Re: WCAG Priority Levels for accessibility-oriented TABLE eements and attributes

I agree table markup items should be higher priority in WCAG.  But I am not
sure what that has to do with the DOM.  Implementing and exposing the DOM
will allow assistive technologies to access table markup information
provided by the author.  If the author didn't include information on table
markup, the DOM cannot magically provide it to an assistive technology or
for that matter a graphical rendering in a GUI environment.  

I am therefore not sure what you mean by "pushing it off on to the DOM"?


At 07:22 PM 12/15/99 -0500, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
>aloha, ian!
>during the afternoon session of the User Agent Working Group meeting in austin
>on 10 december 1999, you assured me that all of the accessibility attributes
>and elements contained in HTML4 that are defined for tables are accorded P1 in
>WCAG...  however, WCAG Checkpoints 5.5 and 5.6 (which deal with the summary
>attribute for TABLE and the abbreviation attribute for TD and TH are only
>accorded P3...  if non-visual access to tabular information (i.e. the ability
>to search within a table, a nested table, a column or row; the ability to read
>across rows and down columns; the ability to obtain extended contextual
>information from a cell in a nested table, etc.) is left to AT interaction
>the DOM and relies upon proper usage of TABLE elements and attributes, then
>_all_ of the semantic slash contextual markup defined for tables in HTML4
>to be accorded a P1 in WCAG, so that authors provide as much semantic and
>contextual information as possible when they create a table...  this is the
>only way that a user's adaptive technology will be able to use the DOM to
>extract semantic information from the TABLE, so as to provide information
>will orient the user, thereby making it possible for that user to use whatever
>navigational mechanisms his or her AT has provided for traversing tables...
>moreover, both the summary and the abbr attributes are clearly identified in
>the HTML4 TR as accessibility features
>the HTML4 definition of the "summary" attribute
>summary = text [CS] 
>   This attribute provides a summary of the table's purpose 
>   and structure for user agents rendering to non-visual 
>   media such as speech and Braille. 
>while the HTML4 definition of the "abbr" attribute
>abbr = text [CS] 
>   This attribute should be used to provide an abbreviated form 
>   of the cell's content, and may be rendered by user agents 
>   when appropriate in place of the cell's content. Abbreviated 
>   names should be short since user agents may render them 
>   repeatedly. For instance, speech synthesizers may render 
>   the abbreviated headers relating to a particular cell before 
>   rendering that cell's content.
>thus, i would ask that ALL of the structural and contextual slash semantic
>markup defined for TABLE in HTML4 be accorded a P1 in WCAG, for, as i was
>minuted as stating at the austin face2face:
>GR: I'm not opposed to using the DOM to walk the tree [in order to perform
>navigation within tables]. The bottom line is authoring practices: misuse of
>markup. Also, lack of implementation of axis/scope/caption/summary. If we push
>everything off to the DOM, it's meaningless unless all the pieces are clearly
>marked up and defined. I'm not asking for [the user agent to repair] poorly
>marked up tables; however, for proper tables, the information needs to be made
>available. If we say "Get everything from the DOM" we need to ensure that what
>is needed is in the DOM in the first place.
>He that lives on Hope, dies farting
>     -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
>Gregory J. Rosmaita <>
>   WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
>        <>

Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Chair, W3C WAI User Agent Working Group
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
College of Applied Life Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street, Champaign, IL  61820

Voice: (217) 244-5870
Fax: (217) 333-0248



Received on Thursday, 16 December 1999 10:50:53 UTC