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Re: HTML Table Markup

From: Chris Ridpath <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004 14:45:34 -0400
Message-ID: <028201c49766$5b0af680$b040968e@WILDDOG>
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

> What is the formal mechanism for achieving consensus?
>
Here's the policy:
http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Process/Process-19991111/background.html#Consensus

In practice, I think we just discuss on the list until the screaming stops.

> This leads us to the slippery slope of defining "small".
>
Proposal - a small data table has less than 4 rows and less than 4 columns.

Proposal still on the table - small data tables do not require header
markup.

We could include this exemption only for P1 compliance. For P2, all data
tables would require header markup.

Chris


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
To: "Chris Ridpath" <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 2:13 PM
Subject: RE: HTML Table Markup


> > This suggests that we could relax the TH rule to exclude small data
tables.
>
> This leads us to the slippery slope of defining "small".
> I first gave the 2x2 example of two names and two phone numbers.
> The consensus was:  Well, you don't need to add a header row for that.
> I then expanded this to a 3x2 example of names and numbers.
> Others expanded this to even 3x3 and concluded:  Well, you don't need to
add a header row for that.
> To which, I much respond:  How small is small?
> Does "small" reflect the number of data cells or structure?  (The
example[*] in the techniques document only has eight data cells.)
> Is it not really a matter of how simple the table is?
> How about 4x3?  If 3x3 is easy, it hardly seems like adding n-number of
rows makes the data table hard!
> This returns to the original example from the question posted to the Trace
508 list of n-rows of name, address, city, state, zip:  Nx5.  This is still,
I would argue, a very simple table, even though it is no longer small.  It
is also (per our discussion) reasonably accessible and the lack of a header
row is not a significant barrier.  The table would benefit from the addition
of a header row, but clearly this is more a usability issue.
>
> P1 guidelines address obstacles and not mere conveniences.
>
> Unfortunately, I have now worked us into more trouble as we have "very
simple" data tables and "regular simple" data tables (that really do need
header rows and columns, but don't have two or more logical levels of row or
column headers).
> Constructing a definition to discriminate between this "very simple" and
"regular simple" would be quite tough.
> If we only exempt "small" data tables, nothing is done to clarify
application of 5.1 to the specific example that prompted this thread!
>
> > Do small data tables require header markup (could be TH or other)?
>
> This question still leaves us parsing "small" and "require", and I don't
want to substitute "really simple" for "small"!  I think the question should
be:
>
> Is 5.1 meant to specify the addition of header columns or rows if said
would otherwise be absent?
>
> What is the formal mechanism for achieving consensus?  Maybe we need to
pursue that mode of resolution?
>
> > If we required header markup (TH or other) for small data tables would
> > that make them more accessible?
>
> Yes, small data tables become more accessible with row or column headers
(or at the very least, do not become less accessible).  "Really simple" data
tables would likewise benefit.  Requiring the _addition_ of row or column
headers would resolve some ambiguity and is not entirely unreasonable, but
it is more intrusive than any other P1 guideline.  That might be okay.
>
>
> * http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#identifying-table-rows-columns
Received on Friday, 10 September 2004 18:46:22 UTC

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