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Re: Last Call AU: presentation order

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 15:33:41 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-au@w3.org
Yes, the AU guidelines implicitly refer to the need for the HTML to be in
proper order.  But I don't see any reference to a feature that's often
needed to do so, viz

     a way for the author to <strong> explicitly </strong> specify the 
     order in which those elements appear in the HTML.  

This is needed if all you have is a wysiwyg view, in which a sighted order
has slid things around on the screen.  In other words, the x,y coordinates
have been specified via positioning but no serial is defined.  The program
can apply heuristics to find the serial order, but they don't always work.
(That's what they tried to do at Adobe.  I think they put in some hard
effort with good people but there are still PDF documents where the order
comes out screwey.)

I feel rather strong about this because the problem comes up with Microsoft
Publisher.  I need to put up some pages that were created by someone who
slid text around, and the text order in the HTML is really mixed up.  I
wrote Microsoft and they weren't able to help.  If they want to keep the
slide around interface, they need to have explicit positioning.

Word is different than Publisher because you can't just arbitrarily
position something somewhere: you have to insert it in a flow.

The difference is that in publisher you define an object and then give it's
x,y position.  In word you define a serial order.

It's true that there are some simple presentations like having just two
columns where the order stays defined.  But even if a simple heuristic can
deduce the reading order from the visual presentation, that may not be the
optimal reading order for someone who is blind.  For example, you may want
to move a bunch of menu links from the beginning to the end.

At 03:35 PM 10/23/99 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>We address this problem through reference to the Web Content Accessibility
>Guidelines, most obviously in guideline 1.
>An example of an authoring tool that handles this in an advanced way is
>Microsoft Word, which allows the creation of various headers and footers, and
>columnar text, but can reproduce a linear flow order.
>Charles McCathieNevile
>On Sun, 3 Oct 1999, Leonard R. Kasday wrote:
>  <fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param><bigger>When style sheets are
>  used, the order in which items appear visually can be different than the
>  order in which they appear in the HTML source, which is the order in
>  which a blind person would hear them (at least with current browsers). 
>  WYSIWYG editors tend to make the orders different whenever the user
>  starts moving things around,  and  hand-crafted HTML can be just as 
>  bad.
>  In fact, in a 2-dimensional graphical layout, "the order" is not always
>  obvious. defined, or best suited to the needs of blind surfers.
>  Therefore, when sections of the page have an order controlled by a style
>  sheet, the tool needs a way to independently control the order in which
>  those sections appear in the HTML.  The result would be displayed in a
>  separate window, with means to showing what corresponds to what, just
>  like in the email with subject: " Last call AU: simultaneous
>  presentations" 
>  http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-au/1999OctDec/0016.html
>  I think this would best fit under guideline 1.  
>  I'd give it a priority 1.  It addresses the biggest hassle I'm currently
>  facing as I try to transfer newsletters from a major desktop publishing
>  program  to a web site.
>  </bigger></fontfamily>
>  Len
>  -------
>  Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
>  Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
>  Department of Electrical Engineering
>  Temple University
>  Ritter Hall Annex, Room 423, Philadelphia, PA 19122
>  kasday@acm.org        
>  (215) 204-2247 (voice)
>  (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
>--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
>phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
>W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
>MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Temple University

Ritter Hall Annex, Room 423, Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 204-2247 (voice)
(800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Monday, 25 October 1999 15:30:30 UTC

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