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Re: complex layout tables


From: Olaf Drümmer
Date: Jan 29, 2014 12:44PM

Hi Nathalie,

On 29 Jan 2014, at 11:03, Nathalie Sequeira < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> But in 2014, we can build sites with slim, lightweight HTML styled by CSS - that ALL browsers understand, and insisting on using table layouts IMHO is a sign of ignorance and laziness to learn state-of-the-art (goodness, theyre not even that, just plain middle of the road actually!) techniques.
> Today, there is NO reason to be using a technique that bloats page size, is difficult to maintain, potentially creates problems for a whole segment of users and is not at all in tune with the reality of an increasing variety of devices being used to access the web.
> Bottom line: it is up to webpage-creators to kick their antiquated habits. Enough excuses have been made and it really is time to change.

I have to say that I find the tone of your message inappropriate for this list.

terms like 'ignorance', 'laziness', 'kick antiquated habits' and so forth probably are just a sign that you had a bad morning but still do not belong in discussions like this one.

So please let's get back to a fair discussion about reality, without denigrating others.

I sometimes have the impression that many on this list believe web sites and web content are created exclusively by selected web site professionals and web content creation professionals. I do not think this takes into account some massive trends that have occurred in the last years. The biggest trend here is that web systems have been democratised. Just look at systems based on the likes of WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Typo3 and so forth. More often than not the person entering content is **not at all** an expert on web site technology, accessibility or anything like that. They use what they have, and they try to get the job of entering content done in their best possible way. They will hardly ever be in a position to do anything about the CSS for that site, nor will the be allowed near the JavaScript stuff. So if these people wish to present and arrange content in an easy to digest manner, and because they can't use CSS for number of reasons, they might find themselves juggli
ng around with a table once in a while.

Now there are at least the following ways you could approach this:
- you could shout at these people, call them lazy, ignorant, or whatever is your favourite swearword; my guess is you won't achieve much
- you could be nice and try to convince people that they should do something about it, like: do not use tables, take a training course on CSS, stay at the office until the sysadmin leaves, and hack the web system, etc.; my estimate: good luck
- you try to find some easy, cost effective, convincing, good enough approach (easy to developer/implement, and easy to use) to "fix the system"; such an approach could be to come up with a rule like "any table that does not have TH cells is a layout table", and ask AT developers to take that (and the current writing mode) into account when presenting the table (can we please stop to always only refer to screen readers when it comes to AT? blind people are a relatively small portion of those suffering from one or the other disability)?

I think we should do some math once in a while and figure how expensive an approach is:
- how expensive is it to convince/train each and every content creator in the world? What is the number of content creators? What is the 'cost' to reach out to one of them, and to change the way they "do content"?
- how expensive is it to change systems (mostly software in this context)? How many companies/developers exist that develop a relevant tool or technology? How expensive is it to reach out to one of them and convince him/her?