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Re: Table used in place of list

From: William R Williams <wrwilliams@fs.fed.us>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 13:25:24 -0700
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF99E56720.949D5B12-ON88256EE0.006C2D1E-88256EE0.007030A7@notes.fs.fed.us>

I suspect this is really not a data table, but the use of the table element
for page layout. While this approach may violate certain checkpoints, it
can be more accurately cited as a poor design choice. Doesn't it seem
sensible to focus on the design choice rather than violations of

With my apologies for appearing arrogant, a 2-column layout can easily be
implemented with cross-browser compatibility through use of CSS


<style type="text/css" media="screen">
#container {
width: 100%;
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
#leftcol {
float: left;
width: 49%;
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
#rightcol {
float: right;
width: 49%;
margin: 0;
padding: 0;


<div id="container">
 <div id="leftcol">


 <div id="rightcol">

<ol start="6">


One may wish to tweak the CSS for their particular use, of course. Please
note the similarity between using div tags and table (td) elements.

I realize that some people may object to this observation or method, but --
hey - that's what makes this an informative list.


Bill Williams

             <sailesh.panchang                                          To 
             @deque.com>               <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>                 
             Sent by:                                                   cc 
             t@w3.org                                              Subject 
                                       Table used in place of list         
             07/29/2004 09:17                                              
             Please respond to                                             

I came across a two column table that  lists ten text items (actually FAQs)
numbered 1 through 10. Items 1 to 5 are in the first column and items 6
through 10 are in the second column. I regard this content as a an ordered
list that should be represented with ol and li tags in stead of in a table.
JAWS for instance reads the table items in this order: Item 1, item 6, item
2, item 7 and so on. Navigating it as a data table (with default reading
options) results in first row and first column  contents  being announced
as headers.
My question:  Which checkpoint(s) does this content violate?
The explanation following checkpoint 3.6 refers to misuse of lists.  But
does not mention failure to use a list  as a violation. How about 5.3? or
any other?
3.6 Mark up lists and list items properly.
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).

Sailesh Panchang
Senior Accessibility Engineer
Deque Systems,11180  Sunrise Valley Drive,
4th Floor, Reston VA 20191
Tel: 703-225-0380 Extension 105
E-mail: sailesh.panchang@deque.com
Fax: 703-225-0387
* Look up <http://www.deque.com> *
Received on Thursday, 29 July 2004 16:33:39 UTC

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