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RE: Can we really deprecate tables?

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 18:30:33 +0100 (BST)
To: "Dobson, James" <JDobson@rnib.org.uk>
cc: WAI Guidelines List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.980810180745.7525I-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
On Mon, 10 Aug 1998, Dobson, James wrote:

> Personally I would like to see an intermediary step to using CSS that states
> that tables like above this are acceptable, until a (large) majority of
> disabled users are using browsers that cope with the CSS specification
> fully. 

Excuse me, but I find this remark really baffling.

Please, why would disabled users have a particular need of a
CSS-capable browser in order to access the content of such a page?  I
was under the impression that the major motivation for using CSS
rather than TABLEs to achieve layout was so that the layout _didn't_
get in the way when people needed to access the content in an unusual
way.  And that can refer to unusual browsing situations (a car driver
listening to a web page, for example, or when using a tiny
palmtop/cellphone browser) just as much as it can refer to - in this
instance - visually impaired readers.

In other words, the CSS can provide optional presentational
enhancements - for those browsing situations where it's a benefit, but
when push comes to shove, the CSS can be turned off and the content is
still all there, in a logical arrangement.

Whereas, browsing pages that use TABLEs for layout can end up
displaying apparently random segments of taxt scattered around in no
obvious order, when the browsing situation is inappropriate.  Surely
we've all met such pages at one time or another? 

In short, I thought that the reason that people wanted to delay using
CSS was the current lack of widespread availability of CSS to the
_mainstream_ browsing situations - those situations where doing layout
with TABLEs is currently giving quite a good impression of working, in
fact. So I found your answer really very surprising, and I would like
to understand better the reason for it.

best regards
Received on Monday, 10 August 1998 13:30:17 UTC

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