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Re: Comments on PAGEAUTH 2.4: Lists

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Sun, 07 Mar 1999 10:13:52 -0500
Message-Id: <199903071510.KAA1710563@relay.interim.iamworld.net>
To: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, Gerald Oskoboiny <gerald@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
At 09:11 AM 3/7/99 -0500, Ian Jacobs wrote:
>Gerald Oskoboiny wrote:
>> But this doesn't seem like a good example of an ordered list at
>> all -- the items in these lists don't have a particular order to
>> them (green, purple, and mauve aren't in that order for any
>> particular reason.)
>> I suggest that this example be changed to use list items that
>> really ought to be ordered. (like giving instructions on how
>> to do something.)
>Yep, I agree.

There is more to this guideline than this exchange reveals.  I was shocked
when I first encountered this guideline, because the fact that lists give
the appearance of order to things that are semantically sets is one of my
hot buttons.  But there is a reason for it.  And it goes beyond just those
cases that are natural OL applications.

Numbering of list items is a navigation aid for someone using a screen
reader, which really treats the document as a sequence of lines.  Braille
formatting uses hierarchical numbering of sections and not indenting to
show structure for a similar reason.  So the guidelines need to expose this
issue.  There is benefit to ordinal marking of lists for navigation for
this group.  This is not a pure win-win deal; so the practice has to be
applied with a grain of salt.  But there is some motivation to use OL over
UL even when the underlying semantics indicate UL.

On the other hand, this particular example is so dysfunctional that we had
better come up with a better one if we want to pass the laugh test.  A long
single-level list would be a better idea.

Received on Sunday, 7 March 1999 10:10:49 UTC

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