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Re: FW: CSS positioning aint good enough?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 08:56:32 -0400 (EDT)
To: "Scarlett Julian (ED)" <Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk>
cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0204260852440.29422-100000@tux.w3.org>
Let me try again (I am not having a brilliant day here <sigh/>

We can use label elements and fieldset/legend to provide labels for some
stuff. But we can't use fieldset or label to cover a whole column of a table,
just a single cell (unless I have misread the spec). We can use table headers
to cover a column or row (or block of rows if necessary), if we can find out
what the headers and the labels are when we get to the button.

So for forms that really really are tabular, being able to do this (i.e.
having a screenreader that allowed you to get each table header, legend and
label associated with a form control in a table cell) would be extremely
useful.

It might be worth somebody investigating tablin code (it is W3C open source
software) to try and provide this function.

cheers

Chaals

On Fri, 26 Apr 2002, Scarlett Julian (ED) wrote:

  In response to this Chaals sent me a mail off-list which I have included
  below - it follows on from his last post to the thread.

  <quote>

  Well, the point is that there is an inherent tablarity in forms of this
  type,
  but that is not clearly supported by the markup available in HTML 4, unless
  we explicitly recognise table headings for a cell as being functionally
  equivalent to form control labels.

  If there is no reason not to do this, and the technology exists to find the
  table headers for form controls as well as the label or legend elements
  applicable then it would be possible to lay out tabular forms and get
  improved accessibility by being able to find out all the appropriate
  labelling information.

  cheers

  Chaals

  </quote>

  to which I replied:
  <snip>
  .. your argument seems to suggest that HTML4 markup is not sufficient and
  that the use of tables can add to the accessibility of forms of this type.
  If so, is there not a case for extending the markup available for forms so
  that those which obviously don't fit the tabular data model can be made more
  accessible. Also, I might be being slightly denser than usual this morning
  but if a form element has a label/legend explicitly associated with it how
  can associating a column header with the same element increase
  accessibility. Doesn't the label give the same information as the <tr>
  would?
  </snip>

  Apart from the obvious typo (<tr> instead of <th>)does anyone else feel that
  the association of table headers with form elements actually adds
  accessibility over and above that provided for by the use of labels and
  legends? If so could someone please explain to me what that added value
  would be? I'm not trying to be awkward here, I just want to understand.


  Julian

  -----Original Message-----
  From: RUST Randal [mailto:RRust@COVANSYS.com]
  Sent: Friday, April 26, 2002 1:30 PM
  To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
  Subject: RE: CSS positioning aint good enough?


  >re Nick's view that forms are tabular data. I'd be interested
  >in his (or
  >anyone else's) argument for this. IMHO forms are not tabular
  >data; never
  >have been and never will be.

  I recently asked this question, probably about 3 weeks ago.  Overwhelmingly,
  the answer was that forms are not tabular date, which is what I thought.

  Randal
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-- 
Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI  fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
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Received on Friday, 26 April 2002 08:56:35 GMT

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