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FW: webwatch-l scripting, dynamic Web pages, and disability

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <po@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 23:27:27 -0500
Message-ID: <01BCB7F7.C9D4C1A0@greggvan>
To: "'wendy'" <chisholm@trace.wisc.edu>, "'WAIWorkingGroup'" <w3c-wai-wg@w3.org>
forwarded from webwatch


-----Original Message-----
From:	Kelly Ford [SMTP:kford@teleport.com]
Sent:	Tuesday, September 02, 1997 11:33 AM
To:	webwatch-l@teleport.com
Subject:	Re: webwatch-l scripting, dynamic Web pages, and disability

Al and All,

I think there is a large issue with respect to accessibility with web pages
that do any kind of dynamic updating of the screen.  I'll preface my
comments by saying I'm not as versed with all that's out there in this area
because of the very fact that I find these sorts of pages difficult to use.

In thinking of pages that do any kind of updating, my experience has been
largely with two types of pages.  First is the page that reloads itself
every so often to reflect changes.  Many web sites that provide sports
scores and game updates  for example do this.  One I know can be found at
http://www.instantsports/com.  If you follow the links to Baseball Classic,
then Today's Games and then follow any of the links to a game in progress
you will see that a page reloads every 60 seconds or so.  Reading all the
text before the page changes can be troublesome.

USA Today, at http://www.usatoday.com, also has a page that updates every
120 seconds to provide sports scores.  They have a link at the top of the
page which takes you to another version of the page which you must manually
load to get updates.  For basic web pages this kind of solution works quite

Second I've interacted with many pages that put some kind of scrolling text
on the page.  This is a much greater problem because there's no effective
way to read this kind of information with a screen reader.  Either you get
too small of a snapshot of the text or you have to piece things together
letter by letter by listening as the text slowly scrolls in.

With the web going to more and more of an environment where parts of a page
are to be updated, solutions will have to be identified.

Some sort of "quiet" mode where the user can control what's happening is
one solution that should definitely explored.  However, what do you do in
situations where the intent of the page is to show real time information
such as stock prices or wind speed.

When I was growing up I recall my family getting cable television.  There
was a channel that showed weather information on the screen.  One thing it
showed was the current wind speed.  I could see well enough at the time to
read these numbers as long as I pressed my face to the screen.  All I could
read was the wind speed but once I learned where to find this I could track
it.  I think to some degree screen readers are going to have to improve to
allow similar techniques.

I believe some of this updating issue has been addressed in the various
software accessibility guidelines put out by places like the Trace Center
and or Microsoft.  Perhaps someone from one of those organizations can

Does anyone have good URLs to other pages that do a lot of dynamic updating
and such?  I think we need to gain more experience with these environments
to fully understand the accessibility issues.  I do know they are there
Received on Wednesday, 3 September 1997 00:28:30 UTC

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