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Re: Can we really deprecate tables?

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 13:45:41 +1000 (AEST)
To: WAI Markup Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.980806132436.27991B-100000@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
In completely endorsing Nir's remarks, I would add that there appears to
be some confusion within the working group as to the various purposes to
be served by the guidelines, and which should take priority. Some people
are evidently of the opinion that the guidelines ought primarily to offer
strategies and approaches which can be implemented today as an emergency
measure to alleviate the highest and most seemingly impregnable
accessibility barriers, to stretch the metaphor. Others recognise that the
aim of universal access can only be achieved through fundamental change in
the strategies used in the design of web-based content. Nir is correct in
maintaining that this longer term and more profound transformation can in
general be pursued by the guidelines, simultaneously with more immediate
objectives. However, where there is inconsistency between the two, and
where, for this reason, an interim technique is incompatible with the
attainment of more important, long term accessibility improvements, then
the former must yield to the latter. However, as the discussion of tables
in the current version of the document indicates, direct conflict between
the twin purposes of the guidelines can usually be avoided by providing
further explanations which enable designers to choose between different
approaches as the underlying software evolves.

What is most needed in this field is a stable set of software tools and
data formats which together provide a lasting technology whereby documents
and interactive web-based content can be created, exchanged, represented
different media, searched as a data base, translated into various
languages, and manipulated in whatever manner the user deems desirable,
with a minimum of cost and effort. This implies both interoperability and
accessibility as essential attributes of the required technical standards,
and it is these which the W3C strives to achieve.
Received on Wednesday, 5 August 1998 23:45:24 GMT

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