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Tables or CSS for forms?

From: Laura Carlson <lcarlson@d.umn.edu>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 10:03:11 -0500
To: "'WAI Interest Group'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <2147483647.1127728991@lcarslon.d.umn.edu>

With all the talk of layout tables, what are your thoughts on best 
practices for "laying out" a form?

You can make a simple accessible form without a table or CSS. But for 
more complex forms would you use a table or CSS? Besides using good 
accessible markup specifically for forms like label/for/id, 
fieldset/legend, optgroup etc, etc. what is the best way to go?

Using tables for forms adds to the size of a page. But overall, they 
are better supported, browser-wise, than CSS positioning. It is fairly 
easy to layout a form with a table.

_If_ you did construct a form with a table would you:

A. Consider it a data table and use structural table mark up?
B. Consider it a layout table and not use structural data table markup 
and have it make sense when linearized.

The advantage of CSS is it gives a wide range of options for 
controlling the various elements in a form. The disadvantage to using 
CSS positioning is that for newbies it has a definite learning curve 
and unequal support by older browsers. You can achieve 'table like' 
results by floating elements with CSS, but it's a lot more involved. If 
you're a CSS guru it's all part of the fun. But for others it can be 
incredibly frustrating.

Your thoughts?

Laura L. Carlson
Information Technology Systems and Services
University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth, MN  55812-3009
Received on Monday, 26 September 2005 15:08:13 UTC

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