[Libreoffice-ux-advise] Position of caption (e.g. title) for Table objects should default to the Above position

V Stuart Foote VStuart.Foote at utsa.edu
Sun May 26 18:08:02 PDT 2013

In LibreOffice Writer (as well as Apache OpenOffice)  the position of a
caption object (e.g. title) for Table objects should default to a  position
above the Table.  UX in place now makes default positioning as below. This
impacts use of LibreOffice for  "academic" writing, and also has
Accessibility compliance aspects for use of writer as an Information
Communications Technology (ICT) "authoring tool".

There is a long present enhancement request  fdo#40457
<https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=40457>   open against this
issue.  Invite UX discussion of merits of this enhancement and encourage the
ESC to broker seemingly minimal developer effort needed to adjust this
default behavior.


1). most academic style descriptions (Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.) specify that
Tables should be provided with Title caption positioned above the table.  In
LibreOffice a Title is generically handled with a "caption" object. 
Unfortunately the default positioning of caption for Table objects is
configured to Below to object.

When creating a single table, the more common use case, creating and
associating a caption as Title for the Table object, is done from the Table
context menu (Shift+<F10> with a Caption panel.   Also for this dialog, the
default location for the caption is the less useful below.

But also within a given document, the AutoCaption panel (Tools -> Options ->
LibreOffice Writer ) can be used to position the caption, i.e. Title, for
Table objects from default below to the more viable Above placement.   But
this has to be done for every document.

Since the more common usage requirement is to place the Title of a table
above the Table believe the defaults should be adjusted accordingly.

2.) a  change in default behavior would better align with needs of assistive
technology  to render document content in a more accessible fashion--default
positioning a caption as title is in line with WCAG 2.0 -level A and AA
compliance. And theyeby with the derivative accessibility requirements  of
EC Mandate M376,  EN 501 349,  and draft US Access-Board (Section 508) rules
for ITC "Authoring Tool" accessibility services (chpt 502.2).  In other
words, making this change in default behavior for Tables improves rgulatory
compliance of LibreOffice and eases the burden for adopters.

Accessibility Standards:

W3C - WCAG 2.0
W3C - WCAG 2.0 implementation techniques
W3C - WCAG 2.0 - H39 <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/H39.html>  

US Access Board (ADA) Section 508 <http://www.access-board.gov/508.htm>  
US - draft "Information Communications Technology (ICT) Standards &
Guidelines" <http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/refresh/draft-rule.pdf>  

EU Accessibility Requirements <http://www.mandate376.eu>  
Draft standard - (EN) 301 549

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