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RE: Axis attribute

From: Jim Thatcher <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2001 19:56:10 -0600
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, Andrew Kirkpatrick <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <NDBBKJDAKKEJDCICIODLEEFLDLAA.jim@jimthatcher.com>
Hi Al,

>Why are you being so stingy and only asking 'necessary'?  Do you care if it
is
>helpful?

There are two communities that seem to me to get overlooked in these
discussions, the web developers and the assistive technology developers. By
overlooking these groups, the target audience of people with disabilities is
short changed.

In principal it might be helpful if the axis attribute were used, and Al,
your example made YOUR use very clear. But to be helpful in fact, its use
needs to be very clear, and its value significant. If not the two developer
communities won't buy in and people won't be helped.  "Might be helpful"
just doesn't cut it for me.

It is like the "title" for images discussion on the GL list right now. Just
when something is really clear for both those developer communities (namely
use alt for images), add confusion and uncertainty by suggesting that
SOMETIMES title might be better than alt.

Bottom line, we must be stingy with what we recommend/suggest; if not we
will not get Web developers to buy in and we won't get that small cadre of
AT developers to buy in either.

Jim
jim@jimthatcher.com
Accessibility Consulting
http://jimthatcher.com
512-306-0931

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Al Gilman
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2001 4:54 PM
To: Andrew Kirkpatrick; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Axis attribute


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
>(<http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#identifying-table-rows-columns>h
ttp://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#identifying-table-rows-columns).
>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
>information.
>

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
time.
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
concurrent
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
command/input.

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
yet.
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
far
and produce a rendition that passes the laugh test [or cry].

On the other hand, following the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines, all
users
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?

Al

References:

Basic concepts from the upper left:
<http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/ud4grid/#_Toc495220368>http://trace.wisc.edu/do
cs/ud4grid/#_Toc495220368

We haven't got all the rules clear yet:
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2001OctDec/thread.html#463>
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2001OctDec/thread.html#463
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-tech-comments/2001Jul/0001.html>ht
tp://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-tech-comments/2001Jul/0001.html


>
>Thanks,
>Andrew
>
>--
>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 20:58:35 GMT

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