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UA Techniques for tables

From: Harvey Bingham <hbingham@acm.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 02:18:52 -0500
Message-Id: <Version.32.19990223234704.04355370@pop.tiac.net>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
5.4.4 Allow the user to navigate among table cells of a table (notably
left/right within a row and up/down within a column). 

The UA must find implicit content resulting from spans, either rowspan or
colspan, and apply it appropriately to all data cells in 
rows/columns of spanned cells.

By default we often assume that the table writing direction is 
left-to-right, and row progression top-down.

The natural language of the table may cause the table to have dir="rtl",
right-to-left for sequence of the cells in a row (and 
sequence of letters in a word, and words in a phrase.) 
Any row stub TH cells will by default come first, e.g.,
be on the right, rather than on the left. The colspan horizontal 
spanning direction is leftward, so only the first (right-most) cell
contains the content. That content is not repeated in spanned cells 
to its left.

The span handling can get further obscured if the writing direction
reverses row-to-row, say to allow boustrophedon writing (as the oxen 
plow)!

5.4.5 [Priority 2] 
Allow the user to search for a table cell based on its contents or header
information.

The header information visible in a TH cell may be abbreviated,
in which case it should be user preference to see the abbr="..."
value if any or the full contents. 

Axis information may also help the user search into confined
portions of the table.  

The colgroups, thead, repeatable tbody, and tfoot are other
confining partitions of a table in which a search may be limited.

5.4.7 [Priority 2] 
Allow the user to find out the dimensions of a table. 

Dimensions is an appropriate term, though dimensions needn't be constants. For
example a table description could read: 
    "4 columns for 4 rows with 2 header rows. In those 2 header
    rows the first two columns have colspan=2. The last two columns  
    have a common header and two subheads. The first column,
    after the first two rows, contains the row headers.

Some parts of a table may have 2 dimensions, others three, 
others four, etc. [I interpret dimension to be the number of headers that
describe each data cell.] Dimensionality higher than 2 are
projected onto 2 in a table presemtation. 


Regards/Harvey Bingham
Received on Wednesday, 24 February 1999 02:32:06 UTC

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