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Re: Linear Access and Text Only

for

From: Terence de Giere
Date: Dec 6, 2003 8:51PM


Giorgio -

Thanks for that long reply to this thread.

I believe you refer to the fact that transcoded
pages show a DOCTYPE with HTML 4.01 even though
the original pages they depend upon are
written in XHTML.

When I referred to the CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) on the Lift Text
Transcoded page, I wasn't referring to the Doctype. There is a small
embedded style sheet that adds some format to the page, and it overrides
some of the format one would get if the page were displayed in a
graphical browser without CSS, such as tiered heading font sizes for
headings. The default presentation of HTML in graphical browsers without
CSS is generally quite readable, and gives a page some useful visual
structure. I assumed this added style sheet could be modified in the
transcoder, and that a more elegant style sheet could be provided. The
sample link you provided indicates that is true. HTML or XHTML written
according to the specification will display well without a style sheet,
but HTML tag soup, as is so often found on the web is a problem.

I tried the transcoder on some valid XHTML and HTML pages and the
resulting code in the transcoded pages was valid HTML 4.01. Pages that
were not valid to begin with did not result in valid HTML in the
transcoded pages. I do not see how that could be fixed without the
chance that some page content would be deleted.

One valuable transformation the transcoder makes is linearizing the
page. Not all combinations of browser and screen reader can do this so
this a valuable feature. It also kept intact a small data table I tried
with it, which would let the table navigation controls of recent screen
readers and browsers like IBM HPR to function properly. Tables can be
particularly difficult. A linear one column text version of a data table
can be more comprehensible in assistive technology provided it can be
restructured so that the headings etc. are properly associated with the
data. If the LIFT transcoder could provide such an alternative version
of a data table (along with the original table), it would help a lot
with older assistive technology and less sophisticated screen readers.
It would also make tables understandable on small screen technology and
in text browsers which do not retain a table grid for display.

I was wondering about Frames. The transcoder processes them in a manner
much like a text browser that recognizes frames. Suppose the individual
framed pages could be presented without the frames in a single flat
file. This might make it easier for navigation. For example on the
Universit