Re: WCAG Checkpoint 5.3

Thank you for your interesting interpretation.
However, i still have any questions.

WCAG1.0 Checkpoint 3.3 textually says:
"Use style sheets to control layout and presentation.
[Priority 2]"

Indeed it doesn't use words like "must" or "can't" but
I can't figure out how you can use layout tables when
you are already using style sheets for controlling

By the way, in 5.3 Note:
"Note: Once user agents support
style sheet positioning, tables should not be used for
Talking about CSS support, nowadays I think that
backwards compatibility problems with browsers aren´t
an accessibility problem but a design problem. Latest
browser versions all got an enough correct CSS2
support. I think we can't keep on delaying CSS2
implementations because Netscape 4.x doesn't look
fine. Netscape 4.x will never work, is that suggesting
that 5.3 Note will never be taken into account?

Pablo Enríquez.

From: "Phill Jenkins" <>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 12:25:21 -0500
Subject: Re: WCAG Checkpoint 5.3

Please be careful when quoting checkpoints and try to
include the URL to
the checkpoint you're quoting.

In WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 3.3 [see note 1] says it's a
priority 2 to use style
sheets, it doesn't say - must.
In my view it is not in conflict with WCAG 1.0
checkpoint 5.3 [see note 2]
which says do not use tables for layout, unless they
makes sense
linearized.  Many web sites do use tables for layout
because of backwards
compatibility problems with browsers and ATs.

However, the argument should not about using table or
CSS - the problem
occurs with either technique when the content doesn't
make sense when
linearized.  Screen readers render the content in a
serial fashion, so
whether using tables or CSS to make layout, the
reading order needs to make
sense.  Typically reading order is not as critical for
layout tables or CSS
positioning as it is in data tables because there are
no column or row
headings to worry about.

But I agree that there appears to be a conflict
because folks interpret 3.3
and 5.3 and add words like must, only, and always,
which were cleverly
omitted from the checkpoint wording to reach consensus
(my opinion cause I
was there).  For example, 3.3 neither says "must use
CSS" to achieve
priority 2, nor does it say "only use CSS",  nor does
it say "always use
CSS".  There is also a note in checkpoint 5.3 (see
note 2) that is part of
the normative wording of the checkpoints: "Note: Once
user agents support
style sheet positioning, tables should not be used for
layout." Notice the
missing words of only, always, and must, but the
presence of the word

So I again conclude that the accessibility requirement
here is not about
whether you are using CSS or tables as much as it
should be about making
the reading order make sense - something missing from
WCAG 1.0 checkpoint
3.3 - something that should be considered for an
ERRATA for  WCAG 1.0 so
that these debates can stop.

Note 1 WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 3.3
Note 2 WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 5.3

Also, when reading the 24 June 2003 public draft of
WCAG 2.0, this
principle seems to be somewhat buried to me.  Extended
Checkpoint 3.4 (see
note 3) talks about consistent and predictable layout,
but not
understandable layout. But Core Checkpoint 1.3 (see
note 4) does attempt to
address the concept in the informative example 1 about
multiple columns of
information.  However, the point of reading order
making sense when
presentation markup is removed is not explicitly
addressed - a comment for
the working group meeting next week..

Note 3 WCAG 2.0 public draft 24 June Checkpoint 3.4
Note 4 WCAG 2.0 public draft 24 June Checkpoint 1.3

Phill Jenkins
IBM Research Division - Accessibility Center
11501 Burnet Rd,  Austin TX  78758

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Received on Monday, 30 June 2003 03:48:02 UTC