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RE: Review UA Guidelines 5.4 Tables

From: Denis Anson <danson@miseri.edu>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 11:10:34 -0500
To: "Jon Gunderson" <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>, "Harvey Bingham" <hbingham@ACM.org>, <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>

While it is certainly true that some data tables use TH cells, I don't think
that we should suggest that any table without TH is a layout table, which
this wording seems to imply.  We might want to say something like "Data
tables may have distinct TH and TD cells..."  As I recall, TH cells are new
to HTML 4.0, and many designers are using the conventions of 3.2 as

Denis Anson

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ua-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ua-request@w3.org]On Behalf
Of Jon Gunderson
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 9:41 AM
To: Harvey Bingham; w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Subject: Re: Review UA Guidelines 5.4 Tables

Thank you for your comments Harvey,

At 02:22 AM 2/24/99 -0500, Harvey Bingham wrote:
>5.4 Ensure that tables are accessible
>[Rather than the first paragraph jumping into complex tables, I'd start
>the distinction layout table vs data tables.]
>Tables are used to organize data, and in HTML have been used to layout
>pages where the parts of the table are unrelated.
>Data tables have distinct TH head cells and TD data cells. The TD cell
>content gains gain implicit identification from TH cells in the same
>column and/or row.
>Tables are also used to achieve limited control over two-dimensional layout
>of information otherwise unrelated. For these layout tables, a user agent
>can assist the reader by indicating that no relationship should be
>Use of TH cells just for their formatting purpose in layout tables is
>discouraged, as those TH cells imply that some TD cells should gain meaning
>from the TH cell content.
>5.4.2. Provide access to header information for a given cell.
>Suggest that the user may choose the form and amount of this
>information, possibly announcing the row heads only once and then
>the column head or its abbreviation abbr="..." to announce the TD content.
>5.4.3 [Priority 1]
>Allow the user to navigate among tables in a document.
>I question the need to navigate among tables, "table-tabbing". Most
>tables stand alone. I certainly doubt it is Priority 1.
>If an author feels it is important to link the tables, that author
>should provides a list of tables (LOT) with hyperlinks to the tables.
>If such is present, then the table order is deemed significant for the
>reader, and that list should suffice. I believe there is no need for a
>user agent to facilitate this. If the author is concerned, an
><a href="..." rev="LOT">...</a> pointing back to the list of tables
>should suffice.
>5.4.4 Allow the user to navigate among table cells of a table (notably
>left/right within a row and up/down within a column).
>Navigation must maintain cognizance of encountered cells with
>implicit content resulting from spans.
>That assumes that the table writing direction is left-to-right.
>The natural language of the table may cause the table to have dir="rtl",
>right-to-left for order of the cells in a row (and order of letters in
>a word, and words in a phrase.) Any row stub TH cells will by
>default be on the right, rather than on the left. The colspan horizontal
>spanning direction is leftward, so the right-most cell contains
>the content. That content is not repeated in cells to its left.
>That can get further obscured if the writing directions change row-to-row,
>say to allow boustrophedon writing (as the oxen plow)!
>Regards/Harvey Bingham
Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Voice: 217-244-5870
Fax: 217-333-0248
E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu
WWW:    http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
Received on Wednesday, 24 February 1999 11:11:38 UTC

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