Give us a Ribbon with tools we can use to make accessible document

I have spent the last year training our employees to use the toolbar 
Microsoft *should* have created for Word 2003 -- one that features all the 
commands needed to create an accessible document and none of the commands 
that lead you away from creating an accessible document. Ironically, these 
commands are also essential to understanding the power of Word and using it 
as a 21st-century word processor, not the electronic equivalent of safety 
scissors, construction paper, a pot of paste, and an 8-pack of crayons. (That 
description fits the buttons featured on Microsoft's default toolbars.)

Employees who use my accessibility toolbar not only create accessible 
documents painlessly but also take much, much less time to fix formatting 
problems. They also find that Word now behaves more consistently, as they are 
no longer sending it confusing combinations of commands.

Now we are moving to Word 2007.  We are struggling to create and deploy a 
ribbon that fits our business needs -- not one that takes half of its room 
advertising direct formatting that cannot be understood correctly by Word (in 
generating a document map or table of contents, for example) and cannot be 
interpreted at all by screen readers and other forms of assistive technology. 
We finally created the appropriate combination of buttons on a new tab, but 
quite often Word decides that we are finished using it and switches back to 
the all but useless Home tab.

Please create a tab that prominently allows the user to open the document 
map, apply styles (*not* formatting), insert frames (*not* text boxes), add 
captions and alt text to illustrations, insert tables (*not* draw them), 
apply columns, add bookmarks and hyperlinks, and so forth. If a command 
misleads a screen reader or does not directly correspond to valid html, don't 
put it on this ribbon. And let me designate this tab, not the home tab, as my 
default ribbon.

Along these lines, I have one more request about the document map: If the 
user has entered no structure, don't let Word guess. Make it show nothing but 
structure explicitly entered (through the outline level setting of an 
appropriate style) by the user. If all the have done is to fling formatting 
at the screen, the document map should display *nothing* -- because that's 
the same thing a screen reader would pick up.

If you make this change, the document map will be a powerful tool for 
determining whether a screen reader can correctly perceive the structure of 
the document. As it is now, the document map confuses the heck out of 
everyone I have encountered who has not been specifically taught what it is 
supposed to do when Word isn't guessing.

----------------
This post is a suggestion for Microsoft, and Microsoft responds to the 
suggestions with the most votes. To vote for this suggestion, click the "I 
Agree" button in the message pane. If you do not see the button, follow this 
link to open the suggestion in the Microsoft Web-based Newsreader and then 
click "I Agree" in the message pane.

http://www.microsoft.com/office/community/en-us/default.mspx?mid=c1b56818-f18a-49bb-8536-00b8ea3fb128&dg=microsoft.public.word.docmanagement
0
Utf
5/14/2010 5:13:01 PM
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I'm not sure if this will help you, but note that the ribbon will be 
customizable in Word 2010.

-- 
Stefan Blom
Microsoft Word MVP
(Message posted via NNTP)



"clifftyll" <clifftyll@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message 
news:C1B56818-F18A-49BB-8536-00B8EA3FB128@microsoft.com...
>I have spent the last year training our employees to use the toolbar
> Microsoft *should* have created for Word 2003 -- one that features all the
> commands needed to create an accessible document and none of the commands
> that lead you away from creating an accessible document. Ironically, these
> commands are also essential to understanding the power of Word and using it
> as a 21st-century word processor, not the electronic equivalent of safety
> scissors, construction paper, a pot of paste, and an 8-pack of crayons. (That
> description fits the buttons featured on Microsoft's default toolbars.)
>
> Employees who use my accessibility toolbar not only create accessible
> documents painlessly but also take much, much less time to fix formatting
> problems. They also find that Word now behaves more consistently, as they are
> no longer sending it confusing combinations of commands.
>
> Now we are moving to Word 2007.  We are struggling to create and deploy a
> ribbon that fits our business needs -- not one that takes half of its room
> advertising direct formatting that cannot be understood correctly by Word (in
> generating a document map or table of contents, for example) and cannot be
> interpreted at all by screen readers and other forms of assistive technology.
> We finally created the appropriate combination of buttons on a new tab, but
> quite often Word decides that we are finished using it and switches back to
> the all but useless Home tab.
>
> Please create a tab that prominently allows the user to open the document
> map, apply styles (*not* formatting), insert frames (*not* text boxes), add
> captions and alt text to illustrations, insert tables (*not* draw them),
> apply columns, add bookmarks and hyperlinks, and so forth. If a command
> misleads a screen reader or does not directly correspond to valid html, don't
> put it on this ribbon. And let me designate this tab, not the home tab, as my
> default ribbon.
>
> Along these lines, I have one more request about the document map: If the
> user has entered no structure, don't let Word guess. Make it show nothing but
> structure explicitly entered (through the outline level setting of an
> appropriate style) by the user. If all the have done is to fling formatting
> at the screen, the document map should display *nothing* -- because that's
> the same thing a screen reader would pick up.
>
> If you make this change, the document map will be a powerful tool for
> determining whether a screen reader can correctly perceive the structure of
> the document. As it is now, the document map confuses the heck out of
> everyone I have encountered who has not been specifically taught what it is
> supposed to do when Word isn't guessing.
>
> ----------------
> This post is a suggestion for Microsoft, and Microsoft responds to the
> suggestions with the most votes. To vote for this suggestion, click the "I
> Agree" button in the message pane. If you do not see the button, follow this
> link to open the suggestion in the Microsoft Web-based Newsreader and then
> click "I Agree" in the message pane.
>
> http://www.microsoft.com/office/community/en-us/default.mspx?mid=c1b56818-f18a-49bb-8536-00b8ea3fb128&dg=microsoft.public.word.docmanagement 


