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RE: Question on WAI Accessibility Guidelines

From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 21:37:32 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Cc: Leslie Brogger <leslie.brogger@born.com>
At 06:13 PM 03/06/98 -0700, Charles (Chuck) Oppermann wrote:
>To me, the real question is "As author, am I trying to impart a particular
>look and feel, or am I trying to structure my HTML-based documents?"  If
>look and feel, use presentation elements like <B>, or better yet, use
>CSS-equivalents.  If structure, use the appropriate structure tags.

For optimum accessibility, structural elements should always be used.  If
the author wishes to impart a particular look and feel, then CSS easily
hooks into a well-structured document, providing the author more
flexibility if he or she decides that all those B elements should actually
have been I elements.

If the author is concerned about the bland look that old browsers like
Netscape 3.x will give to the CSS-styled document, then supplementing the
structural elements with presentation elements can be relatively harmless
in terms of accessibility, though it does reduce the flexibility of the
author and user to change the presentation.

An example of safely combining structural and presentation elements is the

<H1 align="center"><I>Heading</I></H1>

You could also include the FONT element,

<H1 align="center"><FONT color="red" face="Verdana"><I>Heading</I></FONT></H1>

but I would not for accessibility and usability reasons explained at

Liam Quinn
Received on Wednesday, 3 June 1998 21:37:20 UTC

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