W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ua@w3.org > January to March 1999

Re: tabbing through the active elements

From: Marja-Riitta Koivunen <marja@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 17:12:31 -0500
Message-Id: <4.1.19990311161330.00d175a0@>
To: Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
At 02:59 PM 3/11/99 -0600, Jon Gunderson wrote:
>1. In the guidelines we want to have features that support several types of
>user strategies.  It is important to remember that the checkpoints are not
>strategies, they are features that support users access a document.
>Therefore the checkpoints should support many types of users and there

And to know how to best support the users and their strategies one needs to
first understand them (at least at some level). And that is what I'm trying
to do.

So the checkpoints are not totally separate from the strategies. If we
select to tab through links and controls it is different strategy than e.g.
tabbing through main headers and links and controls semantically contained
by those headers.

>2. Users with disabilities have the same tasks as other users.  They want
>to know the content of the elements in a document and they want to use the
>active elements (links and controls) to naviage to new information or to
>send information to another location.  We want to have controls and
>renderings that help support their access to WWW documents.  

What is the document e.g. in a page like http://www.cnn.com/? I myself look
first the title of the selected news article but if I start following the
links and controls (by using the source) it will take me forever to get
there. And it will take forever to understand the structure of the page.
When looking at this example I think that the least the content guidelines
should do is, in addition to pointing out the navigation bar, to point out
the starting point to the main content of the page as well. But of course
it is not the whole answer.

(sidetract: maybe there should be a tool to group things together according
to the groups appearing visually e.g. what is near each other and when
these is space between the elements, elements with same background, which
groups have titles with similar font, size and color etc.)

>3. Most of our understanding of the techniques and strategies use by
>persons with disabilities is based on group memebrs own personal
>experiences or experience working with people with disabilities.  Kitch
>Barnicle has just completed a study on people with visual impairments
>accessing the WWW.   Many people with severe disabilities have little or no
>experience using the WWW to understand their strategies.

Probably others in the group understand this better. I know too little so I
just try to imagine doing the things I normally do without seeing them
visually. Kitch's work sounds interesting. Could you give the address again?

>4. Most users do not know what the content of a WWW document is before they
>get there, so unless they have been there before they will probably use a
>similar strategy for all WWW documents.  My guess is that most strategies
>are not overt or well defined.
That is probably true and therefore it is important to be able to support a
good strategy.
Another thing is that if the page has some metadata about its type that is
available to the user, the users might be able to modify their strategies
according to that.

>The sequential (tabbing) feature is considered the most rudementary
>technique for accessing the document.  But it is still very powerfull since
>it requires little user sophistications in learning how to use it to access

I agree tabbing is easy to learn. However, I missed the point here. Are you
talking about tabbing through every element or selected elements (or
groups) such as active ones and what kind of selections should be offered
to the users?


>At 03:02 PM 3/11/99 -0500, Marja-Riitta Koivunen wrote:
>>I'm still struggling to understand the tasks that the users who are not
>>able to see the page are trying to do when they use different kind of
>>tabbings .
>>Somebody said at the last teleconf that active elements (links and
>>controls) are used to get a peak or an overview of what is in the page. I
>>looked couple of pages shortly trying to simulate that.
>>One big difficulty was that I really would like to separate between the
>>navigation bar elements, advertisements and the actual content of the page.
>>Which one I want to look at a certain time depends at least on what I have
>>done earlier and what my goals are.
>>Sometimes I might want to browse first the main title of the page and then
>>see the navigation bar links to orientate myself. The last part is the
>>active elements in content. Sometimes I might want to see just the content
>>links and controls as I am looking different pages at the same site. Often
>>however, I still browse the headers first and then go to the links and
>>controls (if I go to a control do I get the explanation of the control as
>>It would be nice to learn what the users frequently using these tabbing
>>techniques do. What kind of strategies they have in going through the pages
>>and what kind of difficulties there are? Are there clearly different types
>>of sites that need different strategies? Would it help to use hierarchical
>>tabbing where you can go up and down to more or less details in the
>>semantic structure with one button while tabbing forward or backward the
>>page with another?
>>  Marja
>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
>E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu
>WWW:	http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
>	http://www.als.uiuc.edu/InfoTechAccess
Received on Thursday, 11 March 1999 17:11:33 UTC

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