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Re: [css3-multicol] accessibility and UX

From: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 19:30:51 +0200
Message-ID: <19647.10059.604707.733288@gargle.gargle.HOWL>
To: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
Cc: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Also sprach Daniel Glazman:

 > I think we have a light problem with columns as they are specified in
 > CSS. In case the height of a multicolumned element is higher than the
 > height of the viewport, the user experience becomes awful because when
 > you reach the bottom of a column, you must use the pointer to scroll
 > back to the top of the next column. In terms of accessibility, some
 > people just cannot scroll like you and me, so that's a huge issue
 > we should probably address.

I'm not sure the spec should try handle it. Tables impose the same
problem: if a table cell is higher than the viewport, the user may
have to scroll up and down to read the first cell, before moving on to
the second cell in the row.

In fact, multicol offer a way out of the table problem. By setting
sensible numbers on column-width (say, 20em), there will often only be
one column on small screens (where the accessibility problem would
otherwise appear). If the author uses tables, the problem remains.

 > Adding an informative note to the spec saying "warning, a columned
 > element higher than the viewport poses accessibility issues" is a
 > strict minimum here but, again, given the wide variety of viewports
 > we have around us, I'm not sure it's enough. I have a strong preference
 > for a solution allowing users to deal with columned content IF the
 > issue appears...

We could possibly add a note explaining the problem and encourage
people to test their content on many types of screens.

              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
howcome@opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcome
Received on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 17:31:36 UTC

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