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Re: Speech browser compatibility with HTML

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2003 16:46:45 -0500
To: W3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF30F3DDEC.A882EAD4-ON86256D95.0074DD04-86256D95.0077B9F0@us.ibm.com>

Mike wrote:
[In regards to P W D L GF table headers]

Phill responded:
> Whether the use of the title attribute is better or worse
> than the ABBR element remains to be investigated.

Mike responded:
Since you mention the title attribute won't override the actual text in the
header (by default in table data-navigation mode), then ABBR would be a
logical alternative, since they are just that - abbreviations.

Phill continued to say:
> But it doesn't make
> sense to me to have the sighted user see the headings: P W D L GF etc.
> then expect the screen reader to automatically read something different.
> In other words, why should it read the title attribute over the actual
> text of the heading?  That would be like turning all tool tips on all the
> time for a sighted user.  Who would want that?

Mike responded:
Only someone new to the typical league table format. Within the UK most
football-mad people know what the abbreviated headers mean. So the
additional information and unwinding of these headers is only needed for
occasional lapsed memory, or someone encountering a league table for the
first time. I don't recall ever seeing this sort of table published with
full "Games Played", "Games Won", "Games Drawn" - it is _that_ "inbred"
UK culture.

The problem/opportunity I haven't resolved yet is to allow the meanings of
the abbreviated form to be accessible. At the moment in a speech browser
like it to say just "Played", "Won", "Drawn", "Lost" as the title when
entering the relevant table cell data (for pure listenability more than
anything else) - would I have to revert to making those the actual table

Phill replies:
Yes.  Well, mostly.  Then if the screen reader is configured to expand the
abbreviations and/or speak the title attributes, then the user would hear
"Games Played" instead of "G P".  The title attribute on the ABBR element
would be the most correct.

But you bring up an interesting point.  The sighted user and table designer
or at least the "inbred" UK culture prefer to see just the abbreviations.
What do the "inbred" blind users prefer?  But the more interesting point is
that from a serial audio perspective, the phrase "Games Played" takes only
slightly longer than "G P" to speak.  If I were listening to a radio show
in the UK, would the announcer speak "Games Played" or "G P", I would
expect the former and hence your desire to make the audio rendering of the
table more like the radio show that is designed to be more listen-able.  I
think you have reached the limits (or challenges) of screen reading visual
content and what you really want is a VoiceXML application that mirrors
your HTML application that uses the same back-end tabular data, but with
rendering that is optimized for audio.  A VoiceXML application can be
designed and optimized for the richer audio rendering that is expected of
radio like productions.

Mike continued:
Is there a clean structured way of displaying it onscreen as P W D L GF
(with or without tooltips), while a screen reader could (at the option of
the user is fine) read "Played" "Won" "Drawn"? I'm starting to think that
explanation page is perhaps the way to go, especially on sites that make
continual use of this particular table structure, rather than describing on
each occurrance what the table means.

Phill replies:
I think you should do both.  Provide a "help" page that explains the table
structure used on the site. And copy and past the ABBR and title attribute
on the table headings.  Then some screen reader (depending on the version)
users can re-configure the rendering on that particular site to always read
the title attributes.

P.S. I would also use the lang attribute [html lang=en-uk] for the page so
that headings like "Drawn" are pronounced with a U.K. accent, not the
"Tied" term we use in the U.S. for games that end in an even score.  The
U.S. order is even different, we usually say Won, Lost, then Tied. BTW [by
the way], what does GF mean? Games Forfeited?
Received on Tuesday, 2 September 2003 17:46:56 UTC

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