PROPOSAL: Checkpoints related to TABLE accessibility

This is a proposal for checkpoints related to Table Accessibility for
Desktop Graphical User Agent and Assistive Techmology Conformance.  The
conformance checkpoints for each are divided into sections that are clearly
marked.  There is NO single tables section of the current working draft,
therefore the checkpoints related to tables are listed under an appropriate
guideline for that checkpoint.  The guideline a checkpoint is listed under
is stated as part of this proposal.  

Note: Some checkpoints listed in this proposal are more general than
providing access to table elements.

Please review and respond to the list.  We will discuss this and any other
proposals related to table access and conformance issues during the telecon
next week.  

Checkpoints Related to Desktop Graphical User Agent Conformance for Tables

The following 3 checkpoints are in the compatibility sections of the user
agent guidelines.  These checkpoints do not exclusively relate to table
access issues, but are needed in Desktop Graphical User Agents for
asssitive technologies to provide efficient access to table element
information.   The following are proposed to be part of the conformance
subset for Desktop Graphical User Agents (IE, Navigator, Opera):

Under Guideline 6.1 "Support language accessibility features" would have
the following checkpoint:
(Note: the word "language" in the guideline name will change to "markup" in
next version of the working draft) 

Checkpoint 6.1.4  [Priority 1]
Fully implement the Document Object Model Level 1

Rationale: This provides the information needed by assistive technologies
to access the content of a document for rendering information in a way that
is usable by persons with disabilities, including determining table cell
data and header relationships. 

Under Guideline 6.2 "Use and provide accessible interfaces to other
technologies" would have the following checkpoints:

Checkpoint 6.2.6: [Priority 1]
Provide a means for assistive technology to access the user agents Document
Object Model

Rationale:  The document object model must be exposed to assistive
technologies for assistive technology developers to benefit from the user
agentís implementation of the DOM.  This should be done using standard
operating system interfaces that are used and supported for inter-process

Checkpoint 6.2.7: [Priority 1]
Provide a means for the user to execute a script at the end of loading
(onload event in HTML 4.0 specification) and document changed (may not be
defined in current W3C standards) events.

Rationale: This checkpoint allows the user to improve the rendering of
documents for legacy assistive technologies that are not aware or do not
use contemporary object models or accessibility APIs to directly access the
content of the document for alternative renderings.  For example, scripts
can be developed for legacy screen readers that would allow for table
linearization and the addition of keyboard commands for rudimentary
navigation.  The scripts could be made available by the developers of the
legacy technology or through other public channels.  Scripts could also be
developed for improved compatibility with other types of legacy assistive
technology and to have custom keyboard navigation systems. This checkpoint
is primarily an interim solution to the problem of legacy assistive
technology and to provde custom or "ad hoc" accessibility features that is
not available through assisitve technology.  

Checkpoints related to Assistive Technology Conformance for Tables

The following checkpoints are proposed for conformance subset for assistive
technologies for providing access to tables (note the Priority 2 items
would not be required for conformance):

Under Guideline 4.3 "Allow the user to chose formatting solutions" would
have the following checkpoints:

Checkpoint 4.3.1 [Priority 1]
Allow the user to view one table cell at a time with associated header

Rationale: Users must have access to the contents of an individual cell and
know what the associated header information is for that cell.  This can be
used by speech, Braille or enlargement assistive technologies.

Checkpoint 4.3.2 [Priority 2]
Allow the user to view one row or one column of a table at a time with
associated header information

Rationale: In some cases rendering a row or column of information is
important for efficiently accessing the information of the document.

Checkpoint 4.3.3 [Priority 1 or 2]
Allow the user to request assumptions be made about table header
information when table header information is not available or is incomplete.
Rationale: This is a table repair technique for poorly written documents
that include tables.  

Underline Guideline 5.5 "Allow keyboard navigation of the document and
views of the document" would have the following checkpoints:

Checkpoint 5.5.2 [Priority 1]
Allow users to navigate between cells of a table

Rationale: Basic navigation commands like left/right, up/down and
beginning/end are needed for efficient access to table information.  The
concept of a cell focus (point of regard) would be implied by the
functionality, rather than explicitly stated in the checkpoint.  It is
important since tables are a unique structure within a document.  The
guidelines should highlight the unique navigation that is required for
efficient table element navigation.  

Checkpoint 5.5.3 [Priority 1]
Allow users to navigate between structural elements of the document

Rationale: This is a general statement on structural navigation of document
content.  But it relates to tables because it would include the ability to
move between nested tables, since the nesting is a structural component of
the document.

Checkpoint 5.2.7 [Priority 1 or 2] (modification of current checkpoint)
Provide the user with information about the about a table and the current
table cell

Rationale: The user should be able to ask the system at any time about the
summary attribute information, the size of the current table, the
row/column position of the current cell they are viewing in the table and
if the table is embedded in another table.  This can help the user orient
to the document structure and plan their navigation strategy.

Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820

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

Received on Friday, 22 January 1999 12:45:48 UTC