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Re: card4+

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 00:58:44 -0500 (EST)
To: Robert Neff <rneff@moon.jic.com>
cc: WAI EO <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>, US Mint - Robert Neff <Robert.Neff@usmint.treas.gov>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.04.9902010048350.26535-100000@tux.w3.org>
The purist answer to 'what about tables for navigation bars (as a side
column)' is pretty simple and concrete: 

pseudo-Guideline: Don't
Rational: see use of tables to format text in columns
Techniques: Use Frames (but pleaase use them properly with NOFRAMES - it
makes life much easier and improves the presentation of your site)

How does it improve the presentation?
Simple. I use Lynx as my first-line browser. I get to a site that says
"Your browser doesn't handle frames. You need a frames capable browser to
view this site."
I think to my self "aah, you poor fools. If only you knew." And I continue
on my way into the frames. It isn't pretty, it isn't friendly, and it
isn't necessary. But it isn't usually too difficult either (especially
with a navigation frame and a content frame) and it provides certain
benefits like the ability to bookmark pages which might be hidden within a
frameset. (Netscape provides this by the 'open frame in new window'

Some people say "well, you can use tables because it doesn't affect
many people, and it doesn't affect them very badly". Those things are
(more or less) true. In my mind this doesn't justify the standard
approach. 99% of the people might be right. Then again, they may not.
There are certain configurations in which the TABLE problem almost
vanishes. But as a general approach to control of layout, it is bad.

(and if I use a screen magnifier to double size on a 600x800 browser, a
450 table cell is quite likely going to be REALLY annoying...)

Charles' 2c worth

On Sun, 31 Jan 1999, Robert Neff wrote:

  >> In 9. we might find a shorter version of:
  >> Organize tabular data to make sense when read cell by cell.
  >> Perhaps:
  >> Make cell by cell reading of tabular data sensible.
  rob neff>I hate to be a stickler for redundant conversation on this.  How
  are we providing input to people who use tables that have two columns? The
  example I use is Table Width is 600 Pixels. Left column is 150 and contains
  navigation bars.  Right Column is 450 and uses the cell width to contain the
  When I discuss with people the need  to not use tables to format text, then
  the next question is what about tables with navigation bars.  Designers can
  understand not using tables to format tables, but what about navigation bars
  in HTML 3.2. As this is heavily used, these people need to be provided more
  concrete direction.
  Please note that I do not see "in HTML 4" as the appropriate answer,
  because, intranets and internets are using HTML 3.2 and some will not go to
  IE 4.  So I need to stress, HTML 3.2 is the bridge for at least another
  year.  If you need more proof, some government offices will not go to HTML
  because they do not have the disk space for all computers and some have
  security fears for IE 4.  Like it or not, this is the environment.
  On our just released redesign, I took out tables which also decreased
  download time, except for when the servers are slow - which is almost always
  at my former job <frown>
  Please note my new email address above and please copy me.  My company
  information is now -
  Robert Neff
  Intranet Project Manager, US Mint
  P.S.  The internet web site, www.usmint.gov, is not universally accessible
  and we will be starting a redesign soon to address these issues, but it
  takes time.

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://purl.oclc.org/net/charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Monday, 1 February 1999 00:58:48 UTC

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