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Re: Why are nested tables that bad

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 11:46:28 +1100
Cc: "'Matt May'" <mcmay@w3.org>, "'Jesper Tverskov'" <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: jim@jimthatcher.com
Message-Id: <9DE9F48E-2759-11D7-B233-000A95678F24@sidar.org>

On Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003, at 11:29 Australia/Melbourne, Jim Thatcher 

> By far the most important thing for this discussion is that nesting of
> layout tables has NO effect, per se, on accessibility. One has to check
> that the content linearizes correctly whether nested or not, but I 
> would
> bet nesting rarely causes a problem.

There are a couple of buggy browsers that don't handle deeply nested 
tables, but in general tables can be linearised even if nested. There 
are also systems that allow users to navigate tables properly, rather 
than losing the structure of them. So your tables need to be 
constructed to make sense - this is more important with data tables 
that have real structure than with layout tables where shuffling the 
pieces won't have much overall impact on understanding the site.

The effect is one of complicating the navigation, by requiring the user 
to hold a mental model that includes several layers of nesting as they 
navigate from item to item. This is worse if they have to change mental 
models for each page. Except in extreme cases it is only moderately 
annoying or imperceptible for most users.


Charles McCathieNevile           charles@sidar.org
Fundación SIDAR                       http://www.sidar.org
Received on Monday, 13 January 2003 19:48:11 UTC

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