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Re:RE: Lotus Notes/Domino accessability QUESTION

From: <karl.hebenstreit@gsa.gov>
Date: 15 Aug 98 11:18:00 -0400
Message-Id: <199808151504.LAA09399@gsauns1.gsa.gov>
To: thatch@us.ibm.com, rich@accessexpressed.net
cc: webwatch-l@teleport.com, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
There seems to be some messages that are not being posted to the
w3c-wai-ig@w3.org list.  I submitted a message on 8/10 responding to Al Gilman
that reflects my experiences with Notes twisties and screen readers. 

Karl Hebenstreit, Jr.

The "-" denotes that the section is collapsed, so the available actions are
either to review the information as provided or to choose Enter to expand the
section.  The relevant HTML source code for these collapsed sections is:  <IMG
SRC="/icons/collapse.gif" BORDER=0 ALT="- ">
Conversely, the "+" denotes that the section is expanded, and the action to be
taken would be to collapse the section.

Therefore, to address this issue, I believe that the appropriate solution would
be to have the Notes-to-HTML translation generate an ALT="Expand Section"
instead of the "-" and an ALT="Collapse Section" instead of the "+".  This would
address the "meaningful link text" rule [to which Al Gilman referred].

However, the much more serious issue is that performing an action (collapsing an
expanded section or expanding a collapsed section) results in the page being
refreshed, and screen readers do not presently keep track of the current (at the
time the action was taken) location within the page.  This is extemely
frustrating for blind users, particularly if the page contains many twisties and
they were selecting one near the bottom of the page.  This also greatly reduces
efficiency of working with the information provided.

The best short-term solution is to use the search capability to find the
requested information (the Notes application will need to have the full-text
index created so that the search feature is enabled for browsers).


____________________Reply Separator____________________
Subject:    RE: Lotus Notes/Domino accessability QUESTION
Author: "rich caloggero" <rich@accessexpressed.net>
Date:       8/13/98 1:40 PM

Al gilman posted a fine explanation of the twisty problem. Here it is. Thanx
Al. Also, someone else named John Somebody wanted a description of this for the

UI issues list. Hope this reaches him ...

[follow-up to discussion of the Lotus Notes/Domino implementation
of expanding lists with inscrutable "+/-" link text on twisties.]

The existing rule about "use meaningful link text" explains why
using plus and minus as the link text for twisties does not work
for screen reader users.  But it does not really tell you what to
do about it because a long substitution would get tedious even in
speech.  We probably need to step back and see what the twisties
are doing for us to understand the problem.

Twisties are used as controls inside what we might call
"accordion lists" by analogy to "accordion file" containers for
information on paper.  These are list structures similar to a
table of contents that the user interface lets you fold and
expand on a section by section basis.  Users of MacOS since
version 7 and Microsoft Windows since Windows 95 will be familiar
with this in the file system interface.

The problem is that the visual user can see where the un-changed
parts of the list come back in the adjusted list presentation.
It is not similarly easy to perceive the structure in terms of
changed and unchanged segments in audio, so far as I know.

Accordion lists are visual context-savers for exploring
hierarchical information structures.  I might even say that
accordion lists are a best current practice for this function.
If there is a comparable best current practice for saving context
inside a hierarchical domain, in the context of an audio user
interface, I don't know what it is.
... ... ...

