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Generalising guidelines (was RE: Murky ratings

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 14:24:39 +1000 (AEST)
To: WAI Markup Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.980506141516.24305A-100000@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
At the WWW7 conference, there was some discussion of the need to
generalise the guidelines by abstracting the principles of universal
design from their specific HTML implementation, and then providing
examples in HTML/CSS, XML, etc. The consensus seemed to be that such an
effort would be appropriate in the design of the second version of the
authoring guidelines. It seems that such a plan would accommodate Sean's
suggestions. It will be interesting to notice how quickly XML is actually
adopted by web site designers. I would be sceptical of a solution that
relies on client-side scripts, since many people with disabilities are
likely to be depending upon Lynx, the W3 browser within Emacs or another
text-based solution which does not support client-side scripts.

The best solution is to use CSS positioning instead of tables to prescribe
the visual appearance of a document. With CSS 2 now at the proposed
recommendation stage, and with positioning features having been available
in draft form since last year, it is to be hoped that software
implementors will soon be able to provide support for it, thereby
relieving authors of the temptation to abuse table markup, at least once
the new browsers are adopted by the public.

As to the issue of convincing site developers to follow the guidelines,
this problem is being most ably addressed by the WAI International
Programme Office.

I remain convinced that the prohibition against the abuse of tables for
columnar layout purposes should remain, as a required (or paramount) item
in the guidelines.
Received on Wednesday, 6 May 1998 00:24:54 UTC

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