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RE: Is this complex table properly coded?

From: RUST Randal <RRust@COVANSYS.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 07:54:33 -0500
Message-ID: <1A729C6059E7CD4CA1DFE3985E600421142EDA@fth-ex02.CVNS.corp.covansys.com>
To: "'Jukka Korpela'" <jukka.korpela@tieke.fi>, "WAI (w3c-wai-ig@w3.org)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Jukka Korpela said:

> Me too. But sometimes we cannot; sometimes a fairly complex 
> table is the most feasible way to present complex technical 
> information.

Most often I find that a complex table is the result of laziness.

> for accessibility. One reason to this is that accessibility 
> features for tables are the most confusing thing in HTML 
> markup related to accessibility. When experts are confused, I 
> can't really expect novices to learn to use the complicated 
> constructs easily; and using them _wrong_ way is probably 
> worse than not using them at all.

Oh good, so it's not just me.

> As far I can see, your usage is correct: you use ID for
> the TH elements and list (as a space-separated list) in a 
> HEADERS attribute in a TD element all the heading cells (TH 
> elements) that apply to the current cell.

OK, that's good.  I haven't found any really comprehensive documentation
about how all of the attributes are meant to be used.  And when I look at
the table in Opera's author mode (which can linearize tables), I can't tell
if the attributes really *work* or not.

> However, the example is not very good in the sense that there 
> is little reason to use two levels of header cells.

Agreed.  I was just trying to throw somethign together quickly.  Which is
what most people do when they design a table.  Most people being the ones
who don't take accessibility into account:)
 
> I would also recommend using SCOPE in any case. There might
> be user agents that recognize SCOPE but not HEADERS and ID. 
> Besides, SCOPE is a logical thing to use. 

Agreed.  I think that the proper approach is to create the table in a manner
that allows for only the scope attribute to be used.

> As regards to other issues in the markup (I'm interpreting 
> the question in the Subject line as a broad one):
> 
> > <table border="1" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" rules="rows" 
> > summary="Popular movies, the director, star and co-star."

I just threw that in there to have a summary.

> > width="100%">
> 
> This, especially when combined with the width attributes for 
> the cells, reduces flexibility. This is a general design 
> issue rather than accessibility, but I cannot help noticing 
> that even in fullscreen mode, my IE shows the name "Harrison 
> Ford" as divided into two lines in the last column, when I 
> test your example. And such splits may have some impact on 
> accessibility. 

I use those attributes along with CSS to speed up table rendering.  The
point is well taken though about the name being on two lines.

As always, thanks for the feedback, Jukka.

Randal
Received on Tuesday, 3 December 2002 07:55:09 GMT

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