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RE: Discussion of DOM with Glen Gorden of Henter-Joyce

From: Charles Oppermann <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 12:00:13 -0800
Message-ID: <BB61526CDE70D2119D0F00805FBECA2F0598BAE8@RED-MSG-55>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
This kind of ISV activity is excellent and sorely needed in this working
group.  Hopefully the Working Group can get the input of accessibility aid
vendors that do not have off-screen models to read information off the
screen.  Products such as voice-input, switch and scanning systems and
learning disabled tools all need information about the document and the user
interface it provides.  These products cannot read information off the
screen and must get the data programmatically.

Some comments...

<<
JRG 1. From a technology standpoint would you rather rely primarily on
active accessibility objects for knowing about information on the screen or
use something like DOM which is more a model of underlying content of what
is being rendered?

GG: DOM!
>>

Unfortunately, this question shows a lack of knowledge of what Active
Accessibility provides and unnecessarily limits the scope of the technology.

If I was asked that question, and didn't know better, I'd have the same
exact response!

Active Accessibility is not just a screen based model, current versions
expose the structure of HTML documents, not just what is present on the
screen.  Active Accessibility is not limited to HTML, like DOM is.  It's a
interface to interact with the user interface as a whole.

Glen's response is different that what he's told me personally is separate
discussions, but that's probably because of the limited scope of the
question.

Also, it's my position that if the vendor is willing to spend more time and
special-case HTML, then more power to them!  A native object model, be it
DOM, Word's, Excel's, or Visio's is much richer than the generic interface
provided by Active Accessibility.  Often times though, native object models
are not designed with the needs of accessibility aid vendors.  We improved
Microsoft Office 2000's various object models to provide more information to
accessibility aids.

<<
JRG 2. Would it be useful to for you to provide your own speech or Braille
rendering using DOM with a synchronized visual highlighting of what you
were rendering on the visual display?  
This would allow sighted colleagues to see where information is being
spoken is coming from on the screen.

GG: This would be an interesting thing to experiment with and offers
promise.
>>

Several companies already do this with alternative input software and
learning disabled products using Microsoft technologies.

<<
JRG 3. Do you see as one of the main weaknesses of the current DOM the lack
of visual display positional rendering information?

GG: Yes!
>>

This is not an issue with Active Accessibility and is also available in the
Dynamic HTML object model.  Hopefully the DOM WG will adopt it.

<<
JRG 4. Are there other features that would make DOM useful for your
purposes?

GG: None come immediately to mind.
>>

A feature that Glen's product doesn't currently need, but others might find
useful is the ability to get a element based on a X/Y coordinate.  Used for
hit testing.  This is vital for screen readers that use the content of the
DOM - not just manipulate it for a different visual display.

Charles Oppermann
Program Manager, Accessibility and Disabilities Group, Microsoft Corporation
mailto:chuckop@microsoft.com  http://www.microsoft.com/enable/
"A computer on every desk and in every home, usable by everyone!"

-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Gunderson [mailto:jongund@staff.uiuc.edu]
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 1999 10:43 AM
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Subject: Discussion of DOM with Glen Gorden of Henter-Joyce


My questions are marked with JRG and responses from Glen Gorden are marked
with GG .  Glen is a developer at Henter-Joyce.

JRG: From your perspective, ideally what type of interface do you want to
use to get information about a WWW document.  Could you answer these
following questions.

JRG 1. From a technology standpoint would you rather rely primarily on
active accessibility objects for knowing about information on the screen or
use something like DOM which is more a model of underlying content of what
is being rendered?

GG: DOM!

JRG 2. Would it be useful to for you to provide your own speech or Braille
rendering using DOM with a synchronized visual highlighting of what you
were rendering on the visual display?  
This would allow sighted colleagues to see where information is being
spoken is coming from on the screen.

GG: This would be an interesting thing to experiment with and offers
promise.

JRG 3. Do you see as one of the main weaknesses of the current DOM the lack
of visual display positional rendering information?

GG: Yes!

JRG 4. Are there other features that would make DOM useful for your
purposes?

GG: None come immediately to mind.

End of quesitons and answers.

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
	http://www.als.uiuc.edu/InfoTechAccess
Received on Thursday, 4 February 1999 15:00:24 UTC

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