W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 2000

Re: Politics: Strict Guidelines Considered Harmful

From: Steven McCaffrey <SMCCAFFR@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 11:45:13 -0500
Message-Id: <sa3b55d3.041@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
To: <marti@agassa.com>, <kynn@idyllmtn.com>, <jim@jimthatcher.com>, <chas@munat.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hello all:

    Thanks, Marty, exactly the same sections I was going to excerpt.
I think the bottom line in all things accessible, is to try your best to limit accessibility barriers, follow the guidelines as strictly as you can, and, most importtantly, validate with real human users.  Automated tools and compliance claims are great, but what is the real impact of your design?
Just one small example.  Still my screen reader, now version 3.31 of JFW does not render the "Cups of Coffee..." table example as coded.  It is interesting to note that it says there that screen readers "might" render the table as indicated.  As far as I know, no existing screen reader does.  Would I prefer designers not to mark up tables as indicated there?  No, because I hope someday all screen readers will render properly marked up tables as indicated.  I guess this is more of a call to screen reader developers to improve there rendering of properly marked up tables.
Does anyone have a screen reader that renders the table as indicated?
Another minor aside, when I bring the Coffee table example into MS Word, it makes much more sense because it happens, thanks to HJ, they have included excellent table reading in Word tables.
So, even though IE 5.0/JFW 3.31 (not the latest version I know, but remember backwards compatibility) does not render tables the way I would like, I still would like designers to become familiar with proper structural markup, if only to become more clear about the difference between structure and presentation, which is, I would say, the main point for accessibility.   Although... one must be careful about this distinction.
For a non-reader (picking up on another thread), an icon or picture is not "presentation", but rather "content" since it "says" (i.e. conveys meaning) to the visitor.  One person's presentation is another's content?  The way around this possible dilemma is the "serves the same purpose" test coverred very well in the guidelines.
That's my 2 cents.


Steve McCaffrey
Senior Programmer/Analyst
Information Technology Services
New York State Department of Education
New York State Workgroup on Accessibility to Information Technology 
Web Design Subcommittee 

>>> "Marti" <marti@agassa.com> 12/16/00 09:58AM >>>
Whew! Given the temperature of this rhetoric, it really could be a political

(3.3)"Use style sheets to control layout and presentation" is certainly a
clear statement,  I can't help but wonder how you square it with
(11.1)"Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a
task and use the latest versions when supported."
Suppose, for a moment, that I was somehow able to create pages based purely
on CSS for layout and presentation such that they looked 'right' in the
latest versions of IE and NN.  Further, by some miracle they are ok without
CSS too!  Now, what am I supposed to do about all those 'partial'
implementations of CSS?
From the legal standpoint it appears,to me, that you could drive the
proverbial truck through the loophole(s) in 11.1.
Can any checkpoint be read as a stand alone element, or should they be
viewed in the larger context of the whole document?
Received on Saturday, 16 December 2000 11:47:38 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:10 UTC