WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: complex layout tables


From: Andrew Kirkpatrick
Date: Jan 29, 2014 1:28PM

Great answer. I've seen tons of code that isn't optimal and doesn't always impact accessibility directly, and I've been told more often than I care to recall that a simple fix will take 10x more time than I think it should (and therefore won't be possible).

I advocate for clean code for these reasons and more, and agree wholeheartedly with your points.


-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Jared Smith
Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:56 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] complex layout tables

On Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 12:16 PM, Olaf Drümmer wrote:

> I can't see why a style that is 'gross' hinders equal access.

At face value, it probably doesn't. But there's more to ensuring broad accessibility than simply implementing accessibility techniques. Good coding practices - such as clean/valid code, not using tables for layout, defining appropriate class/id names, using clean CSS that takes advantage of inheritance, avoiding <div>itis, not browser sniffing, doing progressive enhancement, etc., etc. - may have little or no direct impact on the accessibility of a particular document.
However, when developers are working with inefficient code or tools, they inherently have less time and more difficulty in implementing more and better accessibility.

But I do understand your point, I think. We often conflate accessibility compliance techniques and general best practice all the time. We hear people say that using tables for layout or invalid HTML or using red and green colors are "inaccessible", when they don't always automatically result in any functional accessibility issues in a web page. But the reality is that these less-than-optimal practices will usually be detrimental to broader accessibility efforts.