On Tuesday, August 11, 1998 8:12 PM, James Thatcher [SMTP:thatch@us.ibm.com]
> Robert, I would be *very* interested in hearing more detail on the three
> points you mentioned in you post:
> 1. Configuring the template databases to render HTML in an accessible way.
> 2. The use of HTML in Notes Web Pages, where appropriate.
> 3. The use of many Accessibility principles in the (non-HTML) design of the
> pages.
> Though I use Notes all the time, I know nothing about rendering Notes
> databases through Domnio.
> Rich, can you explain to me why the twistie, which is a link labeled + or
> -, next to a label (a letter in the example of the directory listing) is a
> problem for the screen reader.
> Thanks very much.
> Jim Thatcher
> thatch@us.ibm.com
> www.ibm.com/sns
> 512-838-0432
> rich@accessexpressed.net on 08/06/98 01:14:48 PM
> Please respond to rich@accessexpressed.net
> To: James Thatcher/Austin/IBM@ibmus, Robert_Savellis@agd.nsw.gov.au
> cc: w3-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Lotus Notes/Domino accessability QUESTION
> Hi. This is Rich Caloggero. I posted the original message on this thread.
> The website in question is http://www.accessexpressed.net.
> I'm still a bit unclear as to the relationship between Notes and Domino.
> Which
> is the publishing environment? I've been assuming that Domino is Lotus'
> webserver, simmilar to Apatchy and etc. It just serves pages. The
> publishing
> environment is Notes. It provides a way to specify the look and feel of the
> site and takes care of generating the HTML from the specifications. How
> exactly
> does this happen? How much control over the HTML being generated does the
> designer have? Does it use all the new features of HTML4 (label fields on
> form
> buttons, etc)?
> The biggest problem we are having is with the bullet (or twistie) frobs
> which
> appear anywhere an object is referenced in a list or database view. See the
> directory or events pages on www.accessexpressed.net. I've seen this same
> kind
> of layout all over the net, mostly on webpages providing an interface to
> usenet
> or mailing list archives, a great application for a database. The twisties
> can
> be labeled (and are labeled as "+") and thus when images are turned off,
> clickable plus signs appear next to the text of items in the list. For
> example,
> we have an alphabetized index of all venues in our directory. The letters a
> through z appear with twisties next to them. Clicking on the graphic opens
> up
> the list, inserting the database items after the propper letter and
> changing
> the graphic to indicate that a expansion of the list is in affect. Clicking
> on
> the twistie again collapses the list removing the database items. This is
> hard
> to use with a screen reader. The designer says that the text to which the
> graphic refers cannot be made an anchor (clickable link). Why? This kind of
> layout appears throughout our site.
> Please excuse my rambling, but I want to understand this stuff so I can
> make
> clear and hopefully informative recomendations to our web designers. Is
> there
> any technical docs on this stuff I can look at?
> Any info you can provides is most appreciated.
> On Tuesday, August 04, 1998 8:16 PM, Robert_Savellis@agd.nsw.gov.au
> [SMTP:Robert_Savellis@agd.nsw.gov.au] wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Rich,
> >
> > I am the webmaster for the NSW Attorney General's Department in
> Australia.
> >
> > When I designed our first website, it was based on flat HTML. As this
> > department had an
> > emphasis on providing access to community, I based the design on a
> > collection of
> > principles that were called the AUS Accessibility Standards, that were
> also
> > adopted by
> > other NSW government agencies at the time. As such, we were proud of the
> > accessible
> > nature of the website.
> >
> > Two months ago, we launched our new website. This website is at
> > www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au
> >
> > This site resides on a Domino web server. My greatest concern at moving
> > over to Domino was
> > that the HTML component was being removed from the control of the author,
> > and placed in the hands
> > of the web server.  Effectively, the author creates the content in Rich
> > Text Format, and the Server calculates
> > the HTML equivalent when rendering it over the web.
> >
> > As such, I was worried that I would not be able to apply access
> principles
> > to this site as with the previous.
> >
> > There was a lot of trial and error in the design of our new website, and
> I
> > even posted a few questions on this list
> > regarding the access implications of Domino.
> >
> > In the end however, a combination of the following has made our site as
> > accessible (or close to) as the previous site.
> >
> > 1. Configuring the template databases to render HTML in an accessible
> way.
> > 2. The use of HTML in Notes Web Pages, where appropriate.
> > 3. The use of many Accessibility principles in the (non-HTML) design of
> the
> > pages.
> >
> > I will note that before launch we asked the National Federation of Blind
> > Citizens of Australia to do a thorough
> > testing of the site. They made some very constructive suggestions, but on
> > the whole were very pleased with the results.
> >
> > Rich, I hope that this has been of some help.
> >
> >
> > Regards
> >
> > Robert Savellis
> >
> >
> > NOTE: Unlink your case, our website does not use the standard look or
> feel
> > of a Notes database. It looks like an
> > ordinary HTML based website.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Rich Caloggero <rich@accessexpressed.net> on 05/08/98 06:00:31
> >
> > Please respond to "rich@accessexpressed.net" <rich@accessexpressed.net>
> >
> > To:   "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>,
> >       "'webwatch-l@teleport.com'" <webwatch-l@teleport.com>
> > cc:    (bcc: Robert Savellis/FSS/NSW_AG)
> > Subject:  Lotus Notes/Domino and accessability by the blind
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Our company, Very Special Arts Massachusetts,  is developing a website,
> > www.accessexpressed.net,  which provides disability accessibility
> > information
> > related to various cultural organizations (theaters, museums, and other
> > venues). The site, as currently implemented, uses a Lotus Domino server
> and
> > a
> > Notes database. The interface uses the standard look and feel convensions
> > of
> > Lotus Notes, and is cumbersome at best, down right inaccessible at worst
> to
> > blind users. My question is: is there a more accessible set of
> > tools/interface
> > builders which may make the interface more usable by the blind? Do we
> need
> > to
> > redesign completely using a different database? Can we build a better
> > interface
> > on top of what already exists?
> >      While I understand the basics of html, client server architecture,
> etc
> > I no
> > nothing of Notes and Domino and the ways in which it is or is not
> > customizable.
> > I understand that these tools are quite popular for they provide a
> > seemingly
> > flexable and consistant way of designing interfaces on top of a fairly
> > sophisticated database with minimal effort. It seems that one of the
> > biggest
> > barriers to accessibility is the lack of accessability-related features
> > integrated into most popular web publishing environments. I think a good
> > easy
> > to use powerful publishing environment whose designers are aware of
> > accessibility issues would be a big win for disabled people net-wide.
> >
> >                                               Rich Caloggero
> >                          Very Special Arts Massachusetts
> >                          voice: (617) 350-7713
> >                          e-mail: rich@accessexpressed.net or rjc@mit.edut
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
Received on Saturday, 15 August 1998 11:27:12 UTC

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