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Re: [css3-speech] tables and speak-header

From: Daniel Weck <daniel.weck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2011 11:38:03 +0100
Message-Id: <EFF83716-4350-4C2C-870C-709CA1931994@gmail.com>
To: www style <www-style@w3.org>, Andrew Thompson <lordpixel@mac.com>
Hi Andrew!

For your information, note that the 2004 Working Draft of CSS3-Speech  
didn't include "speak-header":

http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-css3-speech-20041216/

Also see this short discussion thread (December 2010):

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2010Dec/0235.html
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2010Dec/0240.html

The problem with the 'speak-header' property (as defined by the CSS  
2.1 Aural Stylesheets Appendix) is that it only _partially_ addresses  
a broader *usability* issue. User-agents that support aural rendering  
of (potentially-) complex tables normally ensure that users can  
navigate within the non-linear structured playback stream (beyond  
simple play/pause), and let the user configure the navigation controls  
(row-first, column-first, headers-first, etc.) as well as the  
verbosity of the aural feedback. Such feedback may consist in audio  
icons, as well as speech synthesis used to render cell metadata  
(column/row header text, indices, vertical/horizontal cell span, etc.).

This flexibility yields a number of possible combinations, i.e.  
different ways a user may wish to navigate data, based on personal  
ability, preferences, etc. In fact, the same person may start reading  
a document with full verbosity, to finally end-up navigating the  
document with fewer structural cues (either because that person  
quickly trains-as-he/she-reads, or because the low complexity of the  
encountered table data doesn't justify the use of high verbosity, for  
example).

So to a great extent, the 'speak-header' property is the tip of an  
iceberg that represents use-cases which authors should not really be  
concerned with. Content authors should primarily ensure that the  
markup data is well-structured and semantically-rich, and may choose  
to insert supplementary audio cues (pre-recorded icons or generated  
TTS) via their speech-specific styles. I don't think that authors  
should dictate the user-experience in the case of tables (we recently  
came to the same conclusion with regards to announcing the nesting  
depth of list items).

So, this issue is effectively better solved at the user-agent level,  
and this is why I decided not to object to the historical decision not  
to include the 'speak-header' property in CSS3 Speech Module.

Thoughts welcome :)
(by the way, is your aural CSS implementation available publicly?)

Cheers, Dan

On 15 Jun 2011, at 04:20, Andrew Thompson wrote:

> I just realized the CSS3 speech module is silent on tables. In  
> particular speak-header is missing.  Indeed the whole contents of  
> section A.11 Audio rendering of tables from CSS 2.1 is gone  
> completely.
>
> Given we've recently been discussing list rendering, was there a  
> decision to drop tables entirely?
>
> I actually implemented what was in CSS2 for aural tables as part of  
> my Masters thesis back in 1998 or so. I thought it worked well, so I  
> am wondering what the current thinking is.
Received on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 10:38:35 GMT

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