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Re: How Much Of A Problem Are Tables Used for Design?

From: Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 08:58:32 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: tvraman@us.ibm.com
Cc: tvraman@explorer.almaden.ibm.com, "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@concentric.net>, WAI Interest Group Emailing List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, User Agent Guidelines Emailing List <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
I'm not arguing against the points you or Gregory have made.  However, it
has been my personal experience that the majority of sites that use tables
for layout are readable with a variety of browsing strategies used by
people who are blind.  I guess if I have to do a bit of moving up or down a
line to figure context when I'm unfamiliar with a page I don't find that
such a horrific thing.  When combined with the reality that the vast vast
majority of web sites use table commands for layout I think trying to
change such behavior will be a losing battle from the start.

I don't know of any method that is going to quickly tell me the context of
a single word searched for on a web site.  I mean I could bring up any
page, type in a search term and find it.  I'd still have to do a bit of
exploring to discover the context of that word.

At 08:47 AM 11/17/99 -0800, T. V. Raman wrote:
>as an example of what I mean look at the following lines
>extracted from your message:
>Science & Space...
>Now, when you land on "audio books"
>--how do you know that that's children's audio books 
>without feeling around the screen?
>For instance say you search for occurrences of "audio books" 
>on the page--
>you hit the string "audio books"
>multiple times,
>and each time you have to look both at the line above
>(or possibly below)
>to put it in context.
>This in itself does not sound too bad--
>but realize that the fact that the "children's" landed up in
>the line immediately above "audio books"
>was pure accident --and something that could change if the
>Yahoo site 
>decided to change from being row-oriented to column-oriented
>in their table design.
>Equally,  the proximity of "children's" to "audio books" 
>is a function of whether the screenreader  decides to
>decolumnize using row major or column major order.
>>>>>> "Kelly" == Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com> writes:
>    Kelly> Hi,
>    >> Also, most layout-oriented sites only manage to turn into a
>    >> different form of gibberish when decolumnized in this way 
>>the issue gets especially bad with nested tables where the
>>decolumnizing gets even more ad-hock.
>>As an example, try 
>>the various yahoo sites e.g. broadcast, loans etc.
>    Kelly> Could you provide some clarification on what you
>    Kelly> mean here.  Below is part of the text as
>    Kelly> decolumnized by both JFW with Internet Explorer
>    Kelly> and Lynx.  Of course missing here are the numbers
>    Kelly> Lynx could insert or the word Link before each
>    Kelly> line below but basically each line below is a
>    Kelly> link.
>    Kelly> My impression of this page, like much of the main
>    Kelly> Yahoo Index, is that you have a basic category
>    Kelly> name and then some subcategories under that
>    Kelly> category.  The pattern is terminated with a link
>    Kelly> that has several periods, which is an indication
>    Kelly> that the next link will be a major category.  To
>    Kelly> me this is very readable and functional.
>    Kelly> The other sections of the page are links to live
>    Kelly> events today and are equally readable to me.
>    Kelly> I'm not saying readable to Kelly equals
>    Kelly> accessible.  But of the hundreds of people who
>    Kelly> are Blind I've worked with on internet access,
>    Kelly> Yahoo has been a favorite site because people
>    Kelly> find it functional.  ***Begin cut from
>    Kelly> http://broadcast.yahoo.com*** AudioBooks Author
>    Kelly> Interviews, New Releases...  CD Jukebox Listening
>    Kelly> Parties...  Video Educational, Movies, TV
>    Kelly> Series...  Radio Local, Shows...  TV Local,
>    Kelly> Networks, News, Weather...  Broadband Movies,
>    Kelly> Music, TV Shows...
>    Kelly> Business Events, Industries, Investing,
>    Kelly> Leadership...  Careers & Employment jobs.com,
>    Kelly> Resumes...  Children's Audiobooks, Music, Science
>    Kelly> & Space...
>Best Regards,
>IBM Research: Human Language Technologies
>Phone:        1 (408) 927 2608
>Email:        tvraman@us.ibm.com
>WWW:          http://cs.cornell.edu/home/raman
>PGP:          http://cs.cornell.edu/home/raman/raman.asc 
>Snail:        IBM Almaden Research Center,
>              650 Harry Road
>              San Jose 95120
Received on Wednesday, 17 November 1999 11:58:28 UTC

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