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Re: role="presentation"

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 12 May 2015 09:54:42 +0100
Message-ID: <5551BFD2.2010507@splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
On 12/05/2015 09:30, Jesper Tverskov wrote:
> Hi list
> A couple of weeks ago this list advised me to use role=”presentation”
> in HTML table markup used for design.
> This is probably good advice most of the time but I have the feeling
> that this is sometimes flat wrong. We should be aware of the fact that
> accessibility always comes first. We should not be formalistic, and do
> things to live up to accessibility guidelines, when not doing so makes
> a web page more accessible.
> Conclusion: Never user role=”presentation” for formalistic reasons.
> Always consider what serves the user best. In the case of tables used
> for design, the table could have a secondary function of giving better
> structure to a page making it easier to understand and navigate by a
> screen reader.
> This will typically be the case, if the table, after all, is also a
> data table, because we have solid relationships expressed in it.
> Since I would like to include some of the above in my blog-like
> article, I would like to hear, if you agree, that we should always do
> what is the most accessible, not just follow guidelines in a
> formalistic manner.

You seem to be making some kind of assumption that there is ONE good 
solution to your situation. You also seem to be assuming that because a 
screen reader will announce a list or a table, that this is always going 
to be the preferred option for denoting your list of choices. Just 
because you think it's "nice"/"very, very nice", it doesn't make it so 
for all users, and saying that those who advocate the use of 
role="presentation" are somehow wrong or simply trying to be 
"formalistic" (whatever that means...I'm assuming you mean something 
along the lines of "trying to simply tick a box, rather than being 
concerned about real users") is a bit of a stretch.

Here's the harsh reality of accessibility: there are often multiple ways 
of solving a particular problem/situation. You can also ask 10 screen 
reader users what kind of structure they'd prefer for something, and get 
back 11 different answers. What matters, in the end, is whether you 
believe that you're not hindering users from interacting with your 
content/using your site, and whether your actual users agree or 
disagree. Accessibility isn't black/white, but 50 (or more) shades of gray.

Patrick H. Lauke

www.splintered.co.uk | https://github.com/patrickhlauke
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Received on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 08:55:05 UTC

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