W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 1998

Re: The problem with tables

From: Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 08:34:54 -0500
Message-Id: <199807271335.IAA24302@staff2.cso.uiuc.edu>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>, Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Cc: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Thank you for your comments.  I agree that tables were not orginally
intended for page layout, but they have been coopted for that purpose.   I
don't think WAI should encourage the use of tables for layout, but I think
WAI should ignore the current practice in the use of tables for layout in
the development of guidelines.

At 11:38 AM 7/24/98 -0700, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>At 04:52 p.m. 07/24/98 +1000, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>>The alternative is to abandon the wholesale misuse of tables. My Doctor 
>>tells me not to smoke or live on a diet of beer, fish and chips and 
>>steak. My mechanic tells me not to drive my car as fast as it goes all 
>>the time. My accountant tells me not to spend all my money on beer, fish 
>>and chips, steak and car repairs.
>On the other hand, I sometimes ignore my doctor, if the steak looks
>really good, or if it's just more convenient to drive through
>McDonald's on the way home (or less expensive).
>I agree with you in principle -- and in fact, I've recently completely
>eliminated tables from my personal web page.  (See for example
>http://www.idyllmtn.com/~kynn/index.shm and contrast with oldindex.shm)
>However, I haven't taken this approach with the CGU site (where I'm
>the webmaster), with my clients' sites, or with the HTML Writers
>Guild site.  Why?  Simply because the method I used for getting rid
>of tables -- reliance on stylesheets -- is not supported by all
>browsers, and in fact, my web page looks like crap in Opera, which
>happens to be my browser of choice.
>I don't really care about my own "image" on the web; the funny purple
>bar and ugly award graphic won't be winning any awards any time soon.
>However, the other sites named -- CGU, HWG, and people who pay me to
>make web sites for them -- _must_ present a good image.  If I got
>rid of the tables, then the pages would be more accessible to a
>small number of people, but will look far worse for a larger group
>of the audience.
>As someone expected to maintain what is currently considered a
>"professional" and "sophisticated" appearance for those web sites,
>I just can't decide "well, this will only look good in MSIE 4 and
>in lynx" and design that way.  I would most likely lose my job,
>lose my clients, and cost the Guild its reputation.  Those are
>not good things.
>So for the time being, I'll continue to use tables for page
>layout, even though I know it's not good for me -- just because
>I don't really have much of a choice, at the present time.  The
>alternatives are simply not acceptable.  (And my apologies to
>those who can't access the information on the pages -- I try my
>best to make sure the tables are relatively harmless and degrade
>In summary:  We agree in principle, but in practice, I'm stuck
>with the tables.  Thanks for a good post, Charles.
>Kynn Bartlett <kynn@hwg.org>
>Vice President, Marketing and Outreach, HTML Writers Guild
>  http://www.hwg.org
Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Voice: 217-244-5870
Fax: 217-333-0248
E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu
WWW:	http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
Received on Monday, 27 July 1998 09:35:33 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:01 UTC