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ORDER discussion (-starter NOT; DRAFT)

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 15:34:49 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <199710151934.PAA20959@access5.digex.net>
To: jbrewer@w3.org, w3c-wai-hc@w3.org (HC team)
On reviewing the territory, I want to treat the "logical reading order"
topic as a report, not a discussion launch.  The IG is free to 
discuss anything, but I do not see where we want to try to sustain
this as its own thread of discussion while TABLE and REF&META are
also being discussed.

Assuming that we follow this tack, there will at least be a brief
paragraph linking [prose only, no hyperstuff] to the other two
discussion areas in the initial (survey of issues) message.  Then
we could optionally send what is attached below, or we could skip
it.

-- Al

----------------------------------------------------------------------

ORDER     Preserving the logical reading order of text

BACKGROUND:

Text that is laid out spread over multiple columns and in other yet
more creative patterns is a major problem for blind use of
the Web today.  The audio output using current browsers and adaptive
technology can be as bad as reading

     line 1 from column 1
     line 1 from column 2
     line 1 from column 3
     line 2 from column 1

etc.

This renders the content incomprehensible.  It is a big problem
with the Web today.

PROPOSAL:

Most of the problem pages use tables to achieve their layout,
whether in columnar format emulating a newspaper, or in blockwise
arrays of mixed text and other content.

We expect there to be significant improvement in this area as
a result of steps proposed under the TABLE topic (please review
that discussion).  These include both browser functions to
re-display content when the author's display is illegible with
the user's access technology, and more information in the HTML
for the TABLE indicating whether rows or columns are the natural
reading order, etc.

It is not clear that all the problems will go away with these
specific reforms.  In addition to the proposals in the TABLE
area, the small extensions to HTML proposed under the REF&META
discussion area will create increased capability to create
user-defined markup with which we can indicate reading order
explicitly for threads of text which are fragmented in the HTML.

FOLLOW UP:

If you have reviewed the proposals in the TABLE and REF&META
areas, and you believe you have a reading-order problem that has
not been addressed, you may post your comment to
w3c-wai-ig@w3.org with ORDER in the subject line.  Discussion
about how the the TABLE and REF&META proposals address this
problem should be marked with those symbols.  The posting address
is the same.
Received on Wednesday, 15 October 1997 15:35:29 UTC

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