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Re: Does 5.1 absolutely require TH?

From: Jennifer Sutton <jensutton@earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 03 Sep 2004 14:33:21 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org


I have to agree with what I believe Sailesh is getting at here with respect 
to table-reading.  Wouldn't it be best practice not to assume in advance 
HOW a user will want to review and assess the data? I do consider this 
data, but it's not my aim to justify why here.

I know Bruce is looking for the letter of the guidelines, but that seems 
problematic to me.

What if I want to review this information to count how many states are 
represented in the table?  I will have to do back flips with my screen 
reader just to read down the list of states.

Isn't user flexibility to be considered?  Your eyes can skim the data; why 
not give me that same opportunity even if the letter of the guidelines 
isn't specific down to the Nth degree?

Just my two cents. Questions offered only for consideration to try to 
articulate that there are many ways to need to read this info.

I'm not trying to debate the issue in any kind of "official" capacity; I'm 
speaking as a screen reader user only.

P.S. To top posting haters, please don't flame me.

At 01:59 PM 9/3/2004, you wrote:
> > Indeed - and the code sample you mention definetly needs a row of table
> > headers so that it is possible to tell which type of data is in which
> > column.
>Why?  The format (address, state, zip) is common enough (in the States 
>anyway) that the type of data is implicit.  Again, is the example I 
>provide, the AT user is not disadvantaged.
>Yes the "headings" are  easy to  assume by  listening to my screen 
>reader  read the data but the problem is:
>The table is definitely a data-table with contents of cells being 
>related  to cell contents in adjacent cells. So it is not a layout table.
>The accessibility problem arises as I navigate the table sideways because 
>the screen reader will read the contents of the first row as the column 
>heading by default. Suppose I were to run down the column that contains 
>names of cities and  then navigate sideways I will face this problemm. Let 
>me assure you that it is confusing to hear two zip codes (or whatever data 
>it is) being spoken and then mentally ignore the first one and concentrate 
>on the second one after guessing the first one is being read in place of a 
>column header. Screen readers  do offer the option to turn off  header 
>reading but this shifts the onus on the user to first figure what kind of 
>table  (s)he  is faced with, does it have headers, turn off  the options 
>and then turn them on again when he encounters another table with headers 
>and he is able to determine that it is a data table.
>So in this case or even in a table with just 2 columns you absolutely must 
>have headers. As was suggested   by Patrick, use CSS  if needed to control 
>appearance. Without headers it violates 5.1- no  doubt about that.
>Having said that I can still give you an escape  route for a simple table 
>: set a summary that describes the structure with column names and advise 
>the user to read the table like a layout table by scrolling through it and 
>not in table mode. This is a poor choice as  the user will not be able to 
>efficiently do the task I  mentioned- find a city and then read related cells.
>Sailesh Panchang
>Senior Accessibility Engineer
>Deque Systems,11180  Sunrise Valley Drive,
>4th Floor, Reston VA 20191
>Tel: 703-225-0380 Extension 105
>E-mail: <mailto:sailesh.panchang@deque.com>sailesh.panchang@deque.com
>Fax: 703-225-0387
>* Look up <<http://www.deque.com>http://www.deque.com> *
Received on Friday, 3 September 2004 18:35:49 UTC

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