Re: Comments and questions on latest UA guidelines

Replies using JRG:

At 02:11 PM 3/1/99 -0600, wrote:
>Below are some comments and questions that have come up as we (IBM Special
>Needs) looked at the February 10th UA Guidelines while re-evaluating our
>Home Page Reader product. Our comments are preceded by CL.
>4.1.4 [Priority 2]
>     Follow operating system conventions for user interface design, user
>agent configuration (including configuration profiles), product
>     installation and documentation, and accessibility flags and
>CL: Could you define accessibility flags?

JRG: Some operating systems, like Windows 95/98/NT have operating system
supported flags for indicating when a user has selected:
1. High contrast display options for people with visual impairments
2. Show sound for people with hearing impairments

The program can then make adjustment to how it provides information to the

>4.4.12 [Priority 1]
>     Allow the user to turn on and off support for spawned windows.
>CL: Are there any user agents today that provide this control feature?

JRG: Not that I am aware of, but it is a orientation problem for many
screen reader users.

>4.4.13 [Priority 3]
>     Allow the user to turn on and off automatic page forwarding.
>CL: Is this referring to when there is a link that is automatically
>activated after a script-specified amount of time? Are there any user
>agents today that provide this control feature?

JRG: I am not sure if any borwsers provide this functionality. 

>5.3.3 [Priority 1]
>     Allow the user to search for a link based on its attribute values.
>5.5.4 [Priority 1]
>     Allow the user to search for a form control based on its attribute
>CL: I have seen several questions about which attribute values but no
>answers. We are really interested in knowing which specific attribute
>values an end user would be interested in searching for.  Should these
>checkpoints really be  a priority 1?

Attributes for links can be considered markup used to group links like a
navigation bar.  The Web Content guidelines describe methods to markup
groups of links. 

Attributes for forms include relationships between text labels and form
controls.  A user can search for a label and have the form control receive
the focus.  There are two methods:

1. Explicit Labeling:

<P><LABEL FOR=name>Name</LABEL><P>
<P><INPUT TYPE=text NAME=name ID=name>

The ID and the FOR attibutes provide the link between the label and the


2. Implicit Labeling:

<P><LABEL FOR=name>Name<INPUT TYPE=text NAME=name ID=name></LABEL>

In this case the LABEL wraps around the control element.

In either case a person could use a search method to find name and move
focus to the control.

>5.3.4 [Priority 1]
>     Allow the user to move the focus to a link based on its integer
>(tabbing-order) position.
>CL: I assume this means, for example,  moving directly to link 5 out of 25
>links on a page. Do users really consider this a priority 1 type of

JRG: This is a technique used in lynx and is one method to efficiently move
through a page with a large number of links.  

>5.3.8 [Priority 1]
>     Allow the user to navigate among elements with associated long
>5.3.9 [Priority 2]
>     Allow the user to search linked long description text (i.e., in
>another document). In case of a match, the focus should be moved to the
>link in
>     the current document.
>CL: Why would a user want to navigate just among elements with long
>descriptions or search for text that is just in long descriptions? I don't
>think users would think of elements with long descriptions as a set or
>collection of elements like they think of links, tables, or forms. They may
>think of images with their ALT text and long descriptions as a set. Even
>so, I don't think 5.3.8 is a Priority 1.

JRG: In the actual implementation, especially for sequential access, it is
more efficient to have a function that moves through "active elements" on a
page.  There fore the same command would sequentially move through links,
form controls, longdescription links and other active content.  It is
broken up in the guidelines to clearly indicate what elements should be
included in navigation.  Of course you want the user agent to orient the
person to the type of element that has just received focus.

>6.2.4 [Priority 2]
>     Allow the user to navigate sequentially among block elements (e.g.,
>paragraphs, lists and list items, etc.)
>CL: Can this checkpoint  fully define block elements for clarification?

JRG: Block level elements are defined in HTML 4.0 DTD specification:

While HTML DTD is a very specific and technical about block level elements,
the concept for our purposes is to allow the user to move through
functional blocks of information in a document easily.  The functional
blocks probably correlate very closely to the DTD specfications for block
level elements.  The functionality is intended to let the user easy read
through and be oriented to the rendered elements of a document with a
minimum set of commands.

>Cathy Laws
>IBM Special Needs Systems Development

JRG: Thank you for your review and questions.  This is the type of feedback
we need.  Many of your questions need to be answered in the techniques
document of the guidelines, which if you have looked is very sparse at the
moment.  If you or your staff are interested in helping complete the
document, please contact me.

Also congradulations to you and your staff for releasing HomePage reader.
I will be downloading the demo copy soon to take a look at it's features.

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 Tuesday, 2 March 1999 11:54:15 UTC