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Re: screen resolution

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 09:12:15 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 12:11 AM 7/10/2001 , David Woolley wrote:
> > What else can be done, and any oter advantages or disadvantages with above 2?
>Avoid tables for layout.

At 04:15 AM 7/10/2001 , Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>I assume for the minute that you are doing layout with tables. I think
>this is a bad thing in principle, but in your client's case they may leave
>you no choice.

This advice, though, is really orthogonal to the question, which was
"what is the best way to deal with columns?"  The exact mechanism used
(tables, CSS, whatever) is really less important than the question of
"what's the best way to lay out columns to make them more accessible?"

It's a difficult question and there's not really a good answer. 
Neither tables nor CSS provide for arbitrary columns which split
according to the browser's decision; you have to decide what your
columns will be and -where- they will split.

This introduces problems because you don't know how wide they
should be made, nor how long.  All the designer can do is take a
wild guess and hope for the best.

Proportional sizes for widths (and heights) will only solve this
problem if the whole thing -- including font sizes -- is built to
percentages and ems.  This would be regarded as a bizarre
non-solution by most designers, as it means that you ignore any
benefits the user stands to gain by having a larger monitor or
display resolution.

The problem ultimately is the simple fact that there's no way
to encode the principle of "let the browser do the right thing
with the columns" into HTML or CSS, because the support isn't there
in HTML or CSS for columnar layout.  One work-around is to use
Javascript to manipulate the layout, but of course that doesn't
work all that well cross-browser nor when javascript is not

Another approach is tweak the layout on the server.  This might
work, but is always iffy; until we get more browser support for
something like CC/PP, and more experience understanding how to
adapt user experiences, it's hard to know what the "right" way
to do this tweaking is.  (And as Alok says, this introduces
greater development costs.)

I chalk up "how do you make both the font size and the line
width more readable?" as an as-yet-unsolved problem currently.
I don't believe there's a good solution which addresses both
concerns adequately.

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Tel +1 949-567-7006
Received on Tuesday, 10 July 2001 12:14:58 UTC

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