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Re: Proposed change to checkpoint 5.3

From: Chuck Letourneau <cpl@starlingweb.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 11:16:17 -0400
Message-Id: <4.1.19990415105309.00977e70@host.igs.net>
To: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Checkpoint 5.3 is like the world's religions... everybody's view is the
correct view.  I must consider myself an agnostic, sitting on the fence.  I
think Ian is very close with his proposal. I agree with Eric's sentiment,
but not strongly enough to have 5.3 removed entirely.  I agree with Jason's
sentiment, but not strongly enough to enjoin people from using tables for
layout in all cases. 

So, here is my two cents on rewording:

"If tables are used for layout (i.e you cannot yet achieve the same design
using style sheets - see Guideline/checkpoint whatever) then design all
layout tables so that the content is presented logically when the table is
     Priority 1.

And by all means, add a note as per Jason's and Eric's comments: "using
tables for layout is wrong, and here's why... "

Perhaps Checkpoint 10.3, which as Eric points out is similar in intent,
could be combined with a reworded 5.3.  However, I think the caution or
reminder of the difficulties caused by tables used for layout (as distinct
from the specific case of columns of text) should remain in the checkpoints.

At 13/04/99 10:54 PM , you wrote:
>In the Proposed Recommendation, checkpoint 5.3
>(priority 2) reads "Avoid using tables for layout."
>During the teleconference today, we discussed this
>enigmatic checkpoint and its priority. The discussion
>began as I recounted how, when analyzing the accessibility
>of the W3C home page, I (and some other W3C Team members)
>felt as though the page was still accessible despite featuring
>a layout table. The W3C home page is designed so that it
>still makes sense when table markup is ignored (e.g., by Lynx).
>Checkpoint 5.3 as written today means that if you use 
>any table for layout, your page or site cannot conform 
>to the Double-A level. And yet, the W3C home page does 
>not seem like it poses significant barriers to accessibility.
>I would like to propose the following rewrite of the checkpoint:
>5.3: Design all layout tables so that the content
>     is presented logically when the table is linearized. 
>     Priority 1.
>This checkpoint then resembles checkpoint 6.1, which reads:
>     6.1 Organize content logically using appropriate 
>         structural markup so the organization remains clear
>         even when associated style sheets are turned off 
>         or are not supported. 
>Linearization will be discussed in the techniques.
>Some will argue that using a table for layout is a misuse
>of markup and I agree with them. We must emphasize style sheets
>as the right way to lay out pages. This proposal will not
>please purists, who have strong arguments for ensuring
>that tables be used only for tabular data. Jason White has
>successfully argued that BLOCKQUOTE not be used to
>indent text as this misuse confuses some tools. The same
>reasoning could be applied in this case, and that would be
>a strong argument for keeping the current checkpoint
>However, if there are ways to use tables that 
>"transform gracefully" (and that obey other checkpoints)
>AND if readily available technologies can linearize those tables 
>(as Lynx does), then please consider this proposal.
>Thank you,
> - Ian
>[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-19990324 
>Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org) 
>Tel/Fax: (212) 684-1814 

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Received on Thursday, 15 April 1999 11:16:02 UTC

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