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RE: linearized tables

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 13:32:57 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
More on linearized tables...

The access board's proposed regulations for section 508


do not require that tables used for layout make sense when linearized. This 
is presumably because requirement (5.3) was a priority 2, and the board 
decided to generally go with priority 1 only.  I personally think this 
should be a priority 1 requirement, since a page can become unusable if 
this requirement isn't enforced.

As we left this discussion last month there was support for upgrading this 
requirement to priority 1, but as I read the thread there didn't seem to be 
a final consensus.   I think it would be useful to reach consensus on this 
particular issue soon since the comment deadline is at the end of the month.

Even if the WAI per se doesn't take stands on regulations, it would help 
inform comments that people make outside of WAI, especially if the 
consensus is to upgrade this to priority 1.

Another issue is that the proposed regulations require that

"Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data 
tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers."

This is indeed a Priority 1 in the guidelines (checkpoint 5.2).  However, 
for the simple, common case of nested headings along the top and left side 
of a table, no additional markup is needed since HTML 4 provides an 
algorithm http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/tables.html#h-11.4.3 which 
identifies the proper headers. So I'd like to allow an exception for this 
case, because
- in general, we're best off asking only for what is really needed
- Someone else is bound to notice the same thing and point out that we're 
asking for something that's not needed, thereby opening the guidelines to 
attack--e.g. court.

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Temple University
423 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122


(215) 204-2247 (voice)
(800) 750-7428 (TTY) 
Received on Monday, 17 April 2000 13:41:21 UTC

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