Analyst
Information Technology Services
New York State Department of Education
(518)-473-3453
smccaffr@mail.nysed.gov
Member,
New York State Workgroup on Accessibility to Information Technology 
Web Design Subcommittee 
http://web.nysed.gov/cio/access/webdesignsubcommittee.html


>>> Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org> 01/05/01 07:20AM >>>
Can people please say which screen readers can identify the row and column
headings for a table cell?

As far as I am aware, this cannot be done using Lynx (which doesn't preserve
the required information) and cannot be done using Windows 2000 Narrator.

I believe it can be done using emacspeak (at any rate, it is possible to go
up or down the column to find a header at the top or bottom, and left or
right to find headers at the sides, which is equivalent to what visual
scanning enables).

Are there any other possiblities? When I tried with JAWS (I am no expert, and
I had an old version) I couldn't get the information. I can't get it using
the built-in speech capability of iCab - that does speak the table cell by
cell, including the summary. Same for MacLynx.

Mac IE 5.0 and Netscape 4.7 do not provide speech output options.

Cheers

Charles McCN

-- 
Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI 
Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
until 6 January 2001 at:
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Received on Friday, 5 January 2001 08:16:20 GMT

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