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RE: Tables or CSS for forms?

From: Patrick Lauke <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 16:36:51 +0100
Message-ID: <3A1D23A330416E4FADC5B6C08CC252B9FD6D65@misnts16.mis.salford.ac.uk>
To: "WAI Interest Group" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

> Laura Carlson

> 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.

One possible problem with marking it up as a data table: screen readers
often have different modes for the navigation of tables and the navigation
of forms. If you provide information in a mix of data table markup and
form markup, users may miss one or the other.

> 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.

Very true...complex forms purely laid out via CSS can be a pain to
create. To play devil's advocate: if your form is so complex and relies
so heavily on a very specific visual layout, it may be worth considering
splitting it up into more manageable chunks.
As for older browsers: if it's sensibly marked up in terms of structure,
the form may not look pretty but should still make sense, to a certain
extent...but of course, it depends very much on the type of form you're
trying to mark up.

> Your thoughts?

Rambling as always...*smile*

Patrick H. Lauke
Webmaster / University of Salford
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Monday, 26 September 2005 15:33:24 UTC

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