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Re: Checkpoint 3.6: Big Hurdle for Double-AA/Triple-AAA Compliance

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 11:37:50 +1000 (AEST)
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.990708112100.13589A-100000@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
It is easy to read absurdities into the guidelines by considering
individual checkpoints in abstraction from their context in the document
as a whole. However, this is not an appropriate strategy of
interpretation. I do not wish to imply that anyone has been
misinterpreting the text deliberately. Rather, I would suggest that the
tendency to concentrate on each checkpoint in isolation, for the purpose
of judging compliance, naturally leads to the overlooking of important
contextual details.

Thus, if checkpoint 5.4 is read together with checkpoint 5.3, then it is
clear that the uses of structural markup to create visual effects, against
which 5.4 is directed, do not include the employment of tables for layout
purposes as such, but comprise only the making of certain markup
distinctions (such as between TH and TD elements) which imply structure,
in cases where the author's intention is to force certain visual effects.
The example in checkpoint 5.4 makes this clear.

Similarly, checkpoints 5.3 and 3.3 can be read consistently with each
other. Indeed, the note accompanying checkpoint 5.3 makes it clear that
the use of tables for layout is a short-term exception to the requirement
specified in checkpoint 3.3 that style sheets be used to control layout
and presentation.

No doubt, one could attempt to rewrite the guidelines so as to make all of
the interrelationships among checkpoints explicit. The question to be
considered, however, is whether the added complexity which would thus be
introduced, is warranted, and whether there are significant and genuine
ambiguities that need to be addressed. The role of the "techniques
document" in clarifying the guidelines is also relevant, in that it
provides more detailed discussion of the requirements which are succinctly
expressed in the latter text.

Please note that all opinions expressed in this message are mine alone and
do not purport to reflect any discussion or consensus which may or may not
have emerged in the Web Content Guidelines working group.
Received on Wednesday, 7 July 1999 21:37:56 UTC

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