W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > July to September 1999

Re: Fw: Checkpoint 3.3

Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 09:41:19 -0500
Message-Id: <s7932940.031@EEOC.GOV>
To: kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com
Cc: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>>> Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com> 07/16 7:37 PM >>>
Question:  Is the page with CSS instead of the HTML more accessible,
less accessible, or equally accessible?  Can you explain exactly
how the accessibility has been noticeably improved in this case?

That's actually a different question than the original one of how to meet the checkpoint. My comments were simply to point out that meeting the checkpoint was technically quite simple, and that the requirement to use CSS instead of HTML for control of layout was not a significant barrier to meeting Level AA compliance. 

In terms of accessibility, I don't think it makes any difference whatsoever - in this particular case. There are certainly many examples of inaccessible HTML that could be improved by turning to CSS instead, but this isn't one.

So, the question becomes - should this be a requirement? Strictly speaking, no. But it's a lot easier to tell people to use CSS for control of layout and presentation, than it is to say "use CSS, unless HTML can be used without compromising accessibility - which you'll have to figure out for yourself, on a case-by-case basis." It also helps to promote proper use of CSS - use it for the simple stuff and you're more likely to use it for more complex work.

It also means that when future versions of HTML drop certain elements entirely - moving FONT from deprecated to obsolete, for example - no revisions will be necessary to keep up with the standards.

If the guidelines are intended as simply a set of rules to promote accessibility, then this particular checkpoint, and several others as well, can be tossed out or at least significantly revised. But I think that part of the value of the guidelines is that they promote not only accessibility, but also proper use of HTML, CSS and other standard technologies. There seems to be a strong emphasis on forward-compatibility, which IMHO is a very good thing. Of course, backwards-compatibility is also critical, and in a situation where information would be lost by meeting all the checkpoints (e.g., my early concern about the Q element), then not implementing a checkpoint would be reasonable (and as was pointed out to me, specifically allowed by the guidelines themselves). That doesn't appear to be the case in the example provided.
Received on Monday, 19 July 1999 13:35:21 UTC

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