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Re: accessible tree menus


From: John Foliot
Date: Feb 28, 2009 1:55PM

Chris Hoffman wrote:
> I disagree. The limits of our cognition (not to mention the limits of
> time) require that we skip over large blocks of content all the time
> without knowing their exact details, whether we are sighted or not.

There is a difference between knowing exact details and knowing any details.
Knowing too many details, especially when unsolicited, can be as frustrating
as knowing no details, and this is the point of the discussion. What are we
skipping over here:


You have 2 choices - I can tell you everything inside that div, or you can
remain completely unaware of its contents. This is the reality that some
users of Adaptive Technology are faced with, and the reality we need to
consider as we structure our content.

> Let's say I go to the bookstore, looking for a book with a recipe
> using sugar snap peas. I will go directly to the Cooking section, and
> from there I'd likely go directly to the Vegetables section.

There is a Borders store in the local mall near me. Without knowing the
layout of the store, please direct me to the Vegetables section in the
Cooking section. You can't, because you are unaware of the layout of the
store. Now should you arrive in person, you will have *VISUAL* sign-posts
that will guide you to the section you are looking for, and more
importantly, you could quickly scan the entire store looking for clues to
quickly direct you to the cooking section. But if you cannot see the
way-finding signs, you could likely wander the store unassisted for quite
some time before you found the vegetables section of the cooking section.

> Now of course there are certain expectations that the bookstore will
> have to meet if I am to be successful (we can call them "standards" or
> "best practices"). For one, if this is my first time in the store, it
> would be nice to have a map (or a friendly clerk) at the front door to
> guide me to a particular section.

A store map that outlined the contents of every row of books might be
useful, but it would take you a significant amount of time to peruse all of
the row choices, although once you found what you were looking for, you
could rapidly zero in on that row of books. This is the role of a site map.

However, if I told you simply that the non-fiction books were on the right
side of the store, and that self help books were toward the back... well
now, that's concise and useful directions that get you a lot closer to where
you really want to be, and would likely be a better model for persistent
navigation - get you in the generally vicinity quickly without having to
answer too many questions or process too many choices.

> I think you'd be hard-pressed to find members on this list who are not
> trying their hardest to do just that.

And I for one am not suggesting that. However it is useful sometimes to
remind everyone that the goal should be a people-first approach, and not a
technology for the sake of technology approach... and the oldest one of all,
on-line accessibility is not simply about screen readers - a point I tried
very hard to illustrate in my lengthy posting earlier.