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Re: Table linearization (was: A table navigation technique)

From: Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 09:19:12 -0600
Message-Id: <199811181521.JAA23632@staff1.cso.uiuc.edu>
To: Paul Adelson <paul.adelson@citicorp.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Probably over 90% of all table markup on the WWW is for layout and not
data.  So one of the primary uses of linearization would be to reduce
visual complexity.  For data tables the linearization needs to be more
complex to allow header information to be a part of the cell rendering.
Most of the discussion on the list and in the telecons have focused on the
blind and I think other types of disabilities should be included in the
discussion.  We have also been lacking any significant discussion of how
this may be implemented in browser other than it can be done through third
party assistive technology manipulating the DOM.  

At 04:02 PM 11/17/98 -0600, Paul Adelson wrote:
>Following up Jon Gunderson's comment:
>> <snip>
>> In a study we did here at UIUC with low vision students.  We found the most
>> difficult task we asked them to perform was to find some information in a
>> simple data table (3 out of 4 visually impaired students could not complete
>> the task).
>> So how do we address the needs of these disabilities related to table
>> linearization?
>A question from a naive bystander: is table linearization the best way to
>low-vision users, or are there other good options?
>I ask partly because I sometimes deal with scrolled-off (and therefore
>invisible) column headers on spreadsheets by getting the cursor onto a column
>of interest and then cursoring down to find the row I'm interested in. This
>allows me to quickly look at the data in the column I'm interested in,
>having to deal with all the other columns. I don't think this would be as
>to do in a linearized table.
>The other option I use (if I'm feeling less lazy) is to lock the cells that
>contain the column and/or row headers so that they are always in view. The
>equivalent for general browsing would be to have the option of readily
>viewing/hearing/feeling the related headers for any cell that is currently
>being rendered. This might be done with or without linearization.
>So, here's the important piece of info that I don't know: Would low-vision,
>learning-disabled, or even blind users be readily able to navigate a 2-D
>if they always had easy access to the current column/row header info, in
>case the guidelines might do well to allow developers flexibility in how they
>implement a solution? Or is linearization a) known to work reliably and b)
>only option that is known to work reliably, in which case the guidelines
>do better to specify this more precise solution?
>  -- Paul Adelson
>* The views expressed are those of the
>* author and do not necessarily reflect the
>* position of Citibank or its affiliates.
Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Voice: 217-244-5870
Fax: 217-333-0248
E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu
WWW:	http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
Received on Wednesday, 18 November 1998 10:21:35 UTC

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