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Accessibility issues regarding interactive browser-based diagramming

From: Robert Muetzelfeldt <r.muetzelfeldt@ed.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 20:54:00 +0100
Message-ID: <4F8DCA58.7020407@ed.ac.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hello,

New member here - and, frankly, new to the whole topic of web accessibility.

I am developing a browser-based app for viewing and drawing generic 
'graphs' - i.e. node-and-arc (or box-and-arrow) diagrams (for example, 
electrical circuit diagrams, carbon cycle diagrams, topic maps, mind 
maps, road networks etc).   This is conventionally very demanding on 
both visual and mouse-using abilities.   I would very much like to 
improve the level of accessibility of my app, but, after a quick look 
around the WAI site, I have not come across anything that specifically 
addresses this.

First thoughts are that even the passive reading of existing diagrams is 
not straightforward.   Sure, we can express the diagram in some 
appropriate format (e.g. XML), then have a reader for that, but this 
makes huge demands on the user, given the often complex, network nature 
of the diagrams.   Rather, we need to allow for considerable user 
interaction, to allow them to choose which of various branches to follow 
as they work through the diagram.

Allowing the user to actively build or edit such diagrams introduces 
additional challenges, though it is not necessary to handle actual 
layout - the user can specify topological relationships ("A is connected 
to B and C"), and automated graph-layout tools can be used to produce 
what (to a sighted person) are reasonable diagrams.

I am wondering if there is a group working on these issues?

Many thanks,
Robert Muetzelfeldt

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Received on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 19:52:41 GMT

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