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Re: Axis attribute

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2001 17:53:36 -0500
Message-Id: <200112042244.RAA1753791@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: Andrew Kirkpatrick <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 11:42 AM 2001-12-03 , Andrew Kirkpatrick wrote:
>I have been doing some testing with the axis attribute and come up with a
>question.  JAWS does read axis values, but it seems only when the data cell
>uses the headers attribute to make the connection to the header cell where
>axis is given its value.
>The information in the axis attribute is not going to be seen by the sighted
>user, but is read by JAWS.  What information needs to go into axis? The WCAG
>techniques document has a table (expense items in different categories, on
>different dates, and incurred in different locales)  where axis is used
>In this table, JAWS reads "Location" as the axis prior to voicing the city
>where an expense item was incurred.  Location is not visible on screen.  One
>could argue that people know Seattle is a location, but if a table on a
>different topic sighted people might need the axis information to understand
>the table content. 
>I'm increasingly of the mind that if a table uses axis to convey information
>to screen readers then the developer is either repeating information
>unnecessarily or sighted users are not getting all of the necessary

AG:: What evidence has led you to this conclusion?  Have you discussed this
with Tom W.?

It is a cliche of the human-computer interaction business that users of the
graphical display get lots of help from what else in in view at the same
Speech produces one word at a time.  It is not backed up by random eye-access
to lots of concurrent context.

So it is often rational for an audible rendering of content to contain more
explicit framing or orientation cues than are exposed in the GUI display.

In the specific case of 'Seattle' in this table, the visual user has
access to the items "San Jose" and "Seattle" displayed in parallel form.
It is
clear that they are two instances of a common pattern.  From the
association of
the two the category of 'cities' can be inferred.

The aural user only hears 'Seattle.'

Had the peers of 'Seattle' been 'Geronimo' and "Sitting Bull" instead of "San
Jose" it would have been clear to the visual user that the topic was "Native
American leaders" and not cities.  To make up for the lack of contextual cuing
from parallel elements in the concurrent display, Jaws picks up the 'axis'
information and verbalizes it.  The aural user is more likely to need this cue
than the visual user is.

In other words, alternate filtering of the verbiage is _an appropriate_
kind of
change in how content is presented when moving between modalities of
display or

This needs to be done under well-defined rules that the user understands
how to
control in the browse process and the author understands as user-controllable
adjustments in their authoring.  We don't have all the rules clear enough
But don't think that what words you would put on the screen define what should
be read out aurally, or vice versa.  The language just doesn't stretch that
and produce a rendition that passes the laugh test [or cry].

On the other hand, following the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines, all
in all modalities should have access to all content, such as the 'Location'
annotation in the axis attribute.  But the default presentation as prepared by
the format and author will beneficially be profiled differently for different
display modalities.

>So here's the question:
>Does anyone have an example of a table where axis is necessary for assistive
>technology users?  

Why are you being so stingy and only asking 'necessary'?  Do you care if it is
helpful?  Are you trying to produce content that is not illegal, or content
that is useful?



Basic concepts from the upper left:

We haven't got all the rules clear yet:

>Andrew Kirkpatrick, Technical Project Coordinator
>CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
>125 Western Ave.
>Boston, MA  02134
>E-mail: andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org
>Web site: ncam.wgbh.org
>617-300-4420 (direct voice/FAX)
>617-300-3400 (main NCAM)
>617-300-2489 (TTY)
>WGBH enriches people's lives through programs and services that educate,
>inspire, and entertain, fostering citizenship and culture, the joy of
>learning, and the power of diverse perspectives.
Received on Tuesday, 4 December 2001 17:44:34 UTC

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