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Re: Global and local Navigation

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 10:56:26 -0500
Message-ID: <3845452A.BA88F322@w3.org>
To: George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>
CC: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
George Kerscher wrote:
> Dear WAI-UA-WG,
> I would like to complement the User Agent team for a job well done. On
> behalf of the NISO committee developing specifications for Digital talking
> Books,I have been asked to pass on some comments about navigation we are
> involved in that you might find useful.
> Those of us involved with the development of Digital Talking Books (DTB)
> through the NISO effort in conjunction with the DAISY Consortium would like
> to explain some navigation and reading concepts we use. We thought this
> might be helpful in the final drafting of the User Agent Guidelines. Our
> focus has been on the conversion of printed books and their utility in a
> digital arena. I'm sure  you will find our comments relevant to the context
> of using and reading books. We believe this relates to the web as well. If
> you see the need, Please feel free to use any of these concepts.
> Global Navigation - (synonym  = navigation )A mechanism to get quickly to a
> portion of a book that you want to read.
> Local Navigation - (synonym = reading) The process of moving through
> information to understand the content.

We have called these concepts "direct" and "contextual" access.
Refer to [1]:

User agents should provide access to functionalities
in different ways to meet the skills and needs of 
different audiences:

   *  Contextual access (e.g., through cascading menus, 
      through help systems, etc.) helps users with cognitive 
      impairments and any users unfamiliar with the tool. 

   *  Direct access (e.g., through keyboard or voice shortcuts)
      helps some users with motor limitations and speeds up use
      by experienced users. 

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WD-WAI-USERAGENT-19991105/#q7
> In the arena of DTB we developed a concept of a "Navigation Control Center"
> (NCC) which resembles a traditional table of contents, but it is more. The
> NCC contains links to all headings at all levels in the book. In addition
> to the headings, links to all pages are inserted. Finally we include in the
> NCC links to all items that the reader may select to turn off for reading.
> For example, if the reader has the automatic reading of footnotes turned
> off, there must be a way to quickly get back to that information. For this
> reason, the reference to the footnote is placed in the NCC and the reader
> can go to the reference, understand the context for the footnote, and then
> read the footnote. All items that have the option of turning off automatic
> reading can be reached through the NCC.
> Once a reader is at a location they wish to start reading, the navigation
> process changes. Of course, the reader may elect to read sequentially, but
> many times some navigation is needed. Going back or forward one word or
> character at a time is used frequently. Moving from one sentence or
> paragraph at a time is also needed.  This type of local navigation is
> different from the global navigation used to get to the location of what
> you want to read. It is frequently desirable to move from one block element
> to the next. For example, moving from a paragraph to the next block element
> which may be a list, block quote, or sidebar is the normally expected
> mechanism for local navigation.
> We believe the way a person reads sometimes depends on the construct of the
> item they are reading. "Moving into" tables, or lists, or math requires
> different navigation options to facilitate reading. This means that the
> navigation options are context sensitive.
> Navigating the web is much different than reading a specially prepared DTB.
> However, many of the elements are the same. The user on the web follows
> links to get to a place that is interesting and then starts to read that
> page using the local navigation techniques to understand the content of the
> page.  The user agents must allow both global and local navigation to
> support reading.

Thank you for these comments, George. These are useful
techniques for Checkpoint 7.7, "Allow the user to navigate according to 

 - Ian
> George Kerscher, Project Manager
> PM to the DAISY Consortium
> Recording For the Blind & Dyslexic
> Email: kerscher@montana.com
> Phone: 406/549-4687

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel/Fax:                     +1 212 684-1814
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Wednesday, 1 December 1999 10:56:54 UTC

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