W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > April to June 1998

Re: Browser guidelines in authoring guidelines

From: Josh Krieger <jkrieger@cast.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 08:43:08 -0400
Message-ID: <353F375C.68A6BACE@cast.org>
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <po@trace.wisc.edu>
CC: GL - WAI Guidelines WG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
My general suggestion is to turn "interim" into a third
category along with "Recommended" and "Required" because
interim guidelines by their very nature can neither be
recommended or required. See the following three points.

7.2. Tables are not used to arrange text documents in columns

This particular guideline is quite problematic because most
web pages use tables and most of those arrange text in multiple
columns to some extent. Can we really make such a guideline
required interim or not?

This guideline still does not have an "interim" tag on it. 
It should. I think, more to the point, this guideline is 
problematic because it is not specific enough 
about the target groups it affects and when
such interim requirements will be relaxed. For example, if
an author writes a table with <BR> elements at the end of
each table cell, multi-column text will be readable
using a screen reader and Lynx, using pwWebSpeak, and always
using EmacsSpeak. But such a page would still not be readable
with IE or Netscape and a screen reader (at least not until
the screen readers support the DOM in the near future). So
are multicolumn textual tables inaccessible. The answer is
that it has nothing to do with multicolumn textual tables.

Somehow this guideline is in a group of it's own. And I
don't think it can practically be required especially since
consistent style sheet based positioning is not ubiquitous.

7.8. Alt-text doesn't wrap in tables

While this does have some utility, it goes against the
fundamental spirit of HTML -- that content is separate from
presentation and that ultimately different user-agents will
present markup differently -- it's not a authoring issue. 
ie 4.0 almost solves this problem (take a look at the overlaping alt
text on Microsoft's home page to see some cases where it
breaks down). I would recommend removing this guideline as it
is too complicated and fundamentally ineffective.

8.2. Lists of links have non-link printable chars between them

This one doesn't hurt, but once again, it's a browser/AT issue.
It doesn't belong as a recommended item.

Josh Krieger

Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
> 7.2. Tables are not used to arrange text documents in columns
> This is an author strategy.    Did you mean that things authors should
> do as a result of browser / AT issues should not be required or
> recommended?   But put in a different list?  If so, that is what we
> tried to do with the "interim" tag.
> 7.8. Alt-text doesn't wrap in tables used to position graphics
> Hmmmm.  This is an interesting one.   It is like 7.2 in that it is
> something an author has to look out for to accommodate brower and
> screen reader limitations.
> 8.2. Lists of links have non-link printable chars between them
> Again, this is something authors must do  to work with current browser
> and AT tech.
> So the last three fall into the category of things an author must do
> for now.   The top two do not I don't think.
> Are you saying we should pull the interim items out from the sections
> and make them something other than guideline items?  Or saying
> something else.
> (also pls check the latest version to see if it is better for any of
> your concerns.
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WD-WAI-PAGEAUTH.html
> it is better in a bunch of ways from the version you were looking at.
> Anyone else's thoughts on this?
> Gregg
Received on Thursday, 23 April 1998 08:52:17 UTC

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