RE: Data Tables at November 2007 Meeting (Presentation)

Hi All,

Responding to Ben's call, I can contribute two short, web-based, Fast Track
tutorials to the meeting. I don't have or anticipate any sponsorship to be
there from my employer, and it's beyond my financial capabilities to attempt
it myself (I'm an American, living and working in South Africa, and trying
my best to get back to the States or another venue to progress with my work
in structure, presentation and behavior, encompassing full web standards and
accessibility). The tutorials are geared towards tech writers who have no
experience/knowledge of web standards or accessibility, are used to
authoring from behind WYSIWYG authoring tools, and read quickly and
hopefully to the point without wasting time. Following are descriptions of
the two Fast Track tutorials:


"Creating Accessible Tabular Data Tables" (presented at the 2007 WritersUA
Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA)
This Fast Track tutorial demonstrates and employs web standards and
accessibility methods for simple tabular data table creation.

It is presented free of charge to the community as a help authoring,
technical writing and web design guide.

   - The markup elements and attributes utilized are generic to all
   varieties of (x).h.t.m.l. and are demonstrated in the example table
   - Accessible markup code is employed to enable the successful
   interpretation and transfer of tabular data by Assistive Technologies to
   visually disabled users.
   - Feel free to experiment and edit the examples as you see fit.

Three views of a tabular data table are presented and discussed:

   1. *Browser View:* how users with normal or assisted vision view a
   table rendered in a browser or user agent
   2. *Graphic Code View:* a graphic rendering of the markup code
   3. *Source Code View:* the source code as viewed in a text editor

Important Note to those using front-end/design view Help Authoring Tools:

This tutorial focuses on the manual entry of (x).h.t.m.l. attributes and
elements in a source code/text editor environment. However, if you are using
a front-end design Help Authoring Tool (H.A.T.), please check its built-in
facilities and wizards that enable the application of these markup elements
to your work.

"Calling Accessible Context-Sensitive Help with Unobtrusive DOM/JavaScript"
This Fast Track tutorial demonstrates two methods to call Context-Sensitive
Help in a Web Form:

   - the *Field Help Method*
   - the *Form Help Method*

We'll discover how Unobtrusive DOM/JavaScript achieves the desired result in
calling Context-Sensitive help, and demonstrate how to keep the *Structure*,
*Presentation*, and *Behavior* layers of a web page completely separate from
one another ensuring good practice with current web standards and
accessibility rules.
Employing the Field Help Method A standards-based, accessible and integrated
alternative to Context-Sensitive help popup windows

The Context-Sensitive Field Help Method with unobtrusive DOM/JavaScript goes
a long way in satisfying web standards and accessibility needs.

   - Help content is contained within the Web Form and attached to each
   form field.
   - If and when a user needs help with a particular field, they
   activate/click a help icon image to open and close the the help content.
   - If scripting is turned off in the browser, the help will
   automatically be presented below each form field.
   - In this section of the tutorial, we'll demonstrate how Unobtrusive
   DOM/JavaScript provides a better way to deliver accessible user-activated,
   field-level Context-Sensitive help.

Employing the Form Help Method Calling traditional Context-Sensitive help
popup windows

This method has been implemented throughout web-based application history.

   - A hyper link from the web form (a help icon or other means) is made
   to an external help topic or file which details instructions to complete
   each field in the form.
   - The Context-Sensitive help is called by JavaScript, which produces a
   secondary window containing the help within the web form page.
   - This action or behavior is commonly known as "invoking a popup

The advent of web standards and web accessibility has highlighted the
difficulties assistive devices (i.e., screen readers, etc.) encounter when
dealing with pop up windows.

   - This new interest has given rise to what is known as Unobtrusive
   DOM/JavaScript and its employment in cases such as Context-Sensitive help
   pop up windows.
   - The Form Help Method shows how to implement Unobtrusive
   DOM/JavaScript to call an external Context-Sensitive help pop up window from
   a web form in a standards-based and accessible manner.


If the committee considers these tutorials worthwhile to the Meeting, then
please let me know and I will consider it a privilege to contribute them
gratis for the benefit of all (as usual). Also, if anyone else would care to
have them, please let me know. FYG, the second tutorial employing
Unobtrusive DOM/JavaScript has intensive input and design efforts of web
standards and accessibility guru Gez Lemon of the Paciello Group. Please let
me know if you will consider this both useful and acceptable?

Frank M. Palinkas
Microsoft MVP - Windows Help
Senior Technical Communicator
Web Standards & Accessibility Designer

Received on Sunday, 7 October 2007 15:55:54 UTC