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compliance and layout tables revisited

From: Michelle Podd <mpodd@iqnetcom.com>
Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 12:26:15 -0400
Message-ID: <00d801c1f5e3$e95c82e0$6600a8c6@iqnetcom.local>
To: "WAI \(E-mail\)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I've been reading the "compliance and html validation" thread with interest as I've had similar questions.

The people involved in the discussion seemed to have settled on the fact that if you use tables for layout, your page cannot meet Priority 2 WAI standards. Is that correct?

This is a snippet from the 1.0 Guidelines: <snippet>

11 Layout, positioning, layering, and alignment
Checkpoints in this section:

  a.. 3.3 Use style sheets to control layout and presentation. [Priority 2] 
  b.. 5.3 Do not use tables for layout unless the table makes sense when linearized. Otherwise, if the table does not make sense, provide an alternative equivalent (which may be a linearized version). [Priority 2] . 
Layout, positioning, layering, and alignment should be done through style sheets (notably by using CSS floats and absolute positioning): ...


It seems as if checkpoint 5.3 is saying you can use layout tables. For instance, if I use layout tables for a form where I have 2 columns (the left holds the field name and the right holds the form control), that would make sense when linearized.  If I have a nav bar that goes horizontally across the top of my web page made up of a table with several images in it, that would make sense when linearized.

Are these two points contradictory? Is it true that if I don't only use CSS to layout my page that I can't say my page conforms to Priority 2 requirements?

Denise also brought up another question related to html validation that I'd like to clarify. My particular problem is that I am using a graphical image as a button in a form. Here is the code:

<input TYPE="Image" SRC="images/buttons/update.gif" border="0" VALUE="Update Basket" ALT="if you changed a quantity, Update Basket">

border="0" doesn't validate for the html 4.01 transitional doctype (the most lenient) on the input tag yet if I take it out, a border shows up around the image in some browsers.

Joe's answer to that was (and thanks Joe, as you were the only one to provide an answer):

"Your only choice is to use a browser fork and serve different HTML
to different browsers, only some of which will validate."

That seems very extreme to get rid of an image border. My question is, if there really is no other way to remove the border and still validate, how far do we, as web developers have to go to be able to say our sites meet certain accessibility standards? Does the border element in an input tag make my site (or that particular part of the page) inaccessible? No, it doesn't. I'd love to have all the little icons on my site that tell people we've made efforts to provide an accessible website however I can't see serving up different pages for different browsers for things that don't make any difference to the accessibility of my page anyway. Any thoughts or other solutions to the validation problem?

partially asking and partially venting,

Michelle Podd, Web Designer
Received on Tuesday, 7 May 2002 12:25:51 UTC

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