W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-eo@w3.org > April to June 2002

flexible design

From: Sarah Horton <Sarah.Horton@Dartmouth.EDU>
Date: 12 Apr 2002 11:43:07 EDT
Message-id: <37666572@dancer.Dartmouth.EDU>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
Regarding the screen resolution discussion from today, I wanted to clarify that if a page is designed to be flexible it should collapse and expand to adjust to the width of the window (or the screen resolution) without requiring horizontal scrolling. I tested a couple pages that I know are designed to be flexible in Opera (5.0.485/Mac) and pages reflow, even with the bookmarks frame open:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~access
(This is a work in progress so don't look too closely!)

You can run into trouble even with flexible layouts, however, when there are graphics on the page because they force the page to be at least the width of the graphic (text can reflow nicely but images cannot): 

Layout works okay here:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~anatomy

but breaks down here:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~anatomy/wrist-hand/radiograph/radio1.html

I think the point about flexible layouts is an essential one, particularly in the context of resizing (enlarging) text for readability. If enlarging the font means you wind up having to scroll horizontally to read the page then you have what I would consider a fatal usability flaw, or a page that for some is simply not usable. I would like to keep something about this in the evaluation document because I think it is an important step, but I am concerned that there is not a resource to point to that describes fixed versus flexible layouts.

Current wording:
Set screen resolution to 640 x 480 and observe whether or not this forces the page into horizontal scrolling.

Suggested rewording:
Change window width and screen resolution and observe whether the page contents remain visible within the width of the browser window without requiring horizontal scrolling. If not, check the page source for table attributes and style sheet properties that are defined using absolute units.

It's not great rewording, but at least it gets the issue on the table. Any other ideas?

-Sarah
Received on Friday, 12 April 2002 11:43:08 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Friday, 27 April 2012 10:33:33 GMT