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RE: Accessibility issues regarding interactive browser-based diagramming

From: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 08:20:50 -0400
Message-ID: <30eb33699733bd138e950248d6ffc9c3@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi Robert, I and another colleague created a whitepaper on this about 6
years ago.  We came up with a keyboard based method to provide traversal
of these diagrams.  We also created a concept of exposing this information
through an accessibility API for given nodes and edges using the Java
Accessibility API.  Our plan was to allow the user to traverse from a node
to an out edge by using right arrow and left arrow to move onto an edge.
Once on an edge up and down arrows would allow the user to move among
edges of that type.   Identity info on each node and edge would describe
it such as how many in or out edges it had and for the name, state, type
of the node.   From an edge right arrow would move to the our node and
left arrow to the in-node.

We also devised a way to allow the user to ask questions.  For example,
the user could mark a node and then traverse to another node and ask
questions about the path from node a to b such as how many paths and how
many edges between the nodes.  We also indicated that a summary method to
describe the system as a whole would also be necessary.  At that time we
were planning to use yFiles to do this.  The whitepaper did not result in
the actual implementation of a public example of this.

Best Regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Muetzelfeldt [mailto:r.muetzelfeldt@ed.ac.uk]
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 3:54 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Accessibility issues regarding interactive browser-based


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

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


The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
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Received on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:21:21 UTC

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