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Re: Linearizing Tables

From: mark novak <menovak@facstaff.wisc.edu>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 09:35:30 -0500
Message-Id: <v01540b05b518e18b8789@[]>
To: "Steven McCaffrey" <smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>, <kford@teleport.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
hi Steven, Kelly, and others:

I don't have the time this week to get into this in much
detail, but we did some work about a year ago regarding the ability
to navigate and understand web based data tables.  We developed a
tool, which is only of "beta" quality, called HelpDB, and it is
available to download off the Trace web site.  HelpDB allows you
to navigate around the web data table row/columns for cell
by cell information including the header information.  It
uses the HTML markup (e.g., <TH>, <TD>, etc) to accomplish this.
There are many things that could be done with this tool, but
time and resources are another issue ;)

The tool currently only works with IE 4 and 5, sorry.

The README.TXT file has much more detail, please refer to that.



At 1:29 PM 4/10/00, Steven McCaffrey wrote:
>Hi Kelly:
> A very good example illustrating many existing problems.
>     As pointed out in a previous thread,
>the example table in the techniques document of the table of cups of coffe
>consumed by each senator does *not*
>transform  as described, using JFW 3.2.  I don't know if JFW 3.5
>transforms it as described.
>Even if it does, developers should not assume all users have JFW,
>nor that all JFW users have the latest version.
>If the row and column headings were  spoken before the cells, this would
>be an adequate linearized version.  However, I still maintain that an
>adequate  linearized version of a table does not provide equivalent
>access, although it
>does provide  a barely minimum degree of access.
>The following applies to      data tables.
>Linearized tables do not provide equivalent access.  Otherwise, why do
>sighted people use a two dimensional visual presentation and not a linear
>list of the cells?
>In other words, if a person were to read a large data table to a friend
>over the phone, one cell at a time, would the person listening to the
>verbal enunciation of the table feel that he/she is getting the
>information out that she/he wants from the table?
>Clearly not.  What would happne in this case?
>The person listening would no doubt ask to have certain cells or even
>entire rows read out again, without having to listen to the entire table
>again, one cell at a time.  For data tables containing numerical
>data,(unlike the landsend.com example),
>the listener might ask the reader  at the other end of the phone to answer
>a question like
>"How does the values of X change over time?  Is there a pattern?  Where
>does it reach a maximum..."
>In a table like that in the landsend.com example, if prices are also
>listed, one might want to ask,
>"What is the cheapest , most expensive etc." just to name a few questions
>I might want to ask.
>Another class of question might be "Is there product x in size range Y?"
>All this, in a slightly different context, I have raised before in the How
>to describe flowcharts, ... thread.
>all this information could be provided in a long describption ahead of
>time, or by
>some interactive database-like query, (XML to the rescue?).
>     Until such descriptions or interactivity exists, access to data
>tables is not equivalent,
>linearized or not.  And the fact of the matter is that still,
>many, if not most, screen readers do not even provide a correct linearized
>version for all tables.
>    I accept a correctly linearized version of data tables as only an
>interim solution
>and hope the W3C WAI is still working on truly equivalent access to data
>Tables are going to be used more and more, especially in data intensive
>areas like statistical or budgetary information.
>The overall principle boils down to the fact that a two dimensional visual
>of a table is incorrectly assumed to be the definition of a table, and is thus,
>by its very nature, confusing presentation with logical structure.
>The definition used in the WCAG of "tabular information" is, very roughly,
>correct, and yet
>the WCAG and techniques documents still insist that a linearized version
>is accessible.
>As I said, a linearized version provides a bare minimum degree of access
>but falls far short of equivalent access.
>Steve McCaffrey
>Senior Programmer/Analyst
>Information Technology Services
>New York State Department of Education
>New York State Workgroup on Accessibility to Information Technology
>Web Design Subcommittee
>>>> Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com> 04/09/00 11:09AM >>>
>Hi All,
>Perhaps this is detailed in a techniques document someplace so pointers are
>appreciated.  Further I'm not an expert on HTML coding as much as I am on
>figuring out how to handle whatever web pages toss my way.  I have a
>question about techniques for coding tables so they linearize correctly.
>Below is an example of how a table from Lands' End reads in JFW and
>Window-Eyes.  Is there a way to code this table so it still looks the same
>visually but so the column headings of Chino, Poplin and Active would
>appear in better locations when the table is linearized by the web browser
>and screen reader?
>The word "link" appears in front of anything that's a link and the word
>"graphic" in front of anything that's a picture.
>This is roughly how one section of the Men's Shorts page appears in
>Window-Eyes or JFW.  Lands' End uses this same layout for all their product
>Link Graphic Plain-front
>Link Graphic Plain-front
>Link Plain-front
>Link Graphic Pleated
>Link Pleated
>Link Graphic Drawstring
>Link Drawstring
>Link Graphic Cargo
>Link Cargo
>View Thumbnails...
>Link Graphic Plain-front
>Link Graphic Plain-front
>Link Plain-front
>Link Graphic Pleated
>Link Pleated
>Link Graphic Drawstring
>Link Drawstring
>View Thumbnails...
>Link Graphic Ripstop Hikers
>Link Graphic Ripstop Hikers
>Link Ripstop Hikers
>Link Graphic Cargo Water
>Link Cargo Water
>Link Graphic Tactel Adventure
>Link Tactel Adventure
>Link Graphic Knit Sport
>Link Knit Sport
>Link Graphic Knit Cargo
>Link Knit Cargo
>View all...
Received on Tuesday, 11 April 2000 10:32:01 UTC

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