Remarks on Checkpoints

I've been cheching the checkpoints, and would like to 
make a few points.

"A.5.2 Use foreground and background color combinations that 
 provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone with color 
 deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen. [Priority 1]"

This in my view should apply only to raster images (e.g., GIF, JPEG) 
and to deprecated HTML methods, (attibitues of BODY, FONT). When style 
sheets are used for colors, colorblind people or users of monochrome
screens can (and should due to their special circumtances) override all 
authors colors.

"A.9.4 For pages that use style sheets, ensure that the contents of 
 each page are ordered and structured so that they may read in the 
 intended order even when the style sheet is not used. [Priority 1]"

This should be extended:
"For pages that use style sheets or presentational markup, ensure that 
the contents of each page are ordered and structured so that they may 
read properly even when the style sheet and presentational 
markup is oveeriden by the user. [Priority 1]"

(note that I also replaced "intended order" with "properly" as I want to 
exclude using <FONT size=6> instead of <H1>).

"A.6.5 Use relative sizing and positioning (e.g., percent values) 
 rather than absolute (e.g., pixel or point values). [Priority 2]"

Why is relative (with respect to containing element) better than 
absolute (with respect to view port) positioning?

I would replace the checkpoint with: Don't use absolute font size.

"A.1.3 For all image map links, provide alternative text for 
each link (e.g., via the "alt" attribute of HTML AREA element). 
[Priority 1]" 

This is confusing as there is no need for alternative if the content 
of MAP is a paragraph with anchors. I propose:
"For all image map links created with the AREA element, provide 
alternative text for each link via the "alt" attribute. 
[Priority 1]" 

"A.8.1 If a table is used for layout, do not use any structural 
 markup for the purpose of visual formatting..."

This is a contradiction as TABLE itself is structural.
Should be "If an HTML table is used for layout, use only TD 
 to mark the table's cells."

"A.13.5 Until user agents and screen readers are able to handle text 
 presented side-by-side, all tables that lay out text in parallel, 
 word-wrapped columns require a linear text alternative (on the 
 current page or some other). [Priority 2]" 

This is a very dangereous checkpoint since it 
encourages authors to use frames, that are an inter-media usability
hazard, as opposed to tables that can be serialized (or linearized)
easily. People who have "problematic" screen readers can get a browser 
that serializes tables (Lynx or Opera), then the problem is gone.
(I think we should have also user guidelines, telling people
 how to choose a browser and configure the preferences)  

"A.13.4 For all form controls with implicitly associated labels, 
 ensure that the label is properly positioned...."

It is not clear to me whether this applies to LABEL elements 
that have the INPUT as content without the "for" and "id" 
and/or to input elements that have no LABEL element at all.
"B.1.5 Create a hierarchy of long lists of choices (e.g., 
 with the HTML OPTGROUP element). [Priority 2]" 

Should be "Divide long lists of choices into groups 
(e.g., with the HTML OPTGROUP element). [Priority 2]"   
(this is because OPTGROUP can't be nested and create a hierarchy)

"A.13.2 Include default, place-holding characters in edit boxes 
 and text areas (e.g., TEXTAREA and INPUT in HTML). [Priority 3]" 

This is usability reducing for most users. I think that using LABEL
as well as putting the labeling text before each input should be enough.


Nir Dagan
Assistant Professor of Economics
Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Ramon Trias Fargas 25
08005 Barcelona

"There is nothing quite so practical as a good theory." 
-- A. Einstein

Received on Wednesday, 6 January 1999 15:37:42 UTC