0
Stefan
5/14/2010 5:56:45 PM
Thanks, Stefan, for pointing out that the ribbon will be customizable in Word 
2010. But the problem isn't just my convenience. It's whether Microsoft is 
willing to make its software help people create accessible documents.

So far, it has not. Over half of the functions on the Home tab of the Word 
2007 ribbon change the appearance of text without adding tags that can be 
picked up by a screen reader. And if they are all you use to create your 
report, then you have to do your own widow/orphan control, footnote 
placement, table of contents, and so on. And the resulting electronic file 
will be inaccessible.

And what's worse is that virtually all Word training teaches people how to 
use Microsoft's default buttons, not how to find and use the features that 
make Word a powerful word processor. So it is all but impossible for 
governmental agencies to find training that will teach their employees how to 
use Word to comply with the law known as Section 508.

I want the software bought by my employer to have a default interface that 
leads people to do things the right way, so instead of spending my time 
creating that interface, getting it distributed to my co-workers, and 
developing customized training to teach them to use it, I can do the job I 
was hired to do.

Is that too much to ask?
0
Utf
5/14/2010 10:01:01 PM
Is it too much to ask? Frankly yes. However a piece of software is 
configured by default it will please some people and offend others. It is 
not possible to create software that is all things to all men. For many 
people, myself included - with many years experience in Word, the change to 
2007 was both a shock to the system and resented for the extra work that it 
required both to configure as I wanted it, and to find where Microsoft had 
hidden all the familiar controls. It took me a long time to get used to 
things but now it has become almost second nature, just as Word 2003 was 
before - and Word is about to become version 2010, which adds a new learning 
curve to the process.

As you indicated you have had to configure Word 2003 from its out of the box 
condition to a setup that suits your way of working. If you want to employ 
Word 2007, you are going to have to configure it. The ribbon is readily 
configurable - and you can have the commands you require for a given 
document type associated with the ribbon in that document's template. You 
can put the tab(s) for your document at the start of the ribbon and it 
rather than the Home tab will open with that document. 
http://gregmaxey.mvps.org/Customize_Ribbon.htm

As for Section 508, I had not a clue what that was until I looked it up, and 
it is typical government gobbledygook. Futhermore it only seems relevant to 
the US, and Microsoft Word is aimed at the world, not simply the relatively 
small American market place.

In the case of Microsoft Word you have to take what comes and adapt it to 
your requirements - or use something else.

-- 
<>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>><<>
Graham Mayor -  Word MVP

My web site www.gmayor.com
Word MVP web site http://word.mvps.org
<>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>><<>


"clifftyll" <clifftyll@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message 
news:05FBA8D5-6062-4D00-9BA1-EFC894B44C64@microsoft.com...
> Thanks, Stefan, for pointing out that the ribbon will be customizable in 
> Word
> 2010. But the problem isn't just my convenience. It's whether Microsoft is
> willing to make its software help people create accessible documents.
>
> So far, it has not. Over half of the functions on the Home tab of the Word
> 2007 ribbon change the appearance of text without adding tags that can be
> picked up by a screen reader. And if they are all you use to create your
> report, then you have to do your own widow/orphan control, footnote
> placement, table of contents, and so on. And the resulting electronic file
> will be inaccessible.
>
> And what's worse is that virtually all Word training teaches people how to
> use Microsoft's default buttons, not how to find and use the features that
> make Word a powerful word processor. So it is all but impossible for
> governmental agencies to find training that will teach their employees how 
> to
> use Word to comply with the law known as Section 508.
>
> I want the software bought by my employer to have a default interface that
> leads people to do things the right way, so instead of spending my time
> creating that interface, getting it distributed to my co-workers, and
> developing customized training to teach them to use it, I can do the job I
> was hired to do.
>
> Is that too much to ask? 


0
Graham
5/15/2010 4:57:25 AM
Reply:

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