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Re: alt text for NON-img elements?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2012 22:01:28 +0200
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, "Kevin Cole" <kevin.cole@gallaudet.edu>
Message-ID: <op.wb5lwqu1wxe0ny@widsith-3.local>
On Mon, 02 Apr 2012 21:22:49 +0200, Kevin Cole <kevin.cole@gallaudet.edu>  
wrote:

> Specifically, I have rows which consist of a first column that is a  
> project title, and 13 columns following which represent criteria to meet.
> The headings for the 13 columns are simply the numbers 1 to 13, with a
> 13-column spanning row above them labeled "Research Priorities".
>
> In an ideal world (I think), I'd like a screen reader to read out  
> something like "<project name>. 1, 9, 12." when columns 1 9 and 12 are
> the only ones with the Unicode character.  Even better would be "Project:
> <project name> Priorities: 1, 9, 12."

If I understand correctly, this is a pretty common visual metaphor - e.g.  
charts comparing browsers and the features they implement as an example  
that I see a lot. There's a pretty fundamental disconnect between how you  
look this up in a two-dimensional universe and in a linear universe.

> I'd rather not resort to an img tag
> with an alt attribute if possible.  Instead, something more akin to:
>
> <td alt="...">...</td>
>
> without abusing title="" would be more what I'm hoping for.
>
> So, 1) is there something built-in that I've missed?  And 2) not, should
> there be?

Thinking aloud a bit...

Making the cells with bullets into th elements seems *closer* to what you  
really want to do - so running along the list of projects (as td elements)  
they get the relevant headers announced. I think the real answer is to  
make the project names be semantically data cells, and have them refer to  
the relevant header cells (e.g. project GiantCake has <th headers="one  
three nine"> where priority headers are e.g. <th id="three">3</th>).

An alternative would be to provide the ability to toggle between the table  
and e.g. a dl which listed the projects and priorities plus an ordered  
list that gave the reverse lookup (this is akin to what we do on e.g.  
http://opera.com/smw/2012/01 for stuff we present as a graph).

(It should be possible to construct a tool that handles the source data  
(even from a table) and automates most of that process, but I leave that  
as an exercise for the reader, or a day when I have spare time...)

cheers

Chaals


-- 
Charles 'chaals' McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg kan noen norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Monday, 2 April 2012 20:02:05 GMT